No matter how excited you are for college, there is always one daunting part of university life that grade school can never prepare you for: being someone’s roommate. I know that many other VSAs have written about selecting a roommate or the fun of making friends with a random roommate (to which I totally agree), so I want to talk about how to be a good roommate so your year can be as enjoyable as possible.
Headphones, headphones, headphones! A personal pet peeve of mine is hearing youtube videos or music through someone’s phone speakers when I am trying to study or relax. Especially when living in a suite or an apartment, the extra common area can make things seem more spread out. But in reality, playing a video on your phone while the bedroom door is open can get annoying, and showering while listening to music is not a contained audio experience. If you like watching TV on your phone or laptop, or if you love listening to Spotify, consider investing in headphones. Either wireless or wired headphones will do the trick, and your roommate will definitely appreciate it.
Clean up after yourself! You might be used to dropping a sweatshirt on the floor of your bedroom at home, but there is nobody here to clean up after you. And if you have a roommate, that problem will compound itself. Something to remember is that if you take the extra 30 seconds to hang up or put away a sweatshirt or dirty clothes, your room will be a much more pleasant place to spend time. The same goes for garbage: it is very easy to setup a trash schedule so that your room, suite, or apartment stay clean, clutter free, and smelling nice for as long as possible.
Lights out! One of the hardest parts about having a roommate is navigating sleeping schedules. No, you do not have to go to bed and wake up at the same time, but just be courteous of your roommate. Even if you have a late night of studying, don’t keep a light on and try to study in your room (common areas and study rooms are perfect places to go), because you never know what your roommate might have planned the next day where sleep will be important. If you are like me and are the early riser of the room, make sure you set an alarm that you can hear, and that you will turn it off promptly. Nothing would annoy me more than hearing an alarm going off for a long time if I don’t have to wake up early, so I try to make sure I do not do the same.
Communicate! This is extremely important in more ways than one. In a harmonious sense, communication will allow you to understand your roommate’s preferences when it comes to spending time in the room, so you will both be able to find a cleaning, sleeping, and/or eating system that works for the two of you. In addition, communication will allow you to get to know your roommate. Despite all the horror stories we hear about residence life in college, those prove to be the extreme cases. This year was my first year sharing a room with someone, and while I was initially nervous about the experience, I am so happy with how it turned out. After getting to know my roommate better, I found out that we both have similar interests, so we often spend time cooking, baking, and playing video games together. So long as you keep an open mind and are mindful of the space, having a roommate will be one of the best experiences of your life!