Ever since your freshman year of high school, you and your BFF have probably been planning the color scheme of your first college dorm because, duh, you’re obviously going to be rooming with each other for the rest of your lives. If you’re anything like my best friend and me, you’ve already bought that rug from Target that includes both of your favorite colors. But whether we like it or not, life tends to get in the way of even our most thought out plans and dreams. Whatever the reason, many of us get matched with a random roommate our freshman year. The horror stories are real, trust me, I’ve been there, but here are a few often overlooked tips that will help you survive the next six months.
Pass No Judgment
Between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat and all other social media outlets it’s almost impossible to not know who your random roommate is before you actually meet. Along with the ease of clicking through photos and tweets comes the ease of judging that person before one word has even been exchanged between the two of you. On the first day of move-in, you’ll be too busy unpacking, getting settled and assuring your mom that you won’t eat ramen seven days a week to really talk to your new roomie. Just because you see her unpack more mini skirts than jeans, don’t assume that she’ll be stumbling in every Friday night making more noise than the DJ.
If you tell me that I can eat your ice cream, don’t act surprised to find me eating your ice cream; if you tell me that you don’t mind the light on when you’re trying to sleep, don’t get mad when I’m up studying at midnight with the lights on. Make sure your roommate understands that while you don’t mind if they listen to Spotify without their headphones, you’d prefer not to have to listen to “Cheerleader” at 11 p.m. when you’re trying to get some rest for your 7:30 a.m. class the next morning. You might sound a little nit picky at first, but if you and your roommate continue with an open dialogue, you’ll never have to leave passive aggressive sticky notes inside the fridge or on her desk again.
As you watch your other peers upload multiple “roomie luv” pictures on Instagram, you may realize that you actually can’t stand that your random roommate is always complaining about their long distance boyfriend or the fact that they never lock the door on their way out. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. It’s okay if your roommate doesn’t become your new bestie and you don’t have sushi dates every Saturday. The key is to stay respectful to one another. A simple, “Hey, how was class?” is way better than walking through the doors with headphones in acting as if you don’t have a roommate at all. Unnecessary animosity is, well, unnecessary.
If this is your first time-sharing your space with another person, this tip is for you. And to those who were forced to share their bedroom or bathroom with a sibling, this is also for you because you know you probably didn’t give a damn if your side of the room looked like a tornado wiped through it. Sharing what is essentially the smallest concrete box the housing office could find with someone isn’t easy. All of a sudden you have to be mindful of where you take off your shoes and where you leave your towel. Don’t just assume that because you pay the rent for that box that you can do what you want, when you want. News flash: Your roommate paid just as much as you did, and has every right to live in a space that’s comfortable for her.
Make an Effort
As a freshman there will be so many welcome week activities. From block parties to pep rallies, school spirit will have no limit on those musty August evenings. Don’t knock ‘em until you try ‘em. Invite your roommate to go with you to some of these events. This way you can make friends together, or even just get to know each other outside the confined box you’re forced to call a bedroom. Or plan times to go to the dining hall together. Nothing is better than bonding over food. If you have suite mates, keep your bedroom door open. An open door is an open mind and with that, the possibilities are endless. Again, you may not become BFF’s with your new roommate, but you don’t want to be living with a stranger for the entire year.
By keeping these simple tips in mind you’ll continue to have 99 problems- I mean, it’s college- but your random roommate won’t be one.