Picture this: you’re going to a new school in the fall and will be living with some complete stranger from a small town in Missouri. All you know about this person is that they like hunting, sports, and motocross and had often been to Quincy before to go shopping because it was the closest decent mall.
Maybe for some of you this sounds like the perfect person but for me, I was scared senseless. I had never even known anyone who enjoyed hunting (and with a friend who’s an avid member of PETA this was also kind of a conflict of interest). We e-mailed back and forth a couple of times but she didn’t have internet at her house so she wasn’t able to respond all that often and after about two e-mails they stopped altogether.
I tried calling her once but that didn’t work- the phone number for some reason was out of service at the time or something. That pretty much left me in a rut. I had just received a refrigerator from a family friend and wasn’t sure (1) if she had one already, (2) if she had a microwave or if I needed to get one, and (3) who would be bringing the TV? With no way to contact her and move-in day fast approaching, I decided to just bring the fridge and TV and forget about it. I could always just send home what I ended up not needing.
When I walked in our new room she had already been there for a couple hours and was out to lunch with her family. Her side of the room was all set up and sitting in the very center of the room was a microwave and nothing else. Ultimately, it worked out perfectly but I was so lucky it did. I’ve heard stories from some of my friends who said they wrote letters back and forth all summer, used facebook to contact one another back and forth, e-mailed or called… The forms of communication are endless but somehow my roommate and I were never able to even really talk until we had finally moved in and met each other face to face.
The good news is, there was so much more to her than the hunter tom boy that she made herself out to be in her e-mails. My roommate freshmen year actually became a really great friend who always had my back, no matter what. She’s since left school and moved to a completely different state to get married and we don’t talk anymore. Sure, we had our differences every once in a while but that happens. I got lucky when it turned out I had a roommate that I didn’t completely clash with, but some people aren’t as lucky.
Roommates are like little makeshift arranged marriages. Sometimes you are put with someone who is great for you and you just click with right away. But sometimes you don’t get along at first bat and you have to work on it and eventually things might be able to work out. And then sometimes there’s just no way you could ever live with your roommate for a week, let alone a whole year. Luckily, after all else fails, there’s always the option of moving into a single or getting a new roommate. You probably aren’t alone in your roommate woes so if, after talking to your roommate and you both agree that moving is the best option, another friend is having the same problem as you, there’s always the option of moving in with them instead. A lot of people who end up moving just do this if they don’t get a single.
Here are some basic tips for dealing with your roommate:
- Be Yourself- Nobody likes a liar and nobody likes someone who’s completely fake.
- Figure out your sleeping habits and respect them- Nothing is worse than rooming with a morning person when you stay up until 3 am and have scheduled all your classes for after 11:00 am. But there are ways around these complications and they involve talking to your roommate and developing mutual respect for your sleeping patterns.
- Be friendly, but not freaky- You may become friends in the long run with your roommate but the first couple days you are just starting to get to know one another. Be sure you understand each others sense of humor before you start joking around about potentially offensive or bothersome things.
- Be fair about space sharing- The size of a typical dorm room is small to begin with, and when you add in sharing it with another person it makes spreading your things out very difficult. It’s best to wait until your roommate is there before you decide how to arrange the room, who gets which desk or bed, etc.
- Buy separate stuff- You never know what will happen and splitting costs on things that will eventually go just one way can get tricky. It’s always a good idea to just split the purchases- “I buy the toaster, you buy the dishes and we’re even” (or something like that).
Taken from CollegeSAFE.com http://www.collegesafe.com/pdf/roommate_guide.pdf