How to be a Good Roommate
Your decorations are hung, your closet is filled, and your roommate is standing across from you in the dorm, shuffling his feet as he grasps for something to talk about. Now, how to be a good roommate?
Roommates are a central piece to the college experience. Leading up to your freshman year, thinking about your roommate can lead to a lot of hopes, questions, and even anxiety. But be comforted — the odds of a successful roommate pairing are in your favor! A survey conducted by the research firm Skyfactor among 20,000 students at 15 participating institutions with varying roommate-assignment protocols, found that more than half of the respondents said they were happy with the roommate to whom they were assigned as a freshman; just one in 10 of them requested a roommate change that year.1
Whether you’ve known your roommate since first grade or you’ve never met him/her, here are seven simple but necessary steps to create a healthy living atmosphere in your dorm room. Who knows? You might be the next iconic roommate pair. Before you know it, people around campus will be talking about you like Joey and Chandler or Laverne and Shirley.
1. Ask Questions
Since you will receive your roommate’s contact information before you get to school in the fall, you can start asking questions early. If you start to get to know your roommate through texts or emails, you can mitigate some of the awkwardness of getting to know someone. We know of students who have even met up in-person over the summer.
As you get to know each other, ask questions about their morning and night routines, their preferred study atmosphere, and what their cleaning schedule looks like. All this and more will not only help create conversation, but will normalize topics like preferences and personal space. It will also help you feel more certain about the coming year and what your dorm room lifestyle will look like.
2. Be Open and Flexible
One essential part of being a good roommate is being open to the ideas of your roommate. You may not like the idea of a quiet room every evening after eight p.m. or rules about the microwave, but you can develop a flexible mindset and learn to work with the preferences of your roommate. You’ll appreciate it when they’re willing to compromise with you on your pet fish, or love of lavender essential oils in return!
3. Speak Up
With this in mind, it’s also important to speak up when needed. You can be kind and considerate and also stand up for the space and time you need to yourself. There’s nothing more challenging than a passive aggressive roommate who leaves sticky notes around the room rather than just having a face-to-face conversation to talk things through. Chances are, if you are bold enough to ask for the room alone for an hour, they’ll be happy to give it to you. And in turn, they will feel more comfortable asking for the same.
4. Maintain Friendship
You will most likely be living with your roommate for the entire school year, so you’ll want to share more than just a space. Make an effort to respect each other and get to know each other outside of your room; learn about their major, passions, and hobbies. This can look like movie and game nights, weekly brunch at one of the vibey spots in town, or going to campus events together. If you have more than one roommate, be intentional about spending time with each of them. Find a way to extend your friendship beyond your dorm room so that you can bond by choice and not just by convenience.
5. Give it Time
Don’t expect your friendship with your roommate to take off right away. If it does, that’s great! But be realistic, and know that most friendships just take time. Don’t compare your roommate relationship to the upperclassmen girls down the hall or the pair that grew up together. Most roommates need time to adjust to college living before they can work on their friendship. Focus on living well together first. You’ll find that your friendship will develop better over time than if you try to force it in the first week.
Moving out of your parent’s home is a big milestone. Experience that transition together and give each other grace!
6. Communicate Well
Communication is essential to good roommate relationships. Communicate about your wellness and mental health, noises and smells that annoy you, class and work schedules, and how your transition as a college student is going. Sometimes all it takes is one question for the atmosphere to feel open and friendly.
It’s also vital to express problems early on and let go of unnecessary grudges. If you bottle up issues because you don’t want to talk about them, you’ll make life miserable for everyone involved.
7. Have fun!
College is meant to be a life-changing experience for you and your roommate. So make sure you have fun together! Learn from each other, encourage each other, and celebrate each other. Go on adventures and experience Grace traditions together! You never know what friendships will become the cornerstone of your college experience!
Want to learn more about Grace College’s residence halls? Read about each one and get in contact with your residence leadership!
Are you ready to complete the next step in the enrollment process? Connect with your admissions counselor to move ahead in your college journey. Get ready to build great friendships in the year ahead!