Roommate realities: Advice for a successful dorm experience

By Jacob King


The dream of finally moving away from your parents and into a dorm with your dream roommate to attend parties with and hold your hair back when throwing up in the community bathrooms, is one shared by many incoming freshman. However, every dream needs a reality check.

Reality check: Roommates get on each other’s nerves. Sometimes meeting a new roommate is like getting a new puppy. It’s exciting and fun at the start, but after a while the newness starts to wear off and imperfections begin to show. These imperfections can consist of:

  • Different behavior than at the beginning of meeting each other
  • Seeing him/her in his/her underwear more often than not
  • Lying on the roommate compatibility form about being neat
  • Asking constantly to copy notes for a shared class

Spending too much time with your roommate is a recipe for a brawl out. Everything is good in moderation, especially hanging out with your roommate.

Reality check: evenly divided space is the key to sanity. It’s not rare to room with someone who takes up 75 percent of the room with their stuff. The spaces are small enough as is and adding unnecessary belongings to the room make it smaller. Allowing something like clothes to divide and conquer the room helps nothing. Personal space is almost a delicacy when you have to room with someone so any amount of space you get, keep it clean and be considerate of other person.

Reality check: food is extremely tempting. The cardinal rule is to never eat someone else’s food. Stealing someone else’s food has most likely been the reason behind many wars. Getting into your roommate’s food grants instant access onto their personal hate list. No better way exists to anger someone than getting in their mini fridge and eating his/her last Dill pickle. If your roommate leaves for the weekend and you happen to be alone with their food, control yourself and refrain from touching it. Everyone notices when food is missing and you DO NOT want to be known as the one who steals food. Some solutions? Ask first, or just keep your own food stocked at all times. And if you have room for it, keep separate mini-fridges.

Moving away to college is one of the real first gains in independence and living in the dorms with a random stranger you got assigned to makes for some memorable experiences. These reality checks are to guide you through these experiences realistically. Word gets around quick about who is a good or bad roommate, and you don’t want to be the one second-guessed when it’s time to choose who you’re living with next year.

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