Most freshmen hope as they come into college they’ll become fast friends, or at the very least friendly acquaintances, with their dorm or suite roommates.
Most freshmen, though, have never experienced sharing a room, especially one so small.
Things can quickly take a turn for the worse if boundaries and expectations of all parties are not set and agreed upon. Setting boundaries and expectations early on can help prevent future fights and encourage a positive, honest relationship between roommates.
Nick Speake, an alumnus, said practicing communication is the most important thing to do when living with a roommate.
Speake also said it’s important to establish what belongings are shareable and what ones aren’t.
“Sharing is caring, but it’s still important to have your own things,” Speake said. “Share your TV or food, but also make it clear what you don’t want your roommate to use.”
Speake said freshmen should invite their roommates on outings with them.
“The worst your roommate can say is, ‘no,’ so don’t be afraid to ask,” Speake said. “Whether it’s going to the dining hall, a shopping trip or even to get the mail, sometimes just asking is enough to build a connection over time.”
Speake also said roommates should come to an agreement on room cleanliness.
“Talk about how clean you think the dorm room should be, and try to come to an agreement with your roommate by finding a middle ground,” Speake said. “Also, establish a rotation for cleaning. If you live in a suite, then someone can clean the bathroom while someone cleans the kitchen. Each cleaning day, the roommates can switch.”
Shelby Michael, a junior fashion merchandise and design major, said roommates should show respect and be fair to each other in the shared living space.
“Clean up after yourself if you make a mess and divide the space equally,” Michael said.
Michael recommended being open to new things.
“Be open to new experiences and friends,” Michael said. “More than likely, your roommate will have other friends and hobbies. You could meet new friends through them and pick up new hobbies.”
Brianna Eisenbarth, a senior psychology major, said to be respectful of when your roommate or suitemates are trying to sleep.
“Try to be quiet in the mornings if they are still sleeping, and keep the volume low on your laptop or TV at night,” Eisenbarth said.
Eisenbarth also said to be respectful of sharing the kitchen space in the suites.
“If you see your roommate is using the kitchen, try to wait to use it, so you’re not in their way,” Eisenbarth said. “After you are done in the kitchen, clean up your dishes soon after, and clean up any messes you may have made.”
Eisenbarth said while not necessarily essential, it’s respectful to let your roommate know if you’re having a guest over.
“If you know you’re going to be having someone over or having someone visit, it’s nice to give your roommate a heads-up,” Eisenbarth said.
When in doubt of a rule for living with your roommate, follow the Golden Rule: Treat others how you want to be treated.