Roommate Selection

Choosing the person with whom you will share a room during freshman year is a big decision. For many individuals, it's also one that is made quite easily - they decide to room with a classmate from high school. Indeed, if you have a friend attending the same college, rooming with the longtime friend appears to be the obvious choice. But in the long run, rooming with your best friend from high school may not be the best choice. There are several reasons why. For one thing, you may not know your high school friends as well as you think you do. The person may have irritating or counterproductive habits of which you are unaware. Such habits can end up ruining a perfectly good friendship. Second, choosing to stick with high school friends can prevent you from expanding your horizons and getting to know different people. College is a time to get out of your comfort zone and really put yourself out there. If you room with your friend from high school, you may end up relying upon that person as a social crutch.

If you don't know the person you will be living with by the time you arrive at school, your college may be able to help. It is likely that you will be given a questionnaire during orientation asking you about your habits and personality traits. When you fill this out, be honest with yourself. If you know you're a party animal, don't indicate that you are typically in bed before ten. College staff will use these surveys to match you up with a roommate who is similar to you. Hopefully, you will live in perfect harmony with your roommate. But...

College dorms are small spaces, and it's likely you've never lived in such close quarters with someone before. Unexpected issues and problems often arise. Your studious roommate may end up staying out until midnight every night, and the neat freak you moved in with may start leaving his dirty socks all over your bed. Bring these issues up with your roommate in a calm manner. If things don't change, approach the dorm coordinator and ask for an intervention. If things are really bad, the dorm coordinator may help you find a new roommate. Often, they will try to mediate the situation by helping both parties agree upon a contract outlining basic rules regarding cleaning, privacy, and study time. Respecting this agreement, and the other person, is key to maintaining a good relationship with your roommate.

Whether you have a contract or not, it's crucial to consistently treat your roommate with respect. Inform your roommate if you are planning to throw a party on the weekend. Ask before you borrow your roommate's things. Try to keep your belongings on your side of the room. Basically, you must show the same level of consideration to your roommate that you would want your roommate to show you. By working through problems and making an effort to be considerate, it's likely you and your roommate will form a great friendship that will last long after freshman year.

Last Updated: 04/24/2014

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