Heading off to college can be a big step into adulting. There are lots of things to keep in mind as you are getting ready to move into your freshman housing, like what to bring and who you’ll be rooming with. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind as you prepare to live with a complete stranger who’s just as nervous about school as you are.
Meet Your Roommate Before Move-In Day
If you can, try to reach out to your new roommate before move-in day. Usually, you get to find out your roommate’s name when you find out your rooming assignment. See if you can find them on social media and shoot them a quick hello. This is also a great time to get a few things figured out like if they want to share kitchen utensils or if both of you will have all your own things.
Once you move in together you’ll probably notice that they do things differently than you’re used to. Your way is not the only way and different isn’t bad, so don’t let simple things like the way they load the dishwasher get you stressed out. Just be grateful that the dishwasher was loaded. Patience is a virtue.
Be Ready to Compromise
Back to “your way isn’t the best way,” you need to be ready and willing to compromise. It is inevitable that you’ll have a few things that you need to work out between you. Just remember that their thoughts and opinions have value and it might be worth doing a few things their way.
If you’re having friends over on a Friday let your roommate know and invite them to join. It is their home as well so not inviting them is about the rudest thing you can do. They may say no, but they’ll be grateful that you thought to let them know and invite them. You don’t have to invite them to do everything with you, but if it’s at your house then you definitely should.
Touch Their Stuff
Leave their stuff alone. You may not mind them touching your stuff, but they might have greater boundaries than you do. Always ask first and respect their answer, even if it is no. This includes food. Unless your roommate has specifically told you that something of theirs is free game, leave it alone, especially if it’s in their room.
Be Passive Aggressive
One of the worst things you can do is be passive aggressive. If you are having a hard time with your roommate, sit down and talk to them like an adult. Writing a note and leaving it on their pillow isn’t cutting it. Telling a friend to tell them what they are doing wrong also isn’t going to work. Your relationship will be better if you put forth the effort and talk about the problem.
Never assume that your roommate did something just to make you angry. Chances are they didn’t think twice about what they did, and you’re over thinking the problem isn’t going to make things better. This is another prime time to practice your communication skills and talk to them about what is bothering you.
Treat Them Like They Aren’t There
This should just be common decency, but for some reason, college kids forget stuff like this. If you bring a friend over and your roommate is sitting on the couch, introduce them. Don’t just pretend they aren’t there and go about your business. It doesn’t take a lot of extra effort to make a quick introduction.
Really, the overarching theme here is to communicate. If you have an issue, talk it out. If they don’t really like to talk, keep trying. Your effort could turn what might have been an awful experience into a great friendship.