The adjustment from living at home to living with roommates in college can be tricky. Read these five tips to help you get along with your roommates. Photo by Breanna Biorato.
Moving to a new place, making a new home, and living with all new people can sound scary and stressful. There are ways to deal with the stress of getting along with new roommates in order to have a smooth school year.
If you are in an apartment with roommates, whether you are best friends with them, they are complete strangers, or you barely know them, here are tips that everyone needs about living with roommates:
Set expectations sooner rather than later
Before getting too comfortable, set your own living expectations with your roommates for the time you will be living together. Ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to how the dynamic within your household will be.
Kyra Chambers, a junior communication studies major from Tooele and a resident assistant at Campus View Suites, said: “Once you are all moved in, sit down and have a meeting with all your roommates. In this meeting, talk about expectations, boundaries, preferences and respect you would like to have while living together.”
Setting expectations such as who does the dishes each day, who has the responsibility of cleaning the bathroom, or who should take out the trash are all things that need to be talked about with roommates, Chambers said.
Maintain constant communication
It may sound cliche, but communication is key when dealing with rising problems or issues.
You cannot expect your roommates to know how you are feeling about something if you are not communicating your feelings with them. Your roommates need to be telling you how they are feeling as well. Communicate with your roommates any ideas, problems or boundaries that you want to put in place.
Benjamin Filkins, resident life area coordinator, said to make sure that when communicating with your roommates you are interested in making a situation work for everyone. For example you could say, “I’d like to work together to find a solution that works for all of us.”
Not all of your communication will be about issues or problems you have come across. A simple conversation will be beneficial when getting to know your roommates, and spending time doing things with each other will also allow more trust to be built, Filkins said.
Remember, you are not the only one living in the space
“Be self-aware; take time to think about how your actions affect the people around you,” Filkins said.
You are not the only one living in the space. Be sure to take the time to clean up after yourself because your mess may frustrate your roommates. If every roommate is cleaning up after themselves, there will be no problems in that aspect of living together.
Leslie Smart, a freshman English major from Melissa, Texas, said: “In order to make living together peaceful and respectful, it takes making sure that there is some give and take, [as well as] being flexible and adaptable. … It takes work, but it is worth it because no one wants to live with people they can’t get along with.”
Don’t take things too personally
There may be times when your roommates do something that you do not like or agree with that may offend you — scratch that: There will probably be many times.
Do not take this personally; they may not be aware of how it is affecting you. Communicate with them and express your feelings about the matter, and they will most likely be more than willing to make a change.
“Don’t wait for the roommate who is bothering you to bring up the issue; they might never bring it up,” Chambers said. “It‘s always best to make the first move.”
Take it upon yourself to start those conversations about things that are bothering you. You are the only one who knows how you feel about something that is pushing your buttons.
Your resident assistant or landlord will be your best friend
The resident assistant or landlord is going to be your best resource when moving into a place with new people. They are there to help you out with any questions, problems and other situations.
They have dealt with roommate situations in the past and they will be helpful to you. They may even be able to relocate you or a roommate if the case is extreme enough to do so.
“Don’t be afraid to ask your resident assistant for help,” Filkins said. “They have training to effectively conduct roommate mediations to work through these types of situations and can act as an unbiased third party.”