This is the first post in the “What I Wish I Knew Freshman Year” series. College is a huge transition in life and I hope that these posts are beneficial for anyone going through this change. This post will be all about college roommates.
College. The time in our lives that we dream about all of senior year and maybe even longer. We spend the last few months before graduation and all of summer planning and anticipating our big move. In this time, odds are the topic of college roommates will come up many times.
Throughout this post I am going to cover everything about college roommates that you might need to know and answer any questions all while settling worries on the topic. So let’s begin.
Many schools allow you to pick roommates (which is great) but even when schools pair you with someone you typically have some sort of say in the matter. Whether you hand pick your first college roommates or are assigned to one through the school, there are a few things you should do to ensure a good experience.
First let’s start with those who get to pick a roommate. This might seem like the scariest thing in the world to some of you (it did to me). I put so much pressure on myself to find the perfect one. My school had a Facebook page that we could add ourselves to once we were accepted to the school. In fact, all of the schools I was accepted to had a Facebook page so I would highly recommend looking there first.
Some schools even have their own social media type chat rooms where you can search through all the accepted students for a match. This made the process slightly less intimidating for me because everyone was in there posting a simple introduction about themselves and what they were looking for in a college roommate.
I would recommend posting, even if you are out of your comfort zone. Personally, I am extremely introverted and the thought of having to reach out to someone scared the living daylights out of me. Because of this, I would rather post on the page and have someone reach out to me (which they did)! I had a few people send me messages tthrough Facebook but one girl sent more than any one else (Lauren and I pictured below). We ended up exchanging numbers and getting to know each other through text, which brings up my next point.
Questions To Ask Potential College Roommates
If you are considering living with someone for the next year then I would hope that you want to get to kow them a little before hand. Below are some question to ask potential college roommates.
- What is your sleep schedule like? Do you go to bed late or early?
- How clean do you typically keep your room?
- What is your preferred way to study? In the room? In the Library?
- How early do you get up?
- Do you prefer to listen to music or watch Netflix with or without headphones?
- What temperature do you like to keep your room?
- Do you mind overnight guests?
There are obviously many more questions you could ask that are related more to your living styles but these are some basics. The most important thing to keep in mind is to be authentic. DO NOT say you live one way to impress the person when you live the exact opposite. The best advice I could offer for picking your college roommates is to be yourself!
Being Assigned College Roommates
If you are attending a school that doesn’t allow you to pick our own roommate then odds are you will probably be asked to fill out a form that asks more basic versions of the questions above. Be sure to really think about your current living habits and the habits you want in the person you will be living with. Do you want someone that is cleaner or equally as clean as you or will it bother you if your college roommates are messier? Below is an example of a questionnaire you might come across to fill out.
Once you fill out the form and turn it in, it is out of your hands. There is something great and scary about this all at the same time. Once you learn who your college roommates are, reach out to them and get to know them!
Once You Know Who Your Roommates Are
After you have either chosen or learn about who your college roommates are you will probably want to start planning your room. I’m not going to go too in depth with this, but you can see what I think every college student actually needs to pack.
Decide whether or not you guys will share certian things or buy your own. Some main things to consider sharing are mini fridge, microwave, printer, cleaning supplies, food, ect. This may seem like a minor detail but you definitely want to know where they stand on things before you move in and have 2 mini fridges and microwaves and no where to put anything in the already small dorm rooms.
As a student that was moving from out of state, it would have been difficult for me to bring a lot of the above mentioned things.
Start off by communicating! Together you will also choose which dorm you want to live in and all those great details. My roommate and I decided to share a few things and coordinate some of the decor in our room!
Being Friends With Your College Roommates
One thing that I was told leading up to college was that you will be your best friends with your college roommates. I was so excited about college after I decided on my roommate. Through all of our conversations I knew Lauren (my roommate) and I would be a great fit.
We had already coordinated our room and decided on all of the details about living together. I thought that we would get to school and be best friends and conquer Freshman year together.
What you should know is that college is a huge adjustment and the first few weeks are going to be hard (especially if you are moving far like I did). Because it is such a big adjustment, know that you are not expected to be best friends with your roommate, or anyone for that matter. Friendship should feel natural and never forced and just because you are living with someone does not mean you need to be best friends with them.
With that being said, some people get to school and completely click with their college roommates. Lauren and I got to school and were friends for the first month or so and then slowly went our separate ways. We were friends but did not click as well as roommates. Living together was an adujstment and the added stress of school made it harder. Eventually we ended up being great friends but it took a lot of time and communication.
Communicate With Your Roommate
I can’t stress this enough. I have heard so many stories of someone being completely miserable in their roommate situation, not getting along with their college roommates at all but not doing anything about it. If you communicate your issues with your roommate then your living situation will only improve.
Lauren and I learned this the hard way. We went an entire semester without communicating to each other how we felt. We lived in silence in our room but acted like everything was okay. After Christmas break we got back to school and had a heart to heart where we settled our differences.
We learned how to compromise (there’s a lot of that as college roommates) and how to be better roommates which, in turn, helped us to become wayyyyy better friends. Bottom line: be open and honest and your relationship will be better.
Boundaries are so important for you and your college roommates. If you have decided not share share food or clothes then learn to respect that. Boundaries go much further than each having your own side of the room and your own things.
Boundaries include respecting each other. If your roommate is trying to take a nap, respect that and either avoid the room or stay quiet. If you have a big test the next day and need to stay up until 3 a.m., consider going to the library. Think back to the questions you asked your roommate before choosing each other. What were their responses? Respect them.
Enjoy the process
None of this is meant to scare you. College is a great time and having a roommate is awesome! Try not to worry about everything too much and just enjoy the ride. Freshman year is a time for a lot of firsts, including roommates. Take the tips in this post and remember to embrace the adventure!
Looking back, there are only a few things I would have done differently regarding my roommate situation and I hope these tips help you avoid having any regrets.
Do you have any crazy roommate stories? Let me know in the comments!