College roommate tips

Ashley Robinson is currently a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University pursuing a degree in Mass Communications. She is the Vice President of the Student Alumni Association on campus and a content marketing intern. In her free time, she can be found working on her photography or with her head in a fashion magazine

A new school year means a new roommate. Sharing your living space with someone can be a weird adjustment. Check out how to get off on the right foot with your roommate.
1. Create an agreement.
Do this as soon as you move in. In all my years rooming with someone, we have always created a roommate “contract”. Dealing with issues when they arise can be scary and a little bit awkward. Even when I shared a room with my best friend since third grade, situations would come up that I wasn’t sure how to address. That’s why it is best to discuss everything ahead of time so you all will have an understanding and know how to handle those situations. Some ideas of topics to cover are study times, guest policy, cleaning schedule, temperature, etc.
2. Don’t use without asking.
Sharing is caring, but there are boundaries. You should always ask before you use something, unless it has already been discussed. For food, try using a labeling system or storing in separate areas so there is no confusion. I share a kitchen with three other people so things can get mixed up easily. We all agreed to write our initials on the things we wouldn’t be comfortable sharing. Also, we talked about belongings that are for the entire apartment’s use such as milk, condiments, appliances, etc.
3. Be considerate.
This can be applied to all aspects of roommate life. I am a strong believer in day time napping as any college student should be. If it’s 2 p.m., but your roommate happens to be resting try not to be noisy. If you see your roommate studying, move your Skype date somewhere less disruptive. If you like to sleep in the cold, but you notice your roommate shivering turn the thermostat up! Your roommate will see that you are being courteous and most likely return the favor. Trust me, this will pay off around midterms and finals.
4. Stay open minded
College is where you will meet people from all walks of life. They may have a different religion, be from a place you have never heard of, or just live a different lifestyle than your own. Learn and accept people’s differences because that is what makes them, and you, unique. Besides, college is all about experiencing new things and being in new environments so make the most of it.
5. Be mature.
My tips are pretty fool proof, but if an issue does arise handle it like an adult. Don’t go tit for tat. I once had a friend who took the immature route and her roommate ended up throwing her clothes away, while she was in class! Crazy, right? Going back and forth is so not worth it and things could easily escalate. Set up a time to sit down and talk it out. If things don’t seem to be getting resolved, contact your housing assistant or director.
A successful year with your roommate comes down to communication and understanding one another. Follow these tips for a smooth ride.

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