Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The College Experience: College Roommates

The College Experience: College Roommates

If you are a newly admitted student planning to live on campus you might be asking yourself what it will be like to have a roommate and hoping that you'll get paired with someone that you like or at least can tolerate! Below are a few simple rules to follow for a successful roommate experience.

College Roommate Rules

Most college students who don’t live at home have one or more roommates, often assigned to them randomly by the college. This is the first time some students have lived with anyone other than their family. If you’re on your way to college, you might be wondering how well this works.

Many first-year students miss the privacy of their homes, of course. But most also find comfort in the company of others who are going through the same things they are — such as taking challenging courses and figuring out how to balance school and social life. Even roommates who have differences are often able to solve any problems they have by talking it out.

Living harmoniously with someone means respecting differences, sharing, being courteous, and accepting others for who they are. These are good life skills to learn. They may be the most important lessons you’ll learn in college outside the classroom.
Lifestyle Differences

Let’s hope this won’t be your experience:

11 p.m.: You've finished your schoolwork for the evening. You stack your books on your desk, fold and put away clothing, shut off the lights, slip into your neatly made bed, and drift off to sleep.

2 a.m.: You're jolted awake by bright lights and laughter. Could it be morning already? No such luck. Rather, it seems your party-loving roommate has arrived home and is just now starting to do homework. You watch in near-disbelief as your roommate gets online, cranks up some music, and starts singing loudly and dancing — discarding clothes and books on the floor. Noticing you, your roommate says “What’s up?” cheerfully and without a trace of guilt, apparently unaware that you were fast asleep.

You flop back onto your bed, put your pillow over your head and groan, "How am I ever going to get through the year?"

Scenes like this are not unusual at college. If you're a bookworm who goes to bed early and your roommate is a party animal who just gets going at midnight, sharing the same quarters may not be easy. But that doesn't mean the two of you can't get along.
The Talking Cure

Keeping lines of communication open is essential. If your college has given you contact information for your roommate, call or e-mail before college begins. Introduce yourself and find out more about the person you’ll be living with for the next year. Here are some other tips for getting off to a good start:

Discuss important issues and establish rules. If you make house rules, and communicate openly and often, you can avoid unpleasant surprises down the road. If you can't study with music on, then come to an agreement about quiet times. If your roommate likes to have lots of friends over and you like solitude, make a schedule for using the room that’s fair to both of you.

Be respectful. Successful roommate relationships are based on mutual respect. If your roommate doesn’t want to loan or borrow clothes, respect that choice. Your roommate should respect reasonable requests from you, too — for example, not to eat your food without asking.

Be willing to compromise. You and your roommate may not agree on everything, but you both have to compromise a little bit. For example, suppose one of you is a slob and the other is a neat freak. The untidy one should keep the shared areas of the room clean. And the neat one should overlook untidiness in the roommate’s area.

Be courteous. Courtesy is contagious. If you behave politely to your roommate, your roommate is likely to follow your lead. Wish your roommate luck on an exam. Ask if you can pick up something while you're running errands. And don't borrow anything without asking.
Good friendships often begin by sharing space with strangers. Who knows — maybe that loud, partying roommate you thought would drive you crazy will become your best friend.

1 comment:

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