Like many of our students, you may have never shared a room before. Sharing a room takes work to keep things smooth. When you move into the residence halls, you’ll need to be prepared to communicate with your roommate(s) to maintain a positive living environment.
Don’t worry! Residence Life staff is trained and available to help you learn to live with another person, and support roommate communication. Your Resident Assistant (RA) will provide a Roommate Agreement for roommates to discuss common shared living topics. To start your new relationship and living environment off right, you’ll want to take some early steps.
Direct and honest communication is key! While social media is an easy method of contacting your roommate, electronic messages are often mis-communicated or interpreted. We encourage you to set up a time to talk with your roommate(s) in-person before using social media.
Topics you might consider discussing with your roommate(s) include:
- Personal and Shared Items: Sometimes, roommates bring items to share with the entire room (e.g. TV, decorations, etc.). It is important to discuss what items you'll share together, and what items are solely for personal use (e.g. toothbrush, food, etc.). There may be some things you share only when permission is asked, so discuss expectations of your personal and shared property. Note that these preferences may change, so review these periodically!
- Guests (including overnight guests): Be sure to talk about who can visit, how often, and how long. With overnight guests, make sure your roommate(s) is comfortable having guests, and work out a system to communicate in advance so your roommate(s) is prepared. Per Residence Life policy, a guest can only stay for 2 nights in any 7-day period with prior permission.
- Room Use & Noise: Do you plan to socialize, or is it primarily a space to study and sleep? Make sure you talk about what each roommate expects when in the room, and how you will let each other know when you need privacy or extra study and sleep time.
- Room Cleanliness: Consider how often the room will be cleaned and how tasks such as taking out the trash, washing dishes and de-cluttering will be divided. Roommates should share cleaning responsibilities of their shared spaces, and talk with suitemates about a shared bathroom cleaning schedule.
- Roommate or BFF?: Will your roommate be your best friend? Maybe, but it’s okay (and common) if you connect with someone other than your roommate too. Sometimes, best friends may not be the best roommates. You’ll want to have a good relationship with your roommate(s), but respect outside friendships too. It’s unlikely you’ll spend every moment with your roommate, so ensure to discuss boundaries and what personal time with friends looks like.
- Communication Expectations: Even if you agree on everything, unexpected issues could arise. The most successful roommates develop a plan for communicating issues quickly and respectfully, so they can work together to make things right. It’s important to talk with your roommate about how to best communicate problems so no one gets offended or hurt. Face-to-face communication is best when issues arise because notes, texts and emails can be misread and easily lead to hurt feelings.
Remember, once you get here, your RA will help you complete your Roommate Agreement to aid in discussing these topics. They can also help with whatever comes up! If issues arise that you can’t work out on your own, we’ll help you revisit and revise your Roommate Agreement so it works better for everyone's living expectations and needs.