Roommate Survival Guide

When swamped with homework assignments, extracurricular activities, and studying for exams, the last thing any college student wants to worry about is getting along with their roommate.  So, here are some tricks that can make any living situation enjoyable (or at least bearable)…

1)       Be respectful – This is the single-most important rule to follow when it comes to roommates. No one says you have to be the best of friends, but you do have to co-exist and share a common space. Respect your roommate, whether it be his or her clothes, bed time, or study techniques, and chances are your roommate will respect you right back. According to and college housing officials,  the only expectation you can have of your roommate is respect and anything beyond that is a gift.

2)      Pick your battles – Yes, your roommate’s gum-chewing is unnecessarily loud and, yes, you would love nothing more than to tell her so immediately, but be careful. Pointing out every little thing you dislike or disagree with is going to make you seem like an equally-annoying nag. Focus on any major issues that may arise and let the smaller ones fall by the wayside.

3)      Find a common ground (but appreciate your differences) – In college, my roommate and I had completely different majors, opposite schedules, and varying study habits. However, our differences ended up being a great thing…we never ran out of stuff to talk about! Through our discussions we were also able to uncover all of what we had in common. I guess our method worked, we lived together for four years!

4)       Communicate – Roommates are not psychics. Do not assume that they automatically know that you have an exam at 8 in the morning and, therefore, should be extra quiet when you get to sleep early. You also can not expect them to know every time you’re in a bad mood or want to be alone. According to PsychCentral, keeping an open – and honest – flow of communication going usually helps things run much more smoothly.

5)      Try to keep a sense of humor – As long as roommate issues remain generally non-harmful (physically OR emotionally), try to find the humor in every situation. Sure, that time your roommate locked you both out of the room for hours might seem infuriating now…but think of how great of a story that will be in the future!

Though sharing a common space can, at times, be challenging, it can also be very rewarding. If nothing else, try to view it as a learning experience!  Do you have roommate survival tips? 🙂  Share them with us in the comments below!


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