Be there for your roommates

By Declan Harty

Everyone typically has a nightmare roommate situation of some sort.

It may be not doing the dishes, or it could be wet laundry drying in your shower when you have 10 minutes to get to the Quad.

Housing is one of the first decisions every incoming college student has to make, but trust me when I say the decision (for the most part) doesn’t get any easier after that first year of living in a dorm.

As a transfer sophomore, I had no clue what I was going to do when I was admitted to the University. I had already come to know and love Bromley Hall throughout visiting campus my freshman year, but I was well beyond having to live in a dorm. I had to duck in the hallway in my freshman dorm at Illinois Wesleyan University, so it’s safe to say that I wasn’t looking at dorm life favorably again.

Luckily, two of my girlfriend’s friends were looking for a roommate for the next year, and within a few weeks, I had signed a lease to live in one of the tallest buildings on Frat Park. There was a balcony overlooking the muddy, bottle-filled park, washer and dryer in unit and what essentially seemed to be a brand new kitchen. I had hit the jackpot.

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The question, though, was that there were only three of us in a four bedroom unit. So we ended up with a random pairing, and that didn’t go so well. I won’t go into too many specifics, but when you’re woken up at 3 a.m. to your roommate cooking right outside of your bedroom while yelling via Skype… it’s not fun.

Now in my third year of apartment living, I don’t consider myself a perfect roommate by any means, but I am thankful to have found two great roommates (thanks guys!) this year that make my life way easier.

So here are a few tips to hopefully help you avoid any bad situations with your roommates.

First off, set your rules first. You don’t like people smoking on your balcony? Make it known to everyone in your apartment at the beginning of the year. Even if your roommates aren’t smokers, when they’re having a party and it’s 4 a.m., you don’t want to wake up to the beautiful aroma that is exhaled smoke from a Marlboro Red seeping through your door or window.

Second, be self-aware and practice what you preach. The absolute best way to avoid an awkward confrontation with your roommates it to try to get the problem resolved before it’s even a problem. No one — trust me, no one — enjoys having to sit down with their roommate and say, “You’ve got to put away your dishes.” You don’t want to be your roommates’ parents, so don’t make them be yours.

Next, be respectful. It’s so remarkably simple, right? If only. This one doesn’t require much of an explanation at all, but it needs to be said. College is hard enough; don’t go taking out your frustrations on your roommates.

Finally, be there for your roommates. Everyone needs a few friends in college, so at the very least, be there for the people you wake up in the same apartment with, whether it’s by going to Legends for Rail Night, watching “The Bachelor” or even just accompanying you to a pregame where you’re not going to know anyone.

Declan is a senior in Media.

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