Compromise with, respect your roommate

By Alex Greulich , Copy Chief

It’s the beginning of the year and everyone is excited to move into their dorms. Students get to live with other students, sometimes for the first time, and it’s an entirely new dynamic. You yourself might have the opportunity to finally live with your best friend from high school, someone you’ve known for a while or someone you’ve only heard of a few weeks ago. Depending on your living situation, it’s important to get to know the living style of your roommate and how it meshes with yours.

Because it’s a new experience for some people and a difficult experience for many others, here are some options and considerations on how to compromise with your roommate.

Always ask before you take

Living with someone in a confined space may make it feel like what’s theirs is yours and yours is theirs. However, that is not the case for most people. If you have shared appliances or objects around the room, but they brought it to campus with them, like a vacuum or scissors, remember to ask before using those items.

If you want to use something that is more personal that you did not distinguish as a shared item, ask every time. And, for the health of everyone in the dorm, don’t start sharing towels, certain makeup or other hygienic products, for everyone’s sake.

Take your time with the housing roommate contract

At the beginning of the year, your Resident Adviser will give you and your roommate a housing contract to fill out, which indicates a lot of different lifestyle choices including what time you go to bed, music preferences, having guests over and much more. A lot of people assume that they don’t need these contracts and everything will be worked out amongst themselves if something comes up.

However, especially if you don’t know your roommate prior to living with them, this contract can be an invaluable tool in keeping the peace. If you’re someone who enjoys sleeping in, but your roommate likes to blast music at 7 a.m. and won’t listen to you about it, having a signed document to back you up may come in handy.

Above all else, compromise with your roommate

It’s important to remember you also have to make compromises in any living situation. It’s not fair for anyone to have to be quiet before 9 p.m. on a Friday night in college. Sure, if you have a big test coming up soon and talk to your roommate about it, there’s nothing wrong with asking for an early night in. But if you like to sleep early all of the time, it makes it difficult for your roommate to spend time in the room in the evenings and creates a tense situation for everyone.

Go through your living habits with your roommate and create a schedule — whether it be for cleaning, sleeping, playing music or having guests over — and let them know what is a deal-breaker for you. Most of the time, you will come to an agreement and live in quasi-harmony for the remainder of the year.

If you are in an unfortunate situation and cannot compromise on something with your roommate, or are having problems that are affecting your day-to-day life, speak with your RA or Resident Director about switching rooms. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen and they will know what to do to help you into a better situation.

All in all, housing is there to help and if you compromise with your roommate, you are very likely to have a great experience. Just remember to be thoughtful, ask first, create boundaries you are both comfortable with and have an amazing year.

Alex is a senior in LAS.

[email protected]