Column: A few tips, tricks to ponder for future living, roommate problems, difficult situations

By Stephanie Lulay

After four years on campus, from the tiny residence halls to a small sorority room and finally, my own apartment, I’ve mastered more than a few living situations.

Let me give you a few words of advice: Worry less about where you’re going to live next year and more about who you are going to live with. This might sound a little crazy as everyone is rushing to sign any lease they can get their hands on, but trust me — the qualities that you find in your roommates will make the nine months or more that you’ll be living with them. Even though I’ve spent two years living within a block of the Quad (a much coveted bonus), I can tell you that the people that you live with make the experience.

Follow these few guidelines, and you’ll be on your way to a great year.

Clean up after yourself

Even though people have different ideas on what a “clean” room or apartment is, generally cleaning up after yourself could help avoid mutual frustration. If every dish is dirty, it’s probably time to do the dishes. And if you split the housework, everyone will know what is expected of them and no one will get upset that they are picking up the extra slack.

If you are a mess and it can’t be helped, try to at least confine it to your room. No one wants to have to bring their guests into a dirty living room or kitchen, and this way they can close your door and ignore your filth.

Discuss sharing

Think that it’s no big deal that you snag your roommate’s favorite dress for an important night out? Well she might not feel the same way. Or maybe you were hungry and ate your roomie’s leftover lasagna, no big deal right? Unless your roommate was saving it for when they got hungry.

It’s important to discuss at the beginning of the year what you expect from the people sharing your space. Don’t want anyone ever borrowing something special?

It’s better to lay it out on the table initially instead of getting mad when you see them using it for the first time. Regarding groceries and things you buy for the apartment, decide early who’s going to buy or keep what, and there will be nothing to argue about later.

Respect differing schedules

Another challenge of living with a few other people is that your schedules will always conflict. While there is no avoiding it, a little respect will go a long way. If you’re a night owl, you don’t need to be completely quiet, but don’t come in like a marching band, either. If you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for your 8 a.m. class like clockwork, try to keep your coffee cup banging to a minimum.

Some circumstances call for a little special behavior. If your roommate has an important job interview or final in the morning, I’m sure they’d really appreciate it if you would keep it down, and they would be happy to return the favor when you need a good night’s sleep, too.

Appreciate each other’s differences

In most cases, you decided to share a living space with these people because you love them. College is perhaps the only time that you will get to share an apartment with the people that you call your closest friends. But after spending lots of time with them, everyone’s little quirks can start to get on your nerves.

But their personality differences can also benefit you, too.

Your roommates’ constant rapping to their iTunes favorites could be annoying, but maybe by the end of the year you’ll learn how to craft a great rhyme, too. Their constant quizzing of GRE questions may be neverending, but maybe it’ll prepare you to take it, too.

By having fun, appreciating what they can teach you and taking their annoyances in stride (you’re annoying too, trust me), you’ll be sure to make the best of your roommate situation.