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Tips for Living with a College Roommate

Aug 15, 2007

Roommates are a common part of the college experience, but that doesn't mean that living with another student is easy. Take a look at some of the tips below to help you learn how to live with a roommate.

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Living With a Roommate

Whether you're living in a dorm room, an on-campus apartment, or an off-campus house, you will probably have one or more roommates. At most colleges, students generally don't live alone, and even if you choose to live off campus, you'll likely need to share a room or house to save some money. Having a roommate can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging to mix different personalities in a small space. Cleaning schedules, noise levels, moodiness and bills can quickly transform a friendly relationship into a stressful one.

Tip #1: Get in Touch Before Your Move-In Date

If you're new to college or have never met your roommate, you'll want to take a little time to talk to him or her before you move in together. While social media sites are a good place to start, they're not always the best way to get to know someone. Consider calling your roommate to find out more about her or to work out details for your new place.

Tip #2: Establish Rules

When you get settled in your new room or apartment, you'll want to talk about preferences immediately. Discuss your habits and the things that you think might be important, like how high you like the volume on the stereo or how early you usually get up in the morning. Establishing a clear set of rules upfront could help you avoid disputes later on.

Tip #3: Be Willing to Compromise

No matter how similar your interests are, there are going to be issues that you and your roommate differ on. For instance, your roommate might like having friends over until late at night, but you would rather have some quiet time in your room to study. By working together, you can find a solution that benefits both of you.

Tip #4: Communicate

Don't avoid talking about things that are bothering you. Lay out your concerns in a clear and calm manner and then work together to resolve the issue. Be careful though, you don't want to be constantly complaining or finding issues with your roommate. Instead, let some of the small stuff go and work on building your relationship.

Tip #5: Have Fun Together

Having a roommate isn't just about resolving disagreements and sharing space. Your roommate can be good company and can be a source of support when you're struggling with school or other issues. Find out if you have shared interests in certain activities and participate in those together. Be open to your roommate's interests even if you're not familiar with them - you just might find a new activity that you enjoy.

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