College Roommate Agreement: 3 Things You Must Include
Fans of the geek powered sitcom The Big Bang Theory may be familiar with Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s infamous (and obnoxious) roommate agreement.
Including such clauses as naming another roommate as their sidekick should they ever gain superpowers, or not shooting roommate(s) if they were infected during a hypothetical zombie apocalypse, his contract is extensive and completely over the top (though don’t tell Dr. Cooper that).
While these kinds of clauses aren’t necessary or standard (though feel free to add them in should you feel the need), there are some things you may want to consider when creating a college roommate agreement.
Some colleges and universities have current and future roommates sign one up front, while others wait to come up with one if and when there are problems that arise between roommates.
Even if your school doesn’t require you to sign a roommate agreement, or you live in an apartment independent from you school’s organization, you may still want to come up with a set of guidelines for your room or house.
You don’t necessarily need to draw up official looking contracts to sign; writing them down in a notebook, hanging them on the wall, or even just discussing them among yourselves will suffice and clear up any confusion and ambiguities to streamline your living situations.
Just make sure that everyone is clear on the agreement, and agrees completely; compromise when necessary!
What Should You Address in a College Roommate Agreement?
- Overnight visitors. Make sure everyone is clear about the position on overnight guests. You may want to ask that people only have guests on the weekends, or maybe you don’t care at all. You also want to address the issue of overnight guests of the opposite gender. It’s really whatever is important to your group of roommates/friends. As long as everyone is on the same page and can agree with the rules.
- Quiet times. I know, I know, you’re not running a summer camp here. You can’t exactly call lights out in your apartment, or at least you can’t and expect people to listen to you. But you may want to discuss when a good time is to agree to be quiet. Otherwise you may just find yourself laying awake at two in the morning listening to your roommate’s loud phone conversation or the television blaring in the other room. It’s simply common courtesy, and most people wouldn’t have to be told to do this, but in order to prevent any ambiguity, it’s always a good idea to bring it up.
- Schedules. This becomes especially important if you only have one bathroom in your room or apartment. While it’s not exactly something everyone can agree on and sign off, but it is something that you should discuss with the people you’re living with. That way everyone can figure out the best times to wake up in the morning, take showers, and get dressed/ready in the bathroom. This way, no one is in each other’s way, angry about not being able to shower or brush their teeth, or running late for class or work because of misunderstanding. Another good thing is to have a copy of everyone’s weekly schedules for classes, work, and any extracurriculars on the wall, either in a calendar or typed up on a piece of paper. This way, everyone will know where everyone else is. It helps everyone from a safety point of view, as your roommates will know where you are and when you should be home or elsewhere. It’s just helpful and common sense.
What if the College Roommate Agreement isn’t Being Adhered To?
Sometimes, even with the best of roommates and friends, things can get a bit dicey. Someone might start being lax about something you agreed upon, or may begin to adopt new behaviors that the other roommates are not fond of.
If a breach in the roommate agreement has been made, or if something needs to be amended, just talk about it first. As with all relationships, communication is key. There’s a strong possibility that the person isn’t even aware they are doing something.
Probably the most important thing to keep in mind is to stay calm and to approach it nonchalantly. No one wants to feel like they’re being lectured by their mom! If there’s a problem, just bring it up casually the first time. That ought to be enough to help remedy the problem. However, if it remains an issue, you may want to take it up a notch.
Just remember to keep it in perspective; many things that seem extremely important and life threatening at the time are laughable a month or two down the road!