College Roommate Do’s and Don’ts

As a freshman, there’s a good chance that you’ll be living in the dorms for your first year of college. There’s also a good chance that you’ll have one or two roommates, unless you opt to live in a single. Whether you’re rooming with a complete stranger or your best friend (the latter is generally not recommended), you will be confronted by issues that come with sharing your private space with other individuals.

It is very important to be aware of how your actions affect your roommates and to keep an open line of communication with them in order to avoid drama. This post will go through some of the more common roommate situations/dilemmas and what to do or not do in response.

Hanging out.

  • DO: Get to know your roommate on a personal level. You don’t have to become best friends, but it’ll definitely raise the comfort level and make communication easier.
  • DONT: Cling to your roommate. It’ll be tempting, especially during those first couple of weeks, but it’s important to branch out and get to know all the other wonderful people on campus.

Organizing/Sharing the space.

  • DO: Set clear boundaries about which space belongs to who, in order to avoid ambiguity which can lead to personal space infringement issues. Try to make things as fair as possible and functional.
  • DON’T: Take over your roommate’s space, unless you’re invited to do so. Sharing a room is challenging enough and everyone needs an little area that’s theirs and theirs alone.

Reconciling your schedules.

  • DO: Keep each other up to date with what your schedule is generally looking like. Let your roommate know about your sleeping habits or if you have late or early classes. Sometimes you won’t be able to avoid conflicting schedules, but giving them a heads up is the least you can do.
  • DON’T: Exchange courtesy for selfishness by being loud when your roommate is trying to study or sleep. Be very mindful if you have schedules that don’t mesh very well.

Inviting guests over.

  • DO: Set up general guidelines for having guests over that you both agree on. You may have to customize the protocol depending on the situation of the individual guests, but these basic rules will provide the framework you need.
  • DON’T: Invite guests without letting your roommate know ahead of time. Remember that it’s their room as well and that they have priority over whoever you choose to invite over.

Borrowing and sharing things.

  • DO: Feel free to pool your money for larger expenses on things you can both use in your room such as a microwave, a mini fridge, or a TV.It’s cost-effective and also a great way to save space. There’s really no need for two microwaves in the same room.
  • DON’T: Help yourself to your roommates things without asking for permission beforehand. Your roommate should be able to trust you with their stuff since you are sharing a room, and you should be able to trust your roommate in the same way.

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Pamela Nonga

Pamela Nonga

Pamela Nonga is a second year at the University of California Davis double majoring in Political Science and Communications. When she’s not theorizing about the greater meaning behind her day-to-day experiences on her blog, you can find her on a run, enjoying a blend of the outdoors and her favorite tunes. Pamela loves to read, write, and travel, and hopes to work in the fields of Journalism and Media as a career.
Pamela Nonga

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