Orientation Opinion: A smooth start for you and your roommate

Maggie Wachtel

There is nothing quite like your freshman year of college. And if you’re like most freshmen, you will be dealing with a roommate. If you’re like me and you’ve had your own room for your whole life, it will be an adjustment. You are all of a sudden sharing a 12-by-14 room with someone you may or may not know very well. You may have connected with them over the Kent State Facebook page; maybe they’re a stranger. Or if you’re like me, your roommate is a close friend from high school. But regardless, you will have to learn to co-exist in close quarters for the next nine months. Here are some tips and reminders to help you avoid any conflict that comes your way.

1. Set ground rules

I cannot stress how important this is, especially if you don’t know your roommate well. Write down all of the rules for the room that you each have to abide by. And if one of you breaks a rule, one roommate should be able to call out the other on it.

2. Find out each other’s habits

Figure out if your roommate is a morning or night person, and if they like to study in the room or at the library. Knowing little habits like that will keep the peace between you. Respect your roommate if they are sleeping or studying. Don’t be loud or disruptive. Trust me, there is nothing worse than a roommate who doesn’t respect your sleep and study habits.

3. You don’t have to become lifelong best friends

A lot of freshman go in with the mindset that they have to become best friends with their roommate, and I’m here to tell you that you don’t. It’s best if both of you branch off, meet new people and form your own friendships. Trying to force a friendship that isn’t there could hurt both of you. Your expectations for your roommate should consist of them respecting your space and not messing with your stuff. If you end up becoming good friends, see it as a bonus. 

4. Address problems as they come

I speak from personal experience when I say that ignoring issues that you have with your roommate will not help at all. If something that they do or say bothers you, tell them. When you don’t address the issues you have with each other right away, they continue to build up. Having a lot of built up tension towards your roommate can lead to more unnecessary problems. You will come to realize that taking the high road and confronting them right away about the problems you have will pay off.

Theses are just a few tips that will help you to be a good roommate. There will be times where you will be at each other’s throats, but remember that this is someone that you are living with, and pick your battles. If you just respect each other and keep civil, you shouldn’t have any problems.

Maggie Wachtel is a sophomore journalism major. Contact her at [email protected]