With roommates, communication goes a long way

Alton Northup, Reporter

More than 6,500 students live on Kent State’s main campus, according to the university website, and often these students are sharing their living space with a roommate for the very first time.

Knowing where to begin with the roommate process can be daunting, especially for first-year students. Many people know what they look for in a friend, but those qualities might not always transfer to a healthy living situation.

When it comes to choosing a roommate, it is best to check other boxes before looking at things like career paths and music tastes, said Briley Rhinock, the Undergraduate Student Government senator for residence halls. 

“I know what they think people like to look for is if people will have similar majors and things, but for me, I don’t think that that’s as important as seeing what type of boundaries you expect from your roommate,” he said. “If you expect the room to be very clean, if you expect to do chores every weekend, if you guys want to have people over or you don’t like to have people over, if you are okay with people spending the night or not, sleep schedules I think are very important.” 

Before Rhinock arrived on campus his first year—he was able to find his future roommate through a school-sponsored app that matched students to potential roommates through interests, expectations, hobbies and sleep schedules.

The university now partners with an app called ZeeMee which matches students through a survey.

Social media is another way to meet a potential roommate or communicate with an assigned roommate, but it is important to ensure the relationship leaves the virtual world before move-in day comes.

“Before you do a deep dive into your roommate’s social media account, call or zoom or otherwise connect so that you and your roommate can start talking with each other,” said Daniel Shonk, the associate director of housing assignments for university housing. “We see more roommate concerns come from students that looked up their roommate’s online presence or started texting with each other before actually taking the time to talk with one another.”

Arriving on campus is when the real task of building a positive relationship with your roommate begins. You do not have to be best friends, Shonk said, but having a connection is important.

Having one-on-one time with your roommate outside of the room can help build a strong relationship, Rhinock said. 

“Just trying each other’s interests, like if someone likes to go on hikes maybe the two of you can go on a hike just to get to know each other,” he said. “And then I feel like once you guys are comfortable with each other, I think that’s a good point to start going out and hanging out with other people and seeing how your roommate works with being in large crowds.”

Communication also goes a long way, such as filling out the roommate agreement so boundaries are made clear and discussing what both students want to get out of the experience. 

Those who met their future roommate already or want to room with their current one again can request a roommate on their housing application by putting their potential roommate’s last name and Kent State email address in the required fields. Roommate requests must be approved by both students in order to be paired together.

Alton Northup is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].