The Ultimate Roommate Survival Guide

There are a few certainties in college.

You will study.
You will dress up in costume at least once.
You will eat more Easy Mac than you have ever eaten before. And sometimes you will eat it on a cookie slathered in cream cheese.
You will have a roommate at some point.

Yes, roommates and college go together like SoCo and Lime. They’re good goin’ down, but sometimes things can get ugly very quickly.

You may come from a home with tons of siblings, or you might have enjoyed bunking with a girlfriend on a week-long camping trip, but nothing is quite like living with another person in the tiny hole we call a dorm room. While having a roommate has its challenges (hello, you’re sharing a tiny room, you’re bound to disagree at some point…most likely over the TV) it can also be fun. That is, if you do it right. Here are 10 little nuggets of wisdom to ensure your roommate experience is a great one.

1. Be honest and clear from day one.
Don’t lie to the poor girl and tell her you “don’t mind a little mess” if the thought of a dirty sock being on the floor makes you cringe. Do you snore? Are you uncomfortable with people being in your room until 4 am? Are you just not a morning person? Let your roommate know these things about you, even if it’s your BFF from last year. It isn’t fair to just expect them to know little quirks or preferences about you unless you verbalize them. Communicating these preferences is one of the best ways to eliminate roomie mishaps in the future.

2. Address problems as soon as they happen.
Talking to your roommate about things that bug you immediately keeps you from holding it in until you finally go on a rampage a month later. Trust me, this happened to me this past year. Little things bothered me until one day I cracked and the grumpy-running-on-4-hours-of-sleep-because-of-exams me came down on our suite like a tsunami. Next thing I knew I was cursing, slamming doors, and glaring at everyone who came near me. Save yourself the frustration and stop being passive aggressive; just address the issue at hand. It’s the adult thing to do.

3. Do not steal your roommate’s stuff.
Do not steal your roommate’s stuff.
Do not steal your roommate’s stuff. I can’t stress this enough.

4. Be considerate when bringing people to the room.
No one enjoys being sexiled when they have a paper due in the morning. No one likes walking back from a long day of exams to see the room filled with people. Again. For the fifth time that week.

5. Lock the door.
Just because you trust that no one will go into the room and steal your stuff doesn’t mean it can’t happen. How would you feel if your roomie’s laptop was stolen because of you?

6. Try to have an open mind.
Your roomie may be the complete opposite of you (different religion, from a different town, likes different music) but try to be open to experiencing something new. Part of college is being pushed out of your comfort zone, and that is also true of your roommate. Who knows, you might end up having more in common than you would think.

7. Be open to change.
As the year goes on, new preferences might come up. Try to be flexible. That includes setting new rules, and possibly rearranging the room.

8. Don’t expect to be best friends with your roommate.
Don’t get me wrong – it could happen, but don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Unless you have awesome luck, chances are your roomie will be just that: a roommate. Yes, two of my friends randomly got assigned to room together and they got along so well they’ve roomed together ever since. But that’s not the norm. Most of the time, you simply can’t be best friends with someone you share a hole-in-the-wall room with. Little habits will annoy you, no matter how much you like the person. Lower your expectations about roomie-bonding and find other friends with more in common with you than the room you sleep in.

9. When problems arise, address them calmly.
That doesn’t mean leaving sticky notes in the room with a demand and ending it with smiley faces (honestly that just reminds me of Diddy in Get Him to the Greek, but I digress). Try to keep things from turning into a Jerry Springer episode and calm yo’self before confronting your roomie.

10. The Golden Rule.
This is the best advice I can give to roommates. Treat your roommate as you would like to be treated. No matter what your relationship is at the end of the year, at least you can look back on the year and know you treated them with respect.

RIP, Snooki
RIP, Snooki
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