ROOMMATES 101: HOW TO LIVE AND GET ALONG WITH ROOMMATES

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12Moving away to campus, the one thing I anticipated the most was meeting my roommate. I heard great stories about how roommates become your best friend, the person you feel comfortable to talk to about anything. Roommates become your family. Yet, horror stories about roommates amplified my fear that I would live with someone who was, well, creepy. What if she has this strange habit where she stares at you when you wake up, or doesn’t shower for days? What if she is just socially awkward? I have to live with her for a year!

Some schools follow a selective process in placing freshman with roommates; requiring one to fill out a form asking what you what your sleeping habits are, how you like to do your homework and how social you are to ensure you live with a compatible roommate. Unluckily, for those of us admitted in Public universities, this is unheard of.

I remember walking into my room when I was a fresha, and introducing myself to my roommate, with no intention of becoming her best friend. Luckily, she shared a similar positive outlook on life, loved the same kind of music as I did, and possessed a genuinely sweet personality. We became best friends and have lived with each other every year since then. Even if you are lucky to live with people you like throughout college, you can face challenges all the same. Here are some tips to follow to make your year go by smoothly.

Communication
Communicate! I cannot stress this enough. Annoyed with how your roommates leave their clothes on the floor? Tell them! Tired of them leaving their dirty dishes in the sink? Tell them! Several disagreements people undergo in the dorms or living in apartments with several different people always originate from a miscommunication. It can be hard to ask your roommate to clean up after themselves or to put headphones on while you are studying. It may seem like they will judge you for getting picky about something. However, it’s worse to keep bitter feelings inside. How will they know what’s bothering you if you never tell them? Chances are they are not aware of what they are doing. Talk to them.

Compromise
This suggestion goes hand in hand with communication. Living away from home creates enjoyable memories like staying out late with roommates, but it also requires you to figure out how to pay bills and maintain a clean room. The first year I lived in a hostel room, me and my three other roommates created a chore chart. Sometimes, we broke the chart because we got caught up in schoolwork, but for the most part it worked. No one got left to clean up the entire room, thanks to a compromise about chores, making it much easier to live with each other.

Have days to get to know each other
Sometimes during exam season, my roommates and I barely see each other. We may live in the same place, but often it wasn’t until late at night when we troop back from the library, with long faces after an exhausting long day, that we would see each other. And by that time, all we want to do is go to bed, not have a full hangout. Especially during these times when we got busy, it seemed as if we all just became ghosts, filtering in and out of the room. Therefore, it’s good to set aside certain weekends to have a roommates-only time together or just have a movie night. We always looked forward to these days because we were able to catch up. If you really cannot stand being in being with your roommates, then it’s advisable that you to move. You will be happier in the end living with people you like.

Living with roommates brings its up and downs. Each hostel and university/college has their own unique dynamic, meaning what works with one living situation may not work with another. Additionally, just because you live with them does not require you to be best friends with them. Granted, it does help to live with people you at least like to spend time with. In the case that your living situation is not the most optimal, I advise to communicate, compromise, and spend time with your roommates to get to know them. There is nothing worse than dreading to back to your home because you detest your roommates. We experience so many different things in college and learning how to live with roommates is a part of the process.

BY JOSEPHINE OTIENO