Sharing a confined space with another living, breathing creature–and I’m not talking about your fish or body pillow–can be difficult. In my first year, I was challenged going from my own room at home with a bed big enough for my entire graduating class to a room half that size and a bed that was barely big enough for my Brutus pillow pet and me. Add three more people–strangers–to that space and life has never been the same. Those roommates I was forced to share bunk beds with turned out to be some of my best friends, but that isn’t always the case.
For some, it may seem as though school started yesterday, and here we are ten weeks later and the test are getting more difficult, we’ve become dependent on taco salads from the RPAC for survival (or is that just me?), and students are already making housing plans for the coming year. Whether you’ve found someone you plan to live with the rest of your life or you are a Nervous Nelly worried that it’s too late to find compatible living buddies, these second-year housing tips may be useful for anyone:
There are few things in life you have to be selfish about, but housing may be one of those things.
Whether you are living in a cave, your parent’s basement after graduation (oh no!), or the 37th floor of the Empire State building, that is YOUR home. When it comes to deciding where to live and who to live with, make sure you are comfortable and can come to consensus with your roommate(s). The last thing you want is to spend a year of your life unhappy trying to please someone else. Never agree to live with someone or somewhere out of guilt. Those tough conversations are hard to have, but you will be much happier in the long run…trust me.
Best friends are not the best roommates and roommates do not have to be your best friends.
Because of what we see in pop culture, we often come to college with an unrealistic expectation that our roommates are going to be our best friends and we will all live happily ever after drinking hot chocolate and having pillow fights every night until 2 a.m. When this turns out to not be the case, the perfect vision we created in our heads of college is no longer and we start to compare our experience to others. The best roommates are simply people who have compatible living habits. You do not need to be best friends; you simply need to get along. In fact, you may want to also consider not rooming with your best friends, simply to protect your friendship. Although they may be a great companion, they may have living habits that get under your skin. Find that perfect balance between good friend and compatible living habits, and you have the perfect match!
The Golden Rule: treat your roommate how you want to be treated.
If you do not like to come home to passive-aggressive Post-It notes, do not leave them for your roommate. If you do not like moldy food in your living quarters, store your leftover taco salad in the fridge. If you like to go to bed by midnight, study at the library or down the hall in a common area when you roommate wants to sleep. Chances are that the small things that get under your skin get under your roommates skin as well. Don’t do anything to your room or your roommate that you would not want them to do to your room or you.
Address a situation when it arises.
If you find that your roommate is violating the roommate contract or doing something that you do not appreciate, address the situation as soon as possible in a face-to-face conversation. The sooner you address the situation, the better things will become. Gossiping with your friends down the hallway will not make the problem go away. The last thing you want is to build up anger or frustration toward them for something they may not even realize they are doing. These conversations may be hard to have in the moment, but can have positive impacts on the roommate relationship in the long run.
Share the snacks that Mom sends.
This is mega important for your friendship, especially when Rice Krispies treats are involved.
Deciding to go random for my roommate(s) was one of the best decisions I ever made and I do not know if our Ohio State paths would have crossed if it were not for the lovely housing office that put us together. As you can see, living with another person is hard. A lot of the time it takes patience and every once in a while a hard conversation, but by keeping these rules in mind, you are bound to have a great year!