Living that Dorm Life? Helpful Hints for a Happy Roommate Relationship
College typically means major life transitions, and one huge aspect of that revolves around living spaces. This is especially true for students living in a dormitory environment for the first time. Life’s Village Retreat and The Commons residence halls both offer stellar accommodations and a great sense of community, but it can still be daunting to share space and learn how to get along with new people in close quarters.
There are many researched reasons for why living on campus for at least the start of college is a good idea, such as developing a greater sense of belonging to your University and your surroundings; gaining a better ability to form lasting friendships; having increased access to student activities; connecting better with faculty; and having an increased likelihood of degree completion within a recommended time frame. This is why Life U has a 1st-year residency requirement for first-time freshman students new to Life U that enter Life U’s undergraduate degree programs. Though there are possible exemptions in certain cases, for those students that will be residing on campus, let’s think about some ways to live well with those around us.
How to be an Awesome Roommate
First off, take some time to review the Life University Community Standard’s Guide. This will answer many of your general questions, but make a point to introduce yourself to your Resident Advisor (RA) so that you can reach out to them should a problem arise that cannot be easily resolved on your own.
What are some other ways to ensure that you and your roomie can mesh well together? Make a point to:
- Be transparent from the beginning about your daily habits and lifestyle. This is especially important in the roommate selection phase. It can be a lot of fun to room with a best friend, for example, but if they prefer a home environment completely opposite to your ideal, that probably won’t set you up for a harmonious situation. Regardless, courteous and direct communication is key. Be specific and reasonable with your roommate about expectations and encourage them to communicate their needs to you, so little annoyances don’t
- Keep it clean. No one likes a slob. And, of course, with your busy schedule, no one expects a Martha Stewart-level clean either, but let’s take it back to kindergarten basics. If you mess it up, please clean it up. Dishes shouldn’t hang out in the sink for a week like it’s a pool party, or the trash be left to pile up to Mount Everest proportions. And try to keep clothes and books in their proper place, instead of all over common areas.
- Headphones keep the peace. Your roommate may not want to listen to Taylor Swift’s new album for the fifth time, so it’s a good idea to invest in some quality headphones.
- A heads up would be nice. If you have company over, shoot your roommate a text to let them know. You don’t have to ask permission, of course, but it is just common courtesy. And be mindful of not letting guests overstay their welcome, keeping to campus policies.
- Get your hands off my snacks! The hilarious scene from the beloved TV show Friends comes to mind. “Joey doesn’t share food!” Yes, sharing is caring, but we are adults now, and it is not compulsory; meaning, don’t take any of your roommate’s food without permission, even small items like candy or a granola bar. You don’t always know the financial aspects a roommate might be dealing with, or how much time they have to go to the store. In general, it is a good idea to maintain a hands-off policy with anything that is not shared property unless you have discussed it.
- Be a good listener. You might not end up being best friends with your roommate, which is totally fine if that is the case. However, it is important to leave the proverbial door open to your roommate when they need to talk to you about something either roommate-specific or if they just need someone to vent to for a minute. That is part of living out Lasting Purpose, which is what we are all about at Life U.
- Be a respectful host. If your roommate has guests over, treat them with kindness and respect, just as you would expect your roommate to do the same for yours. Of course, that does not mean you would be expected to have basic boundaries unobserved.
- Don’t be a mooch. Pay your share of any shared costs that arise promptly without being asked. Venmo or CashApp makes this simple. It’s one thing if your roommate treats you to lunch occasionally or things like that, but just be mindful not to take advantage of anyone’s generosity.
(Tips adapted from Popsugar’s article., “Want to Be a Good College Roommate? Do These 11 Things”)
Have a great quarter, living it up at Life U!
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