Who is that strange kid in my new room, and why is she piling all of her clothes into my closet? Oh yeah, that’s my roommate! If you find yourself having this conversation in your head on your first day in the dorms, you’re not alone.
Adjusting to your new dorm life is a whole new adventure, entirely different from home life, and yet in many ways the same. You might be thinking that you’d rather not have a roommate, but there are many benefits to living with a stranger. And before you know it, your roommate will no longer be a stranger, but quite possibly a great friend.
Here are just a few of the skills you will develop, and benefits that you will reap as a result of living with a roommate.
If there is one thing that is vital to learn before entering the real world, it is how to communicate. There is no better way to learn communication skills than to be thrown into a situation with a perfect stranger.
Remember your high school Spanish classes? You couldn’t believe how fluently your teacher spoke the language and you asked her how she became so good at it. What did she say? She likely spent time in a Spanish speaking country. The most effective way to learn any language is to immerse yourself into it.
Learning to effectively communicate with a stranger will be just one vital life lesson that will prepare you for life after college.
Conflict Resolution Skills
And you thought living with your little brother was tough! Except in the case of a roommate, she won’t put up with your annoying habits.
If you want to have a peaceful existence, and most people do, then you will need to learn how to face conflict and work out resolutions. This means learning how to agree to disagree and to be willing to meet in the middle on certain issues.
Sometimes, conflict resolution skills require you to toughen up and allow the small things to roll off your back. At other times, they require you to learn how to approach your roommate in a non-aggressive manner and communicate your needs.
Either way, conflict resolution skills are imperative to learn, and the sooner you learn them, the sooner you will be ready for life beyond college.
You don’t have to like someone in order to respect him. Respect just means that you are willing to treat someone the way that you would want to be treated. Learning how to respect someone you live with is especially vital if you were an only child.
If you didn’t have any brothers or sisters, you never had to learn to share your toys, your space, or your parents. Even if you think you will never get married or live with someone else, it is important to learn how to respect other people’s needs.
You will have a job or a career. You will be thrown into situations with coworkers that will require you to know how to respect other people. You may even have a job that puts you into direct contact with customers.
Regardless of your background or where you think you will end up in the future, it is important to learn how to relate to strangers. There is no better practice ground for developing these life skills than with a roommate. It is a safe environment and it’s not permanent.
If you use this time to develop these vital relationship skills, you will be ready to tackle the real world.