Setting rules early on with your dorm roommate can make living together a more positive experience, preventing common complications. Noise, cleaning up clutter, and late night guests can seriously interrupt your studies, sleep schedule and general quality of college life.
Just as it is important to set and live by family rules, setting and complying with rules set by you and your dorm roommate eases some of the normal conflicts that can occur when living with others. They are the grease that eases human relationships.
Set dorm rules early
Setting shared rules from the very beginning prevents bad habits from establishing themselves before corrective measures are taken. When talking with your dorm roommate about rules, be sure to discuss normal sleep patterns, class schedules, and the need for neatness, quiet and privacy.
Get to know your roommate
Everyone has unique peccadilloes and quirky habits that can be seen as endearing or annoying, depending upon how they are handled and perceived. Getting to know your dorm roommate better helps both sides understand and accept each other more realistically. A few trips to the Hub for coffee, a couple lunch dates, or discussions about favorite types of music, movies and family history helps personalize the relationship, making it easier to live with this stranger.
The most important step to setting ground rules with your dorm roommate early in the school year is to review any school rules that apply. Overnight and late night guests may or may not be allowed. Obviously, illegal substances should not be present as this can result in legal action taken against both parties.
Sounds of silence
Some students need absolute quiet to study, where others prefer listening to music or using television for background noise. If your roommate’s study habits are different from your own, be prepared to compromise. If you prefer quiet, you can study in your room while your roommate is in class or otherwise occupied elsewhere, and then study in the campus library when he or she is home and needs to study.
Perks of privacy
Sharing a room with someone you’ve never met can feel intimidating, which is why respecting each other’s privacy and property is crucial from the very beginning. Prevention is the best solution at first. Keep valuables out of sight until you know your roommate better. Establishing a hands-off-my-stuff policy from the start can prevent misunderstandings and arguments that may make sharing a room difficult and frustrating.
Just as people have a wide variety of study habits, they also have different ideas about what it means to clean a room. Your roommate may be a slob or a complete neat freak. Coming to an early agreement about who is responsible for what within the room and setting a regular cleaning schooled can prevent resentment.
The best part about having college roommates is that they very often become lifelong friends. Ensuring that the friendship starts out on the right foot with mutually acceptable dorm rules makes college life more enjoyable and strengthens that friendship in the long run.