College Roommate Survival Guide

Surviving a college roommate is a right of passage that the majority of college students have lived through. Horror stories abound telling tales of roommates that are bi-polar, nocturnal, rude, or even nudists. All those stories are true and are perfect examples of the adage about what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

The following is a college roommate survival guide that has to be forged through personal experiences with some wacky roommates.


Do your best to communicate with you new roommate to set boundaries and your expectations of each other. College freshmen are often surprised by the different standards of living demonstrated by their peers.

Setting boundaries early on, even ones that may seem logical and elementary can be your best defense from some major blowouts later in the semester.

Knowing what your roommate expects from you can help you to avoid conflict and can give you a better understanding of what your boundaries and limits may be with each other.

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Talking things out before they become a major problem is the best way to prevent conflict.

Be your own person

Spending too much time in your room or with your roommate can lead to some issues down the road.

College is a time to branch out and meeting new people is a major part of your learning experience. Not making friends outside your room can stunt your social development and can put a strain on your relationship with your roomie.

Do not rely on your roommate to introduce you to new people or provide you your only social outlet. This can cause unneeded stress to your relationship and can lead to your roommate trying to sneak out or avoid you.

Being friends with your roommate is great, but be sure to be an individual as well.

Have an escape route

Your room is your own personal space, however, the rules have changed and you now must share that space with someone else.

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You can no longer slam the door and shut your problems out, especially if one of your problems is an unfortunate roommate pairing.

You must make sure that you have places to go when you have a conflict with your roommate or when you can sense that you are starting to wear on each other’s nerves.

Make friends with other people on your hall or in your dorm and be sure to visit them when you can feel tensions rising between you and your roommate. Having friends to talk to in similar cohabitation situations can help you learn new ways to deal with conflict.


Living with a stranger is not easy, and is compounded when you happen to be dealt a particularly strange stranger for a roommate.

Try to keep a line of communication open and be sure to foster a community of supporting friends around you.

There are roommate pairings that just don’t work. If you and your roommate have irreconcilable differences, it may just be time to cut bait and apply to be reassigned a new roommate.

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