Living with another person can feel weird. Here are questions students ask about finding a roommate and building a great relationship.
Forget living away from home for the first time, taking challenging classes and learning how to be an adult. One of the most stressful things for freshmen is often having a roommate.
Throughout the next four years you’ll undoubtedly encounter an eclectic group of roommates that come and go. Some may be great to live with and others may send you running. From the one who you share your first-year dorm with to the group of friends you will eventually rent an apartment with, each person you live with will bring something new to the table.
Here are the answers to common questions surrounding the college roommate game:
1. Should I Room With a Friend?
The thought of moving in with a high school friend for your first year of college can help ease the natural fear of transition. Living with a friend eliminates the awkward “getting to know you” phase and the chance of being placed with a roommate that you don’t get along with. But while it may sound like a good idea to have a familiar face in your room every day, the cons of living with an old friend tend to outweigh the pros.
Attending college is all about stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself to new things. While the experience is different for everyone, living with an old buddy has the tendency to keep you from branching out and may prevent you from making new friends.
And remember, a great friend doesn’t always equal a great roommate. It’s very possible that good friends have opposite living habits. Instead, look for a roommate with habits similar to your own. Rather than sharing a room with your friend, request to be in the same hall or dorm. This option still provides the comfort of having a familiar face nearby, but allows you to branch out and live with someone new.
2. Will I Get Along With a Roommate Selected by the School?
Universities and colleges do their best to match roommates based on shared interests gathered from housing surveys that ask questions surrounding lifestyle and personality. However, since questions asked are typically simple ones (smoker or non-smoker, late sleeper or early riser, messy or organized), it’s difficult to tell if a school-selected roommate will work out or not.
Take a look at Bentley University’s housing application questions.
But remember: while it’s great to have a roommate you’re friends with, it’s just as great to have a roommate you simply get along with. You don’t need to hang out with this person every day, all day — you’ll develop new friendships for that.
3. What Happens if We Really Don’t Get Along?
Perhaps one of you is coming in too late at night and disrupting the other’s sleep or one of you has turned into a slob. If issues start to surface, the best thing to do is have an open conversation with your roommate. Setting boundaries or guidelines can often help better a living situation.
If things still don’t work out, asking your Resident Assistant to mediate is a good next step. His or her experience will help guide you and your roommate in the right direction.
If conversation and compromise still don’t provide any results, it’s ok to think about moving out. According to the New York Times, feelings are contagious and a roommate can have a lasting impact on your entire four years. A study of 1,600 freshmen at two universities found that living with someone who is unhappy has the tendency to make people feel unhappy themselves. If your living situation isn’t making you happy, it’s important to put yourself first and make the necessary changes.