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College is supposed to be the best four years of your life, so why not love every minute of it?
After long years of tedious studying, endless extra curricular activities, and insurmountable build-up, stepping onto campus as a college freshman is not only thrilling, but also a huge turning point in your young adult life. While initially your newfound independence may be overwhelmingly exciting, there is a lot to learn in your four years before entering the “real world.” One important lesson that is learned early on is how to live with a roommate.
Like it or not, you will inevitably be living with a roommate for most, if not all, of your college years. As a freshman, this will most likely be the first time you will be living with someone else, other than a sibling. While you may not have to abide by parent’s rules anymore, you now have someone else’s feelings and well being to take into consideration. Your room is supposed to be a place to unwind and escape the stress of school and organizations; therefore, it is key that you and your roommate practice good communication. Without good communication skills, you will feel like you’re living more in a war zone than in a dorm room.
Signing the “Roommate Agreement” forms in the beginning of the year may seem stupid and unnecessary, but they are helpful in establishing basic ground rules for your room. By setting guidelines like no blasting music after 10 pm on weekdays or lights out at midnight, you will avoid conflict and also help your room get into a routine.
If you do find that your roommate is disrespecting your feelings, needs, and space, you have to address him or her directly. Bottling up your feelings will only cause additional stress to your already busy life! If you do not acknowledge the problems as they occur, you will only build towards a catastrophic breakdown later on.
To ease some of the tension, try creating space away from your room by getting involved in clubs, finding a quiet place to study on campus, and eating dinner with friends from some of your classes. By doing so, you will actually be excited to go home to your roommate and tell them about your day.
Living with someone new is never easy, but learning how to accommodate someone else’s needs is an important life skill to learn. The best advice I have ever received regarding roommates was from my mom. She always says, “Your roommate doesn’t have to be your best friend. You just need to respect one another.” That statement has helped me throughout my college experience and will help you through any roommate challenges that you may face.
By Eva Zymaris