Thursday, July 21, 2011


Here it is- the long awaited *drum roll*-------------- roommate post!

It seems the timing is quite appropriate, seeing as how you should be finding out who you'll be stuck with living with any day now. I'm sure the suspense is just killing you. Anywho, here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with roommates. This post just might save you from a conflict some day, or probably only make you EVEN MORE anxious to find out who your roomie will be.

The Summer Before
So let's start with the here and now. Pretty soon, you'll be receiving a letter in the mail (how old school) and probably an email, or maybe a facebook friend invitation, or maybe there will be letters in the sky, but the point is, you'll find out one way or another who exactly your roommate is. After that, your roommate is gonna find ya, they're gonna getcha getcha getcha... on facebook that is. If they're weird and don't do the facebook thing, you may get a call, as they should receive all of your contact info such as name, address, phone number, etc. NOW LET THE FACEBOOK STALKING COMMENCE!

This will be you... just watch.

There are a few things you need to decide/figure out with your roommate before you arrive at school:

1. Who is bringing a fridge/microwave?
You only need one, so save yourselves some time and money and go halfsies on that ish.
2. What kinds of things do you have in common?
3. What things do you NOT have in common?
Knowing the above two can help you foresee any arising conflict. Best roommate advice: BE PROACTIVE and quell conflicts before they happen by being open and honest with each other. It's sounds obvious, but it's easier said than done.

Once You Get There
As soon as you arrive and meet your roommate, you may want to establish some boundaries within the room. Who get's which bed, closet, and desk? Are you going to each have a side of the room, or keep the space communal? Do they mind if Pookie, your giant stuffed panda, is pointing at them while they're sleeping? This is where you might discuss your weird sleeping habits or that you prefer to sleep with all the lights on and the TV blaring (I hope this isn't you, for your roomie's sake).

Meet Pookie.

For some, meeting new people can be scary, especially if you know you're going to be living with that person for the next nine months. 
Upon arrival you will receive a roommate contract from your RA. TAKE THIS CONTRACT SERIOUSLY. It's a great way to establish some ground rules without feeling like you're being over bearing or uptight. Another thing to keep in mind while you're making agreements is to (again) BE HONEST. If lights and noise bother you, say so. Most people don't mind putting in headphones or just using their desk lamp to study if you're trying to sleep, so make things easier on yourself, and your roommate, by being honest about what bothers you and what doesn't.

Things you should make a policy for:

1. Significant others- even if you don't have a boyfriend/girlfriend/beneficial friend upon arrival at Wooster, you may end up running into this situation later in the year. Don't get yourself or your roommate "sexiled" because you didn't establish a policy. What is allowed to happen in the room? Is it okay for you to ask each other to have the room to themselves for a night? By establishing a policy now, you can avoid conflicts later on.

2. Mess- Some of you are clean. Some of you are not. Some of you would be okay with not ever seeing the floor, while others of you organize your sock drawer by length, color, and thickness. Be honest about how messy you are, because your roommate WILL find out before too long. If you are a neat freak and are placed with someone who is rather messy, picking sides to the room and establishing individual spaces could help. Freshman year I found that if my space was clean, I could usually care less what the other side of the room looked like. Decide who is going to take out the trash when, and who is responsible for vacuuming (if you're a no-little-things-on-the-floor type of person, that is). You may also have to dust every once in a while if either of you has allergies, so keep that in mind as well. TIP: The cleaner you keep your room during the year, the easier it will be to clean when you move out.

3. Lights/noise/bedtime policies- You may want to establish how you're going to let each other know that the other is going to sleep so that they don't bring their elephant home to surprise and find you awkwardly laying there sleeping... or not sleeping because the elephant just woke you up. Anyway, sometimes shooting your roomie a quick text to let them know to come in quietly is helpful. You should also say whether lights/noise bothers you when you're sleeping, that way when one of you comes in late they know if they can turn on the light or practice playing the sitar while the other is asleep.

4. Social habits- What do want the social environment of your room to be? Is it a hangout, or a sanctuary? What is allowed to happen in the room in terms of friends? One of you may be a social-go-getter type, while the other may be a study-on-Friday-nights kind of person, so it's important to establish some social rules for the room.

Things to Remember
1. Your roommate does NOT have to be your best friend-
I was besties with my roomie from freshman year, but just remember that because you're roommates doesn't mean you have to be close, just peacefully coexist.

2. You may not end up with the perfect person-
Residence life does a great job of matching up roommates most of the time. However, sometimes things just can't and don't work out. By the end of my freshman year only 3 of the rooms on our hall that were originally established stayed the same, but everyone still ended up happy. Our hall was also not typical. Switches are possible, but Res Life will encourage you to try to work things out before they will let you move rooms. Attempt to solve problems before resorting to a move, and use your RA to help you with issues if need be. That's what they're there for!

If you're generally courteous, you're much less likely to get on each others nerves and the living situation will be much more pleasant for everyone :) What does this mean? Don't leave your things lying in common areas. If you spill something, clean it up. If you come in when the door was shut, keep it shut. Don't touch or use your roomie's things without asking first. These things may seem obvious, but to some people, it's not, and that's typically where conflict stems from as small annoyances build.

In all, I believe that having a roommate is a wonderful thing, and can be quite enjoyable. Sometimes it's nice to have someone around when you're feeling like you're lonely or disconnected from the rest of campus. Occasionally it's nice even to have someone to borrow clothes from, too. Who knows? You might even end up finding your best friend!

I hope you all find out who you're rooming with soon, and happy Facebook stalking!


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