Roommate survival guide

Briana Bailey, Staff Editor

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The switch from high school to college is a stressful time; the anxiety of living in close quarters with another person only increases the stress levels. I have heard countless “bad roommate” stories. In an effort to cease such tales, there are some simple tips that one can follow.

Before I begin however you might ask yourself “why am I taking advice from a measly high school junior, she has not personally had any of these experiences?” Well to start off with, I have shared a room for most of my life; trust me I get it—it’s hard to live in such a small area without at least a few disputes. Additionally, as a middle child I learned form early on that it is beneficial to learn from others’ mistakes. As such, there is much to be told regarding having a pleasant experience with your roommate.

First off, communication is key. As is true in any sort of relationship, you need to set your boundaries from the beginning so as to not have disagreements later. For example, make it clear how late guests are allowed to stay in the room, how late the lights can be on for studying, if it’s okay to play music. For all you know some of your habits may immensely bother out of your roommate and she is just too timid to speak up and consequently creating unnecessary tension between the two of you.

To continue on the topic of communication, remember that your roommate will care for you, or at the very least be interested in your whereabouts. Make sure you have a class schedule available for her viewing from the very start. Also, inform her when you go out other places too, make sure she knows at least minor details; what time to what time, where, how to contact you. A dry erase board on your door is a great way to make this information available.

Additionally, many disputes start when things are left in the “gray” area. Carefully outline things that annoy or bother you. Specifically, according to, define what clean is. To some, clean just means moving junk from one place to another less conspicuous area; others however have very precise places for everything. If the two of you can clearly identify what needs to happen to have a clean comfortable living environment than your relationship will not be put under any unnecessary stress.

You guys do not have to be best friends to start off, or ever for that matter. Think of your roommate as a new sibling. I love my sister, but I sure as heck do not go to every social event with her. College is all about making new friends but if you limit yourself to only one new friend your freshman year than I can guarantee your college experience will not be as pleasant as it could be. 

However this does not excuse you two from getting to know each other. According to “You should always break the ice–it’s hard, sometimes, but after you do, you’ll be glad you did!” Start off with easy questions to learn his or her interests; it will help even if it’s at a superficial level.

All in all, there are many things that can be done to alleviate many problems between you and your roommate. Communication seems to be at the root of the majority of all problems so remember to talk with each other. Remember, it will take effort form the both of you, but in the long run it will pay off.