For many freshman students, living in a dorm is a new experience. It is a unique, and frankly odd situation: you are dropped into a room with someone you barely know and are expected to live with them for a year. Adjusting to a roommate can be difficult and taxing at times. So, here are a few do's and don'ts on how to "survive and thrive" in your new living situation:
Do: Try to find a roommate with similar habits.
Are you messy? A neat freak? Do you stay up late and sleep in the next morning? Or are you an early bird? Do you study in your room? These are all important questions that need to be answered. Learning and sharing your habits with your potential roommate helps you both see if you are compatible.
Mississippi College uses a system called StarRez, which has a function that finds out your living preferences and matches you with other potential roommates with similar habits. StarRez shows your compatibility in a percentage, 100% being the highest. You can add personal information in the biography section, and message other incoming students about rooming together.
While StarRez is not the only way to choose a roommate, it is a useful tool that can help you pick the best roommate for you.
Don't: Allow the small things to get to you.
Everyone has pet peeves. Whether its as small as leaving the bathroom light on or as big as eating all the food in the fridge, everyone has that little thing that bothers them.
The key to having a happy relationship with your roommate is letting go of those small things that irk you. For one, your roommate doesn't really know you, especially at the beginning of the semester. So, you can't expect him or her to know exactly what you like or dislike when it comes to the dorm. The best advice for you is to be considerate of your roommate and what might bother them. No matter how big or small.
Do: Voice your concerns with your roommate.
A pet peeve is one thing. But if there is something that continually bothers you, it is important to bring it to your roommate's attention. Now, you have to be careful about how you explain your complaint with your roommate. Remember: you still have to room with them afterwards.
For example, it is perfectly reasonable for you to talk to your roommate about eating all the food that you bought for yourself. But making a big fuss and being short with them will only make it awkward going forward. Be polite, even when you are bringing up something that upsets you personally.
Don't: Be selfish.
We're all in college. Most of us are already "ballin' on a budget." It makes it easier on both roommates if they are able to share food or other necessities. Being selfish not only makes it awkward, but it damages your relationship with that person.
Obviously, there are boundaries, but letting your roommate borrow some laundry pods is not going to hurt anything. Sharing creates a friendlier environment in the dorm, and grows both people closer together.
But, if you are the type of person that does not like to share certain items, the StarRez system can match you with others who will not want to share too.
The Bottom Line
In reality, you most likely won't be spending a bunch of time in your dorm. This is not to say that you shouldn't try to get a compatible roommate; you should. Just don't think that you are going to be stuck with that person and be forced to hang out with them all the time.
Despite living with another person, the freedom you have in college allows you to choose how much time you spend with your roommate, and in your dorm in general. Regardless of how much time you spend with your roommate, you should always be respectful and kind toward them. When dealing with roommates, it is best to follow the what Luke 6:32 says: "Do to others as you would have them do to you."