Dear Future Freshman, 

If there is one thing I know best about college, it is roommates. From pre-move-in till final exams my freshman year, I went through five of them. With each roommate I have learned different lessons. 

 1) Talk to your roommates in advance, and avoid making premature judgments! 

As soon as you find out who your roommate is do not be afraid to immediately friend her. Try and get to know her the best you can over facebook chat, but do not do so by stalking her Facebook pictures and making assumptions. Judging her before you meet her can create awkward tensions, and walls that will be hard to knock down. Get to know about her sense of style as you plan how to design your room together. Get to know about her sense of humor as you plan movies to bring with you to school. Get used to talking to her so you will not be shy come move-in day. 

 2) Make roommate agreements. 

Often your RA will force you and your roommate to make a contract. Take this seriously, but approach it in a fun way. Grab some colorful markers and a decorate a poster with constant reminders about what you feel will be acceptable standards to hold such as “give notice before bringing a guy over” or “turn off the overhead lights when one roommate is sleeping.”

 3) Sharing is caring. 

You and your roommate will be sharing your personal space. To get more comfortable with the idea of sharing, be open to sharing your items such as food and small items like pens or your stapler. As you get closer you might even share your clothes. Although, I never recommend sharing boys. Letting your roommate use your items, spawns a friendly air and forms trust.  

 4) Be open. Be honest. Be real. 

It is often easier said than done, but if you have a problem with your roommate let her know. When you have an issue, do not hold onto it because the resentment and anger will only lead to further tensions. Talking to your roommate will be worth saving the unnecessary drama that will most certainly unfold with procrastination. Just say “heyy, do you mind letting me know before your bringing someone back? I was awkwardly in here in my underwear when he came in.” Or try “Heyy, do you mind using a lamp to finish your homework at night. I need to get rest before my 8:30 class.” Be polite, but be open, honest and real as well! 

 5) She is your roommate, not your responsibility. 

Sometimes people think that after living with a person they are responsible for knowing their roommates every whereabouts. Some people also think it is their job to tell their roommate that her lifestyle is too crazy or too boring. You and your roommate should be friends, and care about eachother to some degree. However, it is not your job to judge, criticize, or stalk her. Sometimes, your roommate is going to disappear for a night or two. Text her, but not bombard her, just to make sure she is alive. If she is, then don’t stress and don’t get mad. You may live together, but you can still live as individuals.  

Some of the rules may seem obvious, but nonetheless, they are quite helpful. Going into my freshman year I had no idea what to expect. I lived, then learned from all my experiences. After it was over I figured the only fair thing to do would be to share the knowledge I know now with a few unsuspecting freshman. I hope that you all can find your rooming experience to be pleasurable, or at least tolerable. You don’t have to love each other, but start with a little respect and a positive attitude; that will get you a long way. 

Best, 

Karen