Tips for Living with Roommates
Some roommates become very good friends, choosing to socialize and study together. Others become friends but spend time outside the room with different social groups. Still others do not become friends but accept each other as roommates and live compatibly together for the year. Remember that you will meet many students other than your roommate. In addition to your hallmates, you will make friends through classes, sports, work and other student activities.
Living together in one room, especially if you have never had a roommate before (or lately), requires work! The type of relationship you develop with your roommate depends in part on your expectations of the relationship, as well as on how effectively you communicate those expectations to your roommate from the very beginning.
As you think about your roommate and how you hope to interact (regardless of how well or little you may know him/her), both of you should consider the following:
- Communicate! This is the most effective tool for living together happily.
- What do each of you expect of your relationship with your roommate?
- What can you and your roommate discuss to prevent potential problems?
- How much of your personal or life experiences are each of you willing to share?
- How do you both intend to discuss habits, values and priorities?
- Could some of your practices or activities be potentially offensive or annoying to the other person?
- How will both of you resolve disagreements?
- How do you act when you are angry, depressed, stressed, or happy? How do you expect your roommate to behave when you are feeling any of these emotions?
- Which of your belongings can and cannot be borrowed?
- When are visitors and/or friends welcome? For how long?
- How neat do you both expect the room to be?
- What study habits will make both of you successful students?
- Be ready to make compromises. You can't have everything your way all the time.
- Always treat your roommate with respect. Think about how you would feel if the roles were reversed.
- Attempt to make contact during the summer to plan the upcoming year.
- Review the Student Code of Conduct and Community Standards.
Once you arrive on campus, check in and start settling in, you will be given a Roommate Agreement. Both you and your roommate are expected to fill the form out together. Your community advisors are there as resources to help you through the agreement if needed. On your Roommate Agreement, you will indicate your preferences regarding sleep, study and social time. As you adjust to life at NU, you may find that these preferences change. Be open with your roommate, communicating your needs; be responsive to your roommate, recognizing that s/he is changing too. Expect the best!
The communication skills you can develop in an effective roommate relationship are among the most valuable skills you will gain at college for your personal and professional life. The happiest of roommates will experience conflict at times. The key to success at those times is for roommates to communicate with each other - with the assistance of a staff member as necessary - about how to reach a resolution that is satisfactory to both roommates.