We’ve all heard horror stories about college roommates. If you’re randomly matched or are taking a chance with that kid from Econ 201, you could be heading into a nightmare of a situation. But far too often, we are hung up on the fear of something not working out instead of the potential benefits.
That’s why we’ve put together what you need to know to decide whether or not you want a roommate and how to achieve a successful roommate relationship. So, if you’re leaning one way or another, or if you’re simply stuck in your indecisive mind, we’ve got you covered.
Pros and Cons of Having a Roommate
You can’t go wrong with a basic pros and cons list. Let’s start there.
It will save you money to split rent.
And given how much tuition is on the rise and the fact you cannot declare bankruptcy on student loans, this should have you convinced if money could be an issue.
It can jumpstart your social life.
Especially as an incoming freshman or transfer student, roommates help you get to know others. If you’re more shy and introverted, this could be good for you instead of walking up to random people in class. Roommate matching can help you find someone compatible!
It can bring you and a friend closer together.
If you know your preferred roommate, this could be the start of a blossoming friendship that will last forever.
It can help you stay accountable in your academic life.
Having a study buddy could be the difference between failing a class or not. After all, campus living is supposed to be a living learning community. Why not integrate this notion into your apartment living situation?
It will remind you that you’re not alone.
Transitioning into college life is not easy, whether you’re moving across the country or an hour away. Having a roommate helps with homesickness.
If you’re in a dorm room, you gain more than just roommates. It’s full of students right down the hall!
Dividing up house cleaning could lead to major roommate relationship issues.
You may find yourself waking up to passive aggressive notes on your dirty dishes.
Money can still be an issue.
Even though you’re splitting rent, utilities may pose some problems. If you’re the type to wear a sweater before you put on the heater, you might be upset that you’re paying half of the bill.
It’s not a space that’s entirely yours.
If you want to decorate a particular way and your roommate’s style doesn’t match it, you might want to opt for a single dorm room.
The roommate matching process could be a total failure.
It’s not an exact science, people. Instead of a study buddy, you might get a distraction. Going out on the weekends is great and all, but if your roommate wants to hit up the bars on Wednesday nights instead of the library, you might follow their lead and let your grades suffer.
How Do You Find a Roommate?
If you’ve taken a look at the above list and decided that a roommate is suitable for your college experience, here are some options to find one:
- Your university probably has a roommate matching process that helps to pair new students together. This is typically structured around campus housing and dorm life.
- If you found a friend who is a potential roommate, you can likely submit a roommate request to share a dorm room.
- Online student portals are great ways to meet people with similar interests looking for a roommate.
- There may be Facebook groups for incoming freshmen or returning students to find people to live with.
- Find roommates in class. People still walk up to others and introduce themselves, you know. Try it out!
Navigating Roommate Conflict
The best way to avoid issues with your roommates is to set some ground rules early on. Here are some ideas to get started:
Set a food rule.
Are you splitting groceries? Are you planning to label food? Should you each have your own section of the cabinet and refrigerator? This will undoubtedly help out with anyone who gets hangry.
Have a chore wheel or schedule.
If you determine who will do what and when, you will save a ton of time arguing. Remember to consider things that you might always take care of, like your own dishes.
Set quiet hours.
Talk about a schedule that works for everyone. Consider class times, jobs, and when people prefer to party or sleep in.
Never assume bad intentions and take a breath.
The little things really add up when you’re frustrated with a roommate. Sometimes, we tend to take out our anger onto our friends at home. Pause before you lash out at someone and consider if they really deserve it first.
So, are you going all in on the full college experience with a roommate? Or do you think a single dorm room will be just fine? If you hate your decision, there is always next year to give something else a try.