Published: Aug. 29, 2013

Make the best of your freshman year—starting at the residence halls

Between working and playing hard, freshman year can be one of the most memorable years of your life—so make your room a place you can call home and create a relationship with your roommate so you’re happy to come home to his or her smiling face.

5. Keep communication lines open. Make sure to keep communication lines open so both of you can address conflicts early. After all, if you let problems build up and it turns into a huge fight, who gets to slam the door?

4. Respect privacy and property. Make sure you know the rules of borrowing or sharing because what might seem clear to you may not be to others. Take this example, you buy a printer for your room, but soon it seems everyone is asking to print to it – make sure you talk about replacement of the ink cartridges or buying paper – otherwise you will be the print shop for your floor or hall, which can be very expensive.

3. Be friendly, without expecting a best friend. Whether you’ve really hit it off or have gone your separate ways, always be courteous to your roommate. Even if right now you don’t see yourself hanging out beyond the room, have an open mind—things can change. If your relationship really does stop at being roommates, that’s perfectly fine too. Just try to keep your room a comfortable place for both of you to live together.

2. Be considerate of personal habits and choices. Going to bed super early or staying up all night, studying like crazy or never opening a book, making sure the room is spotless or making spots all over the carpet—some people’s habits and choices may drive other people up the wall. By being considerate of each other’s lifestyles and compromising at times, living together for another semester and a half will be much easier.

1. Don't make assumptions. While we like to think we were all brought up the same way, the fact is we weren't and yet you can learn about your differences and make them work for you. So what do you do?  Ask questions like “I noticed your reaction and wonder what’s going on for you” or “It seems we have different expectations – would you share with me your expectations?” If you seek to understand your roommate first, it’s more likely you’ll avoid issues escalating into bigger ones.