Roommates, Student Life

Tips for Living with a Roommate for the First Time

If you’re going off to college for the first time and moving into university housing, in most cases you’ll be put into a room with at least one other student. From our experience, many students go into this situation blindly or ill-informed. This is why we’ve put together a few tips for you to avoid making many of the mistakes first-time students make when moving in with their roommate.

Email your new roommate before you move in. When you first get your roommate assignment, it’s a good idea to email them before you move in. In most cases your school will provide you with their email address. Be sure to introduce yourself in the email and tell them a little bit about yourself. While you should express a little bit about who you are, this is not the time for you to tell them about your “quirks”. Save that discussion for when you both move in because sharing this will most likely scare them. There is such a thing as TMI.

Find your roommate on Facebook. Most people today have a Facebook. You may want to check out your new roomie and friend them. You may get a little more insight into who they are. However, don’t get completely freaked out if you see something there that you may not like or agree with. You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Keep an open mind when you first meet your new roommate. Like we said before, you really can’t judge a book by its cover. Take some time to really get to know your roommate. It’s important that you two (or three) can at least get along.

Don’t expect to be best friends with your roommate. As we may have mentioned in some of our previous posts, it’s important to know that you may not be best friends with your new roommate(s). This is why you shouldn’t go into the situation believing that you will be “BFFs”. Your expectation instead should be able to get along with your roommate.

Establish room rules on the first day you both move in. Many schools will have their students fill these out on the first day you move in. While it may seem stupid, you may want to actually take this seriously. Remember: It is important, from the start, to establish how your room will be used and other expectations you and your roommate may have.

Be sure to communicate with one another. This is the most important part of getting along with your new roommate, but probably the most neglected. You should remember that open and honest communication is the best way to avoiding big blowups between you and your roommate.

While it seems like it will be difficult getting used to a new roommate, it actually isn’t too hard. Just remember to avoid judging a book by its cover, to keep an open mind, to set expectations for how your room will be used early on, and to communicate frequently and openly with your roommate. In these ways you can ensure that you and your roommate will have a smooth and easy transition into living with one another.

Articles we referenced . . .

http://www.collegeparents.org/members/resources/articles/how-help-your-college-student-prepare-living-roommate

http://powertochange.com/students/people/rmatedorm/

http://blog.storagechoice.com/2012/07/23/tips-for-living-with-a-roommate-for-the-first-time/

http://www.hercampus.com/dormlife/how-get-along-your-roommate-all-year

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Roommates, Student Life

What I Do About My Clingy Roommate?

Your roommate seemed cool until you noticed that they started appearing right behind you every time you turn around.  You also started to notice that they invite themselves out with you when you’re going out with your friends.  They’re there when you wake up, when you go to sleep, when you eat, when you study; you’re even half-expecting them to be standing just outside the curtain when you shower!

Scene from the film “The Roommate” directed by Christian Christiansen
Photo from http://www.totalfilm.com

You’re starting to feel creeped out (if you haven’t already been creeped out after that time she somehow ended up in your closet), and you need to do something about it.   But let’s be honest:  How can you tell someone gently that they’re officially creeping you out?

Be sensitive, be kind, and be honest.  The key here is to not say what is exactly on your mind; don’t tell your roommate that she’s creepy and that you think she has dependency issues.  That will only make matters worse.  The other thing you want to avoid is completely ignoring her; don’t just stop talking to her because you think she’s creepy.  This is because 1) there is most likely a reason for why she’s developed a sort of dependency on you, and 2) she has feelings just like you do. While, like we said, it’s not a good idea to tell her you’re creeped out, you definitely want to let her know that what she’s doing is not making you feel comfortable.  Think of the reasons why it doesn’t make you feel comfortable, and explain this to her.  You just have to be cautious when doing this because, like we said, she is most likely doing this for a reason. Be sensitive to that; use statements that focus on the specific actions she does and how that makes you feel rather than focusing on her flaws.

Avoid blaming her and criticizing her for anything.  You don’t want to blame her for why you’re friends don’t seem to want to hang out at your place anymore, or why, for some reason, she widens her eyes when she’s watching you eat your breakfast.  Be sensitive and considerate to her feelings.

Be calm, respectful, and level-headed.  This is not the time to freak out on her for other things she’s done and it’s not the time to completely diss her.  You want to plan out what you are going to say ahead of time and consider her feelings when you say it.  You also want to give her a chance to speak; maybe this way you can get some insight as to why she follows you around.

Overall, no matter what kind of roommate you have, it is always important to talk to them when issues come up.  The best thing you can do is be honest, be respectful, be calm, and be considerate, because you’re roommates: You need your space, but you also need to live together peacefully (for both your sanity).

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Roommates, Student Life

I Hate My Roommate: What To Do When Your Relationship With Your Roommate Goes Wrong

More often than not, you’ll find yourself in a disagreement with your roommate. While not every disagreement will end in a full-blown fight, there may be times when it will.  The only thing you can do is to prepare yourself for those times and to be ready for anything.

For example, say your roommate has been having their significant other over to your place too much.  When you go to talk to them about it, they get defensive and the issue never gets resolved.  Let’s say that after that point it gets very awkward around your place and you end up leaving each other notes, ignoring one another, and/or just not speaking.  What would you have to do?

In every case, you should always try to talk with your roommate again.  Avoid leaving passive aggressive notes for one another (you can see why that might not work on www.passiveaggressivenotes.com) and giving them the silent treatment.  It’s time to act like adults; you’re in college (or maybe out of college, depending on who’s reading this).  Take some time and plan out what you’re going to say to them.  Focus on how their actions make you feel and avoid making it about defects in their personality.

You also want to be sure to talk to them when you are calm and levelheaded; they won’t listen to you if you scream at them.  Be sure to detail your feelings, but also be sure to listen to what they have to say.  No matter what, try hard not to take things too personally or become too defensive; this only makes matters worse.  Instead, try to think logically about what they have to say; this means being able to criticize yourself.  What could you be doing to upset them?

If talking with them doesn’t seem to work and it only seems to make things worse, the only thing you can really do from there is to be civil to one another.  Maintain your consideration and respect for one another.  Being roommates doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be friends, or that you even have to like each other; just as long as you respect one another and are considerate, your relationship (or lack-there-of) can work.

While fighting with your roommate can be traumatic, it happens to a lot of people.  The only thing you can do is prepare yourself for those scenarios when it doesn’t work, and sometimes you do just have to concede that you don’t see eye-to-eye or that you just don’t get along.  Although it stinks when you and your roommate don’t get along, it is better that you both can at least come to an understanding and share mutual respect for one another and your space.

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Roommates, Student Life

Two’s Company & Three’s A Crowd: How to Manage Your Relationship with Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend and Your Roommate

While having your boyfriend or girlfriend around all the time might be great for you, it might not be for your roommate.  Whether you’re living in a dorm or you’re living in an apartment, it doesn’t matter: Sharing space with your roommate and your significant other can get tough to manage.  That’s why we’ve put a list together of all the things you can do to prevent a huge blow up between you, your roommate and your boyfriend/girlfriend.

In an article by Annie Maguire at College Cures, the first thing you want to do is set time boundaries.  This means that you should talk with your roommate about their schedule and when would be the best time for your boyfriend/girlfriend to come over.  You can also work with them to determine a cut-off time (10 pm, 11pm, etc.) for guests, and then stick to your guns.  Once it gets to the cut-off time, your boyfriend/girlfriend needs to go home and so should theirs.

The next thing Maguire suggests is setting spatial boundaries.  This means that you should establish with your roommate where your significant other can spend time in your room/apartment.  This means that you should establish with them (beforehand) where your boyfriend/girlfriend can hang out and what items they can use.

Another rule of thumb when it comes to managing these types of relationships is giving one another space.  This includes giving yourself, your roommate, and your significant other the space they need.  You should be sure that you and your significant other aren’t always hanging out in your room, and that you share time between each other’s places equally.  This way your roommate and their roommate get time alone too.

The most important concerns you should have when it comes to managing your relationship with your roommate and your significant other is to be considerate and to communicate with one another.  You and your significant others’ wants and needs are not superior to your roommate’s and vice versa.  The best way to manage this is to speak with one another frequently and often about what each other needs, wants, and feels about the situation and what each of you can do to make sure everyone is happy.

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We need your help!

We’re currently working on some research in relation to student perceptions of on- vs. off-campus housing and we need your help!  If you are a current student, or even if you have graduated within the last two years, you can help us out by taking our survey!  It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete, so if you have some extra time, we’d really appreciate you taking our survey.  Just click HERE to take the survey and feel free to pass this along to your friends!  This survey is completely anonymous, so that means we can’t trace back answers to you, nor will we publish or share who you are.

If you want a direct link to our survey to post on your Facebook or Twitter, just copy and paste this link onto your profile and this will take anyone who clicks it directly to the survey page:  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGJqMjBHZjIyRGluNDlkbllsUFVQRlE6MQ#gid=0

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Housing Advice, Roommates, Student Life

How to Deal with Roommate Issues

Let’s be honest here:  You and your roommate(s) are never going to see eye to eye on everything.  Whether it is about doing dishes, who’s buying the paper towels, or whether they can have friends over at 12 am on a Tuesday night, things are going to come up that you just won’t agree on.  However, you certainly don’t want to end up in a bickering match or giving each other the silent treatment for the rest of the year.  This is why you need to be prepared before it comes time for you to have a talk.  In an article we read at MSN.com, they gave some tips on how to talk with your roommate when problems arise:

  • Avoid passive aggression.  The sticky note you leave your roommate detailing their wrong doings never goes over well (beware not get yourself on this site!).
  • Emphasize the positive.  Before you talk with your roommate, be sure to make a list of their positive qualities.   This will help to remind you what you like about them, and it will help keep you positive when you talk with them.
  • Consider how you could be contributing to the situation.  Usually issues in a relationship are never black and white.  Maybe your roommate never does the dishes because you never do.  You will want to consider how you could make changes too.
  • Be prepared.  NEVER GO INTO A SITUATION LIKE THIS UNPREPARED.  I repeat:  NEVER GO INTO A SITUATION LIKE THIS UNPREPARED.  This is perhaps the most important item on this list.  If you go into a situation like this with your roommate and you have not thought about what you are going to say beforehand, a myriad of (not-so-good) things can happen.  However, what will most likely happen is one of two things:  1) you won’t actually say what you meant to say, or 2) you won’t say it right and it will cause more friction between you and your roommate.  Be prepared!  Think about what you want to say and how you want to approach the situation.  You’ll also want to consider their possible reactions and how you will approach their responses.  You may even want to write down some notes and practice what you’ll say beforehand.  You don’t have to be afraid to talk with your roommate; you just have to be prepared.
  • Pick a comfortable location and time to talk.  You want to pick a time and place where both you and your roommate will be relaxed.  You may even want to set up a time with your roommate to talk with them.  This will help to prevent any outside influences (work, school, etc.) from affecting the outcome of your talk.
  • Be tactful, even-tempered, and clear.  Be clear about what you want to change, and make sure there are no “grey” areas.  You want to keep a cool head and be strategic about how you say what you need to say.  At least then one of you will be levelheaded.
  • Use “I” statements versus “you” statements.  Be sure to avoid focusing the discussion on what your roommate is doing wrong.  Instead focus on how the situation and their behavior makes you feel.  This way you’ll prevent them from shutting out what you are saying.
  • Don’t wait too long to talk to them.  Talk to them within a reasonable amount of time.  If your roommate had a party while you were away, you don’t want to wait 3 months after the fact.  Talk to them within a couple days of when you return.  This way it will be fresh in both of your minds, and it will prevent any future incidents.
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We’re Looking for Participants!

We’ve got a few research projects up our sleeve, and we need people to participate in our surveys.  If you’re an undergraduate student who has lived in university housing and in off-campus housing, and you’re interested in participating in our study, let us know!  Shoot us an email at founders@jumpoffcampus.com if you’d be interested!

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