College Roommate Tips
If you’ve ever talked to anyone who has lived with a roommate, you can surely recall at least one complaint associated with their roommate situation. Some are lucky enough to have small complaints limited to a dirty dish or two, while others are unfortunate enough to experience roommate situations that had them forced to look for alternate housing options as soon as possible. If you are currently looking for a roommate, you know how important it is to find the right roommate to make your future living arrangements a positive and comfortable one.
Regardless of how well you know someone, you do not know them as a roommate. Even your closest friends could turn out to be the worst roommates if you guys do not have common ground in your living situation. Whether you are looking for a roommate within your already established friend circle or searching among strangers, vetting a new potential roommate can be a stressful task. Keep reading for tips on vetting a new potential roommate, including critical questions to get to know them as a roommate.
What is your schedule like?
Depending on your potential living space, you may be in very close quarters with your roommate. If you expect to have your own bedroom and bathroom, the schedule of your roommate may be less of a worry, but if you are sharing a bedroom and/or bathroom, scheduling can be a quick cause of conflict. For example, if you have a roommate who is a night owl while you are an early morning person, running on two different schedules can cause conflict when one roommate wants peace and quiet while the other goes about their daily routine.
On the other hand, if you are sharing a bathroom and have to get ready at the same time for classes or work, you don’t want to have a roommate hogging the bathroom when you need it to get out the door on time. Discussing your schedules with a potential roommate can help you figure out if you are compatible and avoid conflict from the get-go.
What is your expectation of the living space?
Everyone has different expectations of their living space, and having different expectations from your roommate can also become a source of conflict. For example, one roommate may want the apartment to be the meeting spot for their friend group, meaning multiple people will be over at the drop of a hat. This can mean multiple people in your living space at any given time, contributing to noise and mess levels on any given day. Another roommate may be a homebody and want a private living space where guests are more limited.
If these two different roommates were to live together, one can imagine the type of conflict that would come up daily. Ideally, you want a roommate that has a matching expectation around how their space is going to be treated – will it be more private between roommates or is it going to be the designated hangout space with overlapping friend groups?
What is their cleanliness expectation?
Anyone who has shared close quarters with another person understands that each person has a different understanding of “clean.” Some will not bat an eye over cluttered surfaces and overfilled trash bins, while others have the expectation that cleaning is an essential part of everyone’s routine.
Whatever the case may be for you, it’s an important question to ask a potential roommate. You don’t want a roommate demanding you to clean up after yourself when you don’t see an issue, or on the other hand, you do not want to be constantly picking up after another roommate who is okay with having a messier space.
Are they the type to wash their dishes immediately after using them, or do they think it’s okay to leave them for later in the day or overnight?
What is your worst habit?
No one likes to point out their weak points or bad habits, but they will quickly become clear when you live with someone and see them on a daily basis. Asking a potential roommate what their worst habit is can give you a clear and honest idea of what kind of roommate they can be, and if their “issues” are actual issues to you or something you do not see as much of an issue.
What are your pet peeves?
Similarly, understanding what your potential roommate’s pet peeves can help you paint a clearer picture of whether or not you would get along as roommates. For example, if their pet peeve is someone who leaves dirty dishes and you know that is a habit you have never been able to kick, you likely will not be getting along as roommates.
Vetting potential roommates can be a bit time-consuming, but will be well worth it when you find yourself getting along with your roommates and living comfortably in your new space.
By Aidan Cannon
The new year is upon us! Many people take this time of year to open themselves up to new opportunities and experiences, or try to make a change in their lifestyle to establish healthier habits. If they repeat these new habits consciously over and over again, they will soon become second nature and another part of their normal routine. Of course, creating new routines is easier said than done, as you need to train your mind and body to get used to a new method of performing tasks. While it can be difficult enough for one person, it gets even more complicated when a roommate, or roommates, get thrown into the mix. Trying to create new ways of doing things in an apartment can be difficult if all parties aren’t on the same page. If you want to establish new routines for you and your roommates this year, this is how you do it.
Image from Pixabay
Talk about what you want to improve
The first thing you and your roommates should do is sit down and honestly discuss what you would like to change. These conversations can often be uncomfortable, as you don’t want to single anybody out for certain issues affecting the rest of you, but it’s important to be forthcoming with your concerns if you want any real change to be enacted. Talk about what needs to change and share actionable steps to achieve these goals. If you can’t think of any actionable steps, brainstorm with your roommates to find solutions. As important as it is to speak and share your ideas, it’s equally important to be an active listener. Your roommates may share that you have been doing something that has been bothering them. Instead of taking offense, consider how your actions have been making them feel, and offer solutions to make sure it doesn’t keep happening.
Leave notes to remind yourself and others
Establishing new routines can be difficult! It involves retraining your body and mind to operate differently than it has become accustomed to, and that involves a lot of conscious practice. A great way to remind yourself and others of your new routines is to leave notes around the house. These will ensure that you are adhering to the new decisions you made and prevent you from falling back into bad habits. For example, if you and your roommates have an issue with taking the trash out, you can leave a note on your trash can saying when to take it out. It can say what day of the week to dump it, at what capacity level you should dump it, or whose turn it is to take it out. Likewise, if you all struggle with turning out the lights when you leave, a note can be placed on the front door, reminding everyone to check the lights as they exit the apartment. Small reminders like these will help everyone stick to the new routines and help avoid any unpleasantness that comes from in-person confrontation.
Sometimes, life may get in the way of your new routines. The life of a college student is filled with stress, including schoolwork, jobs, and interpersonal relationships. If it becomes clear that you or your roommates won’t be able to stick to certain parts of your new routines. feel free to adjust them to be more accommodating. Oftentimes, people have a very rigid idea of what success looks like when it comes to forming new habits, where they must stick firm to what they originally laid out and any deviation is tantamount to failure. In reality, this is not the case, and it’s more important that you practice mindfulness and adjust your goals to be more achievable than sticking to your original plan. In essence, it’s better to find a way to continue your routine less strenuously than it is to give it up entirely. For example, if you and your roommates had committed to an every-other-day gym schedule, but that becomes untenable due to other factors, decide on a new less regular schedule so you can all continue to go together.
Plan a reward for yourselves
Since sticking to new routines can be challenging, you should plan a reward for yourself and your roommates if you all can keep to them. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy, but it’s a great feeling knowing you’re being recognized for your efforts. Consider planning a fun activity or night out if all of you commit to the new routine for a set amount of time, like a month. This will help motivate everyone to stick to the routine and encourage them to come up with other ideas in the future.
The new year provides a great opportunity for you and your roommates to establish new routines, but sticking with them is another matter entirely. Luckily, with smart planning and open communication, you can turn your new routines into lifelong habits.
For many students, the end of the fall semester means the winter holidays are quickly approaching. While this may be a time of stress with presents to buy, cards to send, and projects and exams to complete, it may also be a time of fun things to do, especially with your roommate. There are so many traditions you can continue or start, so here are a few to get you in a festive spirit.
Photo via Pexels
Decorate your living space
As with any other season or holiday, decorating your living space for the winter holidays is one big way to get into the holiday mood and lift your atmosphere. This may include checking out local thrift stores for inexpensive décor items or even working with your roommate to make your own decorations. This is also a great season for natural inspiration such as a holiday tree. You may even start a tradition of buying a Christmas ornament that reminds you of each other.
One of the prettiest sights to see during the holidays are houses decorated with brightly colored lights and blowup decorations. Some families go all-out so visitors can even park and walk up to their yards and walk through the lights. Make it a tradition to check out some of these with your roommate and drive around with each other to look at them.
A wise man once said, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear.” One way to do this is to go caroling through your dorm room complex, your apartment complex, or even your neighborhood with your roommate. Practice a few songs so you can perform a few on rotation for each family around you. It does not matter if either of you have a good voice or not. All that matters is that you have fun and are spreading holiday cheer to your neighbors.
Learn something new
There are various holidays that take place at the end of the year. Of course, Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanza are the most popular and the most widely known. However, Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains around the world and in the United States. If your roommate celebrates a different holiday than you do, ask them to teach you about it and show you their family customs. If you and your roommate are celebrating the same holidays, see if you can find someone on campus, either an individual or group, who may be celebrating a holiday you do not. Take the time to go and learn about the holiday and see how it is celebrated. Even families who celebrate the same holidays celebrate them differently from others, so see how others celebrate and how their family is different from yours.
No matter what holidays are celebrated, food is always a huge portion of the celebrations. Have a holiday party with your roommate and neighbors. Have each person bring a dish their celebration is known for. You may even have each person do a small presentation or write-up on what it is, what is in it, and why they chose to bring it with them. Ask if it is a long-time family tradition to make the food and how it ties in with the holiday.
Ugly Christmas sweaters
Ugly Christmas sweaters are one of the most incredible ways to express yourself and your creativity this tie of you. Whether you paint or sew your sweater, you can make your own holiday sweaters that will last through all of your holiday get-togethers or celebrations. Even if you cannot afford to make or buy your sweaters, consider buying matching winter hats or nail polish to enhance your look.
One of the quickest traditions you can do with your roommate is to hold a gift exchange with them. It can be as simple as buying them a gift and giving it to them before or after classes are done for the day. You do not even have to be in contact with each other. Just leave the present in a spot for them to find it and open it. This can be a fun hide-and-seek type of thing if you have time as well. You know each other well enough that you know likes and dislikes.
While this can fit in with crafts and décor, it can be its own fun category. You and your roommate can find craft kits at local craft and general item stores. As time goes by, the cost of each individual cubby. As time goes on, the crafts will be less expensive and hopefully, the ones you can choose from will be quick and easy to complete in one sitting.
As college students, working during the holiday season can be a time of stress as things pile up. As such, having fun things to do with your roommate can put you in a fun and festive mood, helping you to forget your stressful to-do list, at least for a little bit.
Many college students suffer from mental health issues, which can include depression, anxiety, and much more. In the 2020-2021 year alone, more than 60% of college students met the criteria for at least one mental health problem, according to the Healthy Minds Study. If you live with a roommate with mental health issues, you may be wondering how to be of support while not being overbearing or apathetic to their problems.
Here are six tips to help you be of support to a roommate dealing with mental health issues.
1. Recognize the Signs: When you have a roommate with mental health issues, it can be difficult to distinguish what is a bad day versus what is an ongoing problem. We all have days when we feel sad, angry, run-down, and anxious, that’s normal! When these strong feelings and emotions become a regular occurrence and they interfere with how your roommate functions, that is when it can be concerning. As a roommate, you may be wondering what signs to look for to determine how to best help your roommate. Though there are a lot of signs and symptoms to observe, here are a few verbal and emotional signs to make note of:
○ Jokes about self-harm or taking their own life
○ Feeling like no one cares about them
○ Claiming things would be better without them
○ Recurring feelings of sadness or depression
○ Little to no interest in activities
○ Lack of personal care or hygiene
2. Talk to Them: Approaching a roommate who is experiencing mental health issues can take some maneuvering, as you don’t want to overwhelm them or make things worse. Don’t let this fear make you avoid them or keep you from being a supportive roommate because that can really make them feel worse. First, approach them softly. Ask them how things are going in their life, how school is, etc. If they are open to talking, that’s great. If they are more reserved, then it’s a good idea to note that you’ve noticed their mood change, (i.e. that they’re sad, angry, anxious, etc.), and ask if they want to talk about how they’re feeling. Sometimes people think that talking about their problems burdens others, so be sure to tell them that they aren’t burdening you by sharing how they feel. Offering this kind of support can make them feel understood, validated, and cared about.
3. Respect Their Privacy: We all have experienced our fair share of stressors and strong emotions in life. Sometimes it feels good to have people by your side to be of support and distract you from your problems. Other times, it feels better to just have some alone time to meditate, pray, or clear your mind of what problems you may be facing. In the case that your roommate is experiencing mental health issues, there may be times that they want to be alone and have some privacy. Though it is good to be around to make sure they’re ok, it is also important that you respect their privacy when they want to be alone. Just as much as you don’t want to isolate them when they are down, you also don’t want to smother them with support if they need space. If they verbalize this and you don’t have reason to worry about them being harmful to themselves, give them the privacy they deserve and simply reiterate that you are here to support them when they need it.
4. Show Them You Care: Showing up for a roommate who has mental health issues can look different from person to person, it all depends on who they are, what makes their life better, and what means the most to them. Outside of verbalizing your support to your roommate, it can mean a lot to them when you do little things to show them you care. This can be making a meal, like breakfast to get them ready for the day, or dinner to end a rough day. It can also be tidying up the apartment or dorm, leaving them a motivational or kind note before you leave for classes, or asking them if they want to watch a movie or take a walk together. These small acts of kindness can make them feel like they matter, and it can also make them feel loved.
5. Offer to Help Find Mental Health Resources: One significant way you can help support a roommate with mental health issues is by offering to search for mental health resources with them. Sometimes, you can only do so much, and your roommate might need help from a counselor, therapist, etc. to help get them on the right track. Offer to look for different options for them online, whether it’s through campus treatment counseling, virtual therapy services like Better Help, or through their insurance portal to find providers. If they don’t have insurance, there are several different ways to access therapy and mental health services as well.
6. Take Care of Yourself: Supporting a roommate with mental health problems can take a toll on your well-being at points. Throughout your time living together, be sure to take time to care for yourself. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or counselor if you need extra support. Reserve some time to unwind and watch your favorite show or movie, go for a walk, treat yourself to your favorite restaurant, etc. Doing so helps you recharge and prevents you from getting burnt out.
Mental health is a sensitive subject, and it can be hard to deal with a roommate who is dealing with mental health problems of their own. There are several ways you can show support, and these tips can be a good starting point to help you be a supportive roommate during a difficult time.
Each college student’s roommate experience is going to be different. Some students merely view their roommates as someone cohabiting the same living space with them. Other students live with their close friends or become close friends with their roommates as time goes on. If you fit in the latter category, you may find yourself planning to spend time with your roommate outside of the apartment, including going back home together during break.
Whether your roommate is taking you back to their home, or you are taking them to yours, traveling to one’s home is an entirely new experience you may feel unprepared for. Keep reading for what to know about going home with your roommate during break.
Prepare to be a tour guide, or to be guided around
Whether you are taking your roommate back home, or you are going to your roommate’s home, one person is going to experience a new area for the first time. Even if they have visited the area previously for whatever reason, they likely do not have a local’s view and experience of the area.
Whatever your role is in the scenario, be prepared to embrace being a temporary tour guide, or accept whatever plans your roommate has for you in their hometown. Getting to experience one’s home and town through a local’s point of view is a unique experience, and it’s one that you and your roommate should definitely take advantage of.
Of course, you can communicate what type of activities you are interested in doing, but you shouldn’t be shooting down your roommate’s ideas just because they don’t sound like something you would enjoy.
Have a clear idea of your living situation during the break
Before embarking on your travels, make sure you and your roommate understand the plans for how you are enjoying your break. This does not mean you have to have your daily itinerary planned down to the hour, but you should have a general idea of what your plans will entail while away.
First and foremost, your housing accommodations should be established. Are you staying in the roommate’s family home – staying in the guest bedroom or sharing their personal room? Are you staying with their friends or extended family, or sharing a hotel or Airbnb together?
Make sure to discuss this beforehand so no one gets a surprise when you arrive to the destination together. Everyone has their own travel preferences. For example, if one roommate prefers to have their own living space, bedroom and bed included, but the roommate’s family home doesn’t have the space for those accommodations, the roommate may consider looking for their own housing during their stay to enjoy the entire experience more.
Similarly, discuss how you are handling your stay together. Are you expecting to spend all your time together during your stay? Or are you planning to spend some time together and then time apart? For whoever is the one going back home, they may want to spend some extra time with their own family and friends, and you should discuss if it’s something you are expected to do together or time spent on your own so everyone can plan accordingly.
Prepare your living space before leaving
Unless you and your roommate have other roommates who are staying back at your apartment together, you may be leaving your apartment unoccupied for a certain period of time. If it’s only for a weekend or week, this may seem like a non-issue, but if you plan on leaving for months at a time during a longer summer break, there are certain things to keep in mind to prepare your space for being unoccupied.
Make sure you tidy up your space prior to leaving. This means taking out the trash, wiping down surfaces, and cleaning out your fridge and pantry of any perishables. With you and your roommate away, you will not be able to tell when a pest problem first pops up so do your best to keep your living space clean and pest-free while you are away.
Turn off any electronics or unplug devices that will not be of any use while you are away. Double-check that points of entry, from doors and windows, are locked properly. If your windows do not have them already, consider installing window locks that prevent the window from opening past a certain point (intruders won’t be able to fit through a limited space).
Visiting home with your roommate for break is definitely a unique experience, and will bring you closer together. With this information in mind, you can help yourself make the most of the experience – good luck!
By Aidan Cannon
One of the best parts of the college experience is moving out of your childhood home, and settling into dorm life means meeting roommates. Your college will try to room you with people who have similar interests or are studying the same subjects. Roommates can be the first friends you make in college, and it can be really exciting navigating the new experience of higher education together. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. You may be matched with a roommate who you don’t get along with or someone who unintentionally makes your life more difficult with how they choose to live. There is no shortage of roommate horror stories out in the world, but there are also ways to avoid conflict and resolve your issues peacefully. Use this guide to solve your roommate disagreements without resorting to shouting matches.
Sit down and establish rules
The first step to mitigating conflict between multiple parties is open and honest communication. When you first meet your roommate, after all your unpacking is done, you should sit down and have a conversation with them about what expectations are going to be for your shared space. These discussions can include responsibilities like cleaning and trash, but also policies like visitation of friends, family, and significant others. This should also be an opportunity to discuss specific needs or desires the both of you have, such as having a quiet space to work during certain hours and not making noise before a certain time in the morning. Additionally, you should delineate what parts of the dorm belong to whom, so nobody dominates the space and leaves the other with no room to live. Making these decisions now won’t guarantee a dorm free of conflict long term, but hopefully, they will give you and your roommate something to refer back to if problems do arise.
Speak with your resident advisor
If serious problems do appear, consider speaking with your resident advisor. Your RA is there to answer any questions you might have about living on your own for the first time, but can also try to resolve conflict between roommates if need be. They can act as an independent third party to try and more objectively evaluate if anyone is at fault for your roommate problems. You can also discuss with them the rules you and your roommate created so they understand the context of your disagreement. Talking to your RA is a great first step if you feel your roommate is being unsafe in any way, such as excessive drinking, drug use, or any kind of self-harm. However, most of your issues will not be that grave, and you should try to discuss your grievances with your roommate before getting authority figures involved.
Apply for a room change
If you feel that the differences between your roommate and yourself are truly irreconcilable, you can investigate if your university will let you change rooms. This will allow both of you another chance to be matched with people who better suit your respective lifestyles and continue your studies distraction-free. Although your relationship may have broken down with your roommate to the point that it’s hard to be pleasant to one another, they may still help you with the application process, as it’s in their best interest to get the situation sorted out as quickly as possible. Some roommates just aren’t meant to be, and that’s ok! It’s a good learning experience that will inform how you interact with different roommates in the future.
Minimize time spent around them
If all else fails, try your best to keep your distance. This can mean spending the majority of your time on campus, with friends or significant others at their residences, or just around town. While ignoring the problems that you have at your dorm might not seem like the most productive use of your time, taking a break from your roommate drama can help you evaluate next steps and even formulate possible solutions to your problems. Spending the majority of your waking hours outside of your room can also make your predicament more bearable assuming all other solutions fall through. The minimal time you’ll spend around your roommate will reduce the likelihood of any substantial fights breaking out, and the remaining periods will be bookended by both of you sleeping.
You don’t need to be friends with someone for them to be a good roommate. A person might live with one or many other people whom they just inhabit a space with and otherwise leave each other alone to live separate lives. However, sometimes sharing a living space with other people breeds conflict and strife, ultimately pushing them apart to an untenable degree. At that point, it’s time to investigate strategies to make sure the situation doesn’t get out of hand. Using this guide will help you navigate the often confusing interpersonal politics of being a roommate and hopefully mitigate future fights.
Like many students, you are likely getting ready to start college for the first time or head back for another year. Whether it is your first time or your fourth year, you can have a roommate you do not know. Even if you already know your roommate, there is always more to learn about them. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get to know your roommate, both on and off campus!
Communication is crucial, and talking to your roommate can help you get to know your roommate better. Even something as simple as talking about what they did over the summer or what they are planning on doing this weekend can be super informative. You may also choose to write down a few questions you would like to know, like where they grew up or what they do in their free time. Asking these kinds of questions can be done in person when you move in or even before move-in day through phone calls, texts, or social media.
Speaking of social media, you can follow their social media accounts as a way to get to know them. This way, you can see what kinds of things they enjoy doing and you will be able to get different topics for things to talk about when you do meet in person. Look for commonalities in hobbies, music, and other things you enjoy.
Watch TV shows together
One popular thing that most people do is watch TV. Many people have a favorite TV show and this is likely true of you and your roommate. Take turns binge-watching TV shows that you enjoy. Even if you do not like the same show, learning about what you both like and dislike will help you get to know each other better. If you have not seen each other’s favorite shows, watching them will help you learn about each other. You may even decide to start watching a TV show you both have not seen. This will give you something new to explore together and talk about.
Depending on your schedule and budget, you and your roommate can have your own spa day. This could mean going to a spa on the weekend and getting facials and massages. This may also mean setting something up in your apartment or dorm and having a DIY spa day. Do each other’s nails. Go to a mall that has massage kiosks or massage chairs and get a mini massage if you are unable to afford a spa massage. Do facials using things you make from scratch. These will all help you save money while having fun and getting to know each other.
Attend orientation together
If you are both freshmen, arrange so that you are at orientation together, especially if there are multiple orientation sessions. This will help you know someone else in your group and have someone you can explore campus with. Make note of places you want to go and things you want to do together both on and off campus. If orientation requires that you both have to spend the night, room together so you can get a taste of how it will be living together, especially if you have not had a chance to meet up in person before.
Whether you are living in a dorm or an apartment, you have a chance to decorate your space with your roommate. This is a great opportunity to learn about your roommate’s style and likes. Set up a day in the first few weeks of the semester when you and your roommate do crafts and create décor items for your space. Not only is this a fun way to get to know each other, but it is also a great way to learn new skills and save money on expensive décor items. Making things yourself will give you a sense of pride and you will have a memory with your roommate that you can cherish for years to come.
There is nothing better than being able to find out what kinds of things your roommate cares about. This can be done by volunteering together. Take turns picking out causes you love and do something to help make a difference in this area. If your roommate does not have a cause they support or they do not want to volunteer at all, this can also say a lot about them but be gentle and nonjudgmental with them. Be willing to try new things and learn new skills. You may even want to see if your school has a club or organization that is focused on providing students with opportunities to volunteer and get involved. This is helpful if you are unsure where to start or are not as familiar with the community around your school.
Getting to know your roommate as early in the semester as possible can help make the rest of the semester and school year manageable, and luckily, there are a variety of ways to do so.
When you’re getting ready to move in with someone new, you absolutely must communicate with them about what each of you is bringing to the table. After all, you don’t want to end up with multiple of the same devices nor do you want to have none of something you both need. While not everything needs to be coordinated, moving in with someone requires a lot of communication. To start your journey, here are five apartment essentials to split or coordinate with your roommates.
Kitchen utensils are a must when it comes to coordination. Unless one of your roommates follows a strict diet and they do not want to share anything in the kitchen, this is something that needs to be coordinated. Extra forks and spoons don’t hurt too much, but you don’t want to have three blenders on the counter. Split objects like the aforementioned blender, air fryers, pots and pans, and plates and cups! Too many sets can take up a lot of space that you’ll need. While there is a wide range of kitchen sizes, many starter apartments have smaller ones. You still need to have a snack cabinet, right?
Depending on the space you’re in, if you have a common area like a living room, you need to split or coordinate furniture. Think about what it is that you’ll be using and sharing. Usually, these are things like couches, chairs, lamps, side tables, and coffee tables, but there might be other things you or your roommates know you need. Decide who buys what, unless you want to go shopping together. It can be easier to split tasks up so that everyone arrives with something and you’re not sitting on the floor for a couple of weeks! Ensure that the way you split it up comes out to an even price so that no roommate is paying loads more than the other unless you plan on paying them back. Do keep in mind that, if a roommate purchases your couch for the place, if they move out, the couch is theirs! That goes for what you buy as well. You can always choose to leave it behind, but you own it.
While not all decor needs to be run by each other, if you have a clear vision for a shared space, it might be worth talking it over. If you have separate bedrooms, you can each decorate your rooms however you please, so long as you don’t break any renting rules. However, please keep in mind that these shared spaces are shared. Do not force your ideas onto your roommates! Some decor falls into categories that everyone might like: clocks, extra couch cushions, and rugs. Split these among yourselves so that, again, you all contribute equally.
Next is cleaning supplies. When you’re first moving out on your own, you don’t realize how much has always just been in your cabinets. You need to go out and buy all those wipes, toilet bowl cleaner, and more. Not only the cleaning products themselves, but items such as brooms, mops, brushes, and sponges. And do you want to splurge on a vacuum? You might not use these items as often as you do in the kitchen, but they are still necessities to have around the apartment. It is also helpful to coordinate the cleaning tasks and cleaning styles when you’re speaking with your roommates. Do you clean the bathroom once a week while your roommate likes to clean it once a month? Depending on this spectrum, you’ll go through a lot more or less cleaning supplies. If you’re the one who is in charge of cleaning the bathroom often, those materials might reside on your shopping list, while your roommates take care of the kitchen.
Big electronics are things that likely everyone will use and that should be coordinated. Think things like TVs, fans, and printers. You don’t need more than one, especially because you might not even have the space. Consider what big purchases you and your roommates will all need and want to share. There are a lot of devices that might make your lives better. Do you want a humidifier? A fancy coffee maker? Talk this through with your roommates so you can split what you want accordingly. If you both want a printer, you can split the cost. If you’re the only one who wants a coffee maker, then that will be a purchase you make for yourself. On the other hand, maybe your roommate already has one that they can bring! See how important communication is?
There are plenty of things you need to buy to anticipate moving in with some new roommates. Before buying anything, communicate effectively so that you know what you need or do not! That way, you can split and coordinate purchases accordingly.
Most college students that have had to live with roommates during their college years can attest to the fact that at one point or another, their roommates have caused some form of stress. Unfortunately for many college students, the stress can start as early as the search for roommates to fill an apartment. Some college students are lucky enough to find roommates quickly and keep the same roommate situation for the entirety of their college experience, however, many college students can experience several roommate changes in as little as four years.
Finding roommates can be difficult in itself, but if you are a transfer student, you can face even more challenges in your roommate search. If you are a transfer student in need of a roommate, keep reading for roommate tips to keep in mind.
Join student groups for the college you are transferring to
If you are transferring colleges, you likely are moving to an unfamiliar campus and likely will not know many people that can be your potential roommate. While this can limit the number of interactions you have with potential roommates that you would have if you lived in close proximity to the campus, you can still network with current students on the internet.
Look for student groups on Facebook you can join, colleges will have a variety of student-run pages, from ones focused on general news and announcements to ones centered around housing opportunities and roommate postings. Joining these groups can get you connected with potential roommates regardless of your current location.
Network with fellow transfer students
You are not the only transfer student looking for roommates and you should absolutely use any transfer student networking to your advantage when searching for roommates.
If you do end up living with transfer students as roommates, you also have the advantage of a built-in support system as they understand your unique college experience of coming in as a transfer student. This can be especially helpful if you are transferring later in your college experience as you don’t have the benefit of getting the usual welcome experience freshmen get at the beginning of their college experience.
With fellow transfer students, you can help each other explore campus and get used to your new environment together.
Use roommate-matching websites
If you are not getting anywhere with Facebook groups for your college campus, there are websites specifically designed to help college students match up with potential roommates, such as Roomsurf. With Roomsurf, all you need to do is create an account, complete the roommate matching quiz (around 20 questions), and then review your matches for potential roommates.
As a transfer student, websites like Roomsurf can eliminate a lot of the time-consuming legwork that comes with searching for a roommate on your own. While you can scour Facebook groups for potential roommates, you likely aren’t getting to see if you and a potential roommate is compatible via a Facebook post. Roomsurf will take compatibility in mind when matching you up to potential roommates, saving you plenty of time and headaches.
Matches are based on how you and a potential roommate answer questions. You will answer a question and also answer how you wish a roommate would respond to the question. You will apply a weight to the importance of the issue, and match percentages will be based on your personal sensitivity to the question. You can review your match’s answers to the same questions via the “Compare Us” tab to get a clearer picture of your compatibility.
On-campus housing for roommate matchups
If you feel like you are not getting anywhere during your roommate and housing search as a transfer student, consider on-campus housing if it’s an option available to you. On-campus housing, while not desired by some college students, can be extremely helpful to you as a transfer student. Your roommates will more than likely be randomly assigned, but roommate preferences are often taken into consideration when assigning roommates.
On-campus housing can help you feel more at ease as it will be one less thing to worry about, and it can help you get used to your new campus. Dorming for freshmen students is encouraged for a reason – living on campus will have you interacting with the campus community on a regular basis, and will help you settle in as a transfer student.
Transferring colleges can be a daunting task in itself, and finding roommates as a transfer student can be even more challenging for most. With these tips in mind, you can expand your options and help yourself complete your roommate search successfully – good luck!
When you get a new roommate, there is always that introductory period that can get kind of awkward. Getting to know each other, learning about preferences and interests, and gauging their personality doesn’t come without some uncomfortable and awkward moments, which is where icebreakers come in! Icebreakers are simply activities and conversations that you can have with your roommate to help get to know them better without the weirdness of the process feeling like a police interrogation.
If you’re getting a new roommate this summer, here are seven ways to break the ice!
1. Start on Social Media: In a digital age, so many of us make connections on social media before meeting face to face. Meeting in person with a roommate may not be possible for a lot of reasons at first, whether it’s because you live in a different area or have conflicting schedules. In any case, try to get to know your roommate first on social media by following any pages or accounts they may have on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc. Doing so will give you the opportunity to interact with their posts and also give you insight into what their interests are, what activities they like to do, and their personality as a whole.
2. Take a Roommate Compatibility Quiz: Most roommates have a few things in common that help them make the decision to live together. Even though you may already be firm in who you are living with, it doesn’t hurt to take a roommate compatibility quiz to understand your roommate’s schedule, living preferences, and boundaries. Roommate quizzes typically ask questions about bedtimes, smoking and drinking habits, cleanliness, having company over, and more. Having a clear idea of what your roommate is like to live with not only helps break the ice, but also helps facilitate a healthy dynamic between the two of you.
3. Help Each Other Decorate: Move-in day is finally here! You and your roommate are eager to move into your dorm or apartment together, and nothing is more exciting than taking out all of your belongings and making the place your own. Of course, you and your roommate are going to have different bedrooms that you can unpack and organize separately, but a great ice-breaking can simply be the two of you decorating your shared space together. Hanging pictures, putting furniture together, unpacking boxes and storing items, adding lights and plants, etc. can all be activities that can help you both get to know one another and connect on a deeper level.
4. Explore Campus Together: With your apartment or dorm unpacked, decorated, and organized, it’s now time to explore your campus and surrounding city together. Whether the two of you are new to the area or are familiar with the town or city, going out and exploring together is a fun way to get to know each other and break the ice. Whether it’s stopping by campus favorites, going to get coffee, taking public transit downtown to famous landmarks and popular tourist spots, or strolling around the park, taking this time to venture outdoors can bring you two closer together.
5. Make a Playlist for Your Roomie: If you follow your roomie on social media, it is likely that you have gained some knowledge about their favorite genres of music, beloved artists, and their overall music vibe. Making a playlist is an interesting way to bond and break the ice with your roommate, as it shows you not only pay attention to those small details others might pass on, but you also are thoughtful enough to make the effort to do something nice for them. On whatever music service you use, whether it be Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, etc., you can put together a playlist of songs that reminds you of your roommate, songs that you guys have bonded over, or songs that you think they might like based on their preferences.
6. Prepare a Meal for Them: Many people say that cooking is an act of love, and what greater way to show your roommate some love than by preparing a meal for them? As you’ve gotten to know your roommate on social media and in person, there’s a good chance you’ve gathered some information about the type of foods they like. Going off of their preferences, make a meal for them! Sitting down and enjoying a meal together (that you made for them) will definitely make them feel special and help break the ice.
7. Throw a Party Together: After moving in together, there is nothing more fun than having that first official party to commemorate the special occasion. Take the time to sit down and brainstorm with your roommate about a party theme, who you’re going to invite, the type of food and drinks that are going to be available, music, and more. Planning this type of event together will help break the ice and strengthen your connection, and having the chance to let loose and enjoy the fun together will prove that you both are a solid pair!
Though meeting and connecting with a new roommate can be awkward at points, these different icebreakers will help ease those initial feelings and help the two of you become close friends!