Your roommate is going to be a huge part of your college life whether you plan to try to be besties with yours or ignore them day in and day out (but try not to decide on the latter). Unless you’re dorming with a friend from high school, you’ll probably be rooming with whatever stranger was paired with you, usually according to preferences you chose in a survey. Whether you’re excited or nervous (or both) about move-in day when you finally get to meet said stranger, there are some things you definitely need to make sure you do beforehand.
1. Email them to say ‘hi.’
This actually isn’t as weird as you might think it is, even if you aren’t usually the type to be bold and reach out to someone. It shows that you’re friendly and open to getting to know them, and honestly it’s nice for everyone to at least know that they might actually get along with their roommate. It doesn’t have to be a longwinded email (unless you want it to be); you can just introduce yourself as their roommate, ask how their summer has been going so far, and say that you can’t wait to meet them. Trying to make contact ahead of time will also make you both feel more comfortable around each other on day one, because at least by then you’ll both know a little more about each other.
2. Ask their likes and dislikes.
When you get to the room, you’re going to have to fill out roommate contracts. This is basically your co-habitation constitution and you SHOULD take it seriously! This is sort of an ‘ice breaker’ for the two of you to say what things get on your last nerve so that you can both try to avoid annoying the hell out of each other. Asking this ahead of time can prepare you for what’s to come. One of their dislikes might come as a surprise to you and you might not know how to react to it. You won’t always agree on everything with your roommate but at least this way you’ll have a few days or a few weeks to think about the situation before move-in day.
My roommate for sophomore year was a girl I met freshman year in one of my classes and we got closer as roommates. I had a really bad experience freshman year with my roommates leaving the window wide open all the time even when it was brick city outside (and MY bed was next to the window!!!), but luckily my roommate had a similar experience and we could both agree on that dislike. This is also a great example of how getting to know each other’s likes and dislikes can draw you closer together!
3. Figure out who gets which half of the room.
Settle this ahead of time so that regardless of who arrives to the room first, you already know which side is yours and you can just go to it and begin unpacking worry-free that your roommate will suddenly bust in with an awkward, horrified look on her face because you took the side she wanted. Also be forward about what you would like. If you really want the bed near the window but don’t say anything, don’t hold a grudge if your roommate takes it. If you both end up wanting the same side of the room, you have time to figure it out in a civil manner that won’t cause anyone to get butthurt.
If you’re tripled (like I was for a semester my freshman year!) you might have a little extra figuring out to do…Some triples have three beds but only two desks, two dressers, and two closets, so you’ll definitely need to work out who’s sharing what with whom. Hint: you definitely DON’T want to save this conversation for move-in day! My freshman year, I had the type of room I just described and I realized that it was actually a lot more difficult to share the space than I had anticipated, especially since not all of the things I’m telling you about were discussed beforehand (whoops). If you want me to do a future post on surviving a triple, definitely let me know in the comments!
4. Find out approximately what time they’ll begin moving their things into the room.
This is so that you avoid arriving at the same time as them. I know, that sounds terrible but let me explain! I usually try to avoid arriving at the same time as my roommate so that we can each have our space when moving our lives into the room. The room WILL be small and everyone WILL have a considerable amount of stuff to move into the room, so the more breathing room you and your families have to do that, the less stressed everyone will be and the easier it will be for you to get done quicker. You don’t want anyone getting in your way, and likewise, no one wants you trampling over them and their items either. I find it much easier to arrive before my roommate so I get all of my things settled. Then, when my roommate and her parents come in, I give them the space they need. If my roommate got there before I did, I’d want her to do the same for me, so it’s only fair. Of course, you can always offer to help your roommate move in (that’s always really nice) but if you aren’t needed, stay out of the way.
If move-in day kinda makes you nervous (it’s okay if it does) check out my post on tips to make move-in day easier!
5. Find out if the two of you will share any items.
If you’re both willing to share some items like a tv or a mini fridge, then it can be pretty easy to come up with a plan for sharing. Keep in mind that although some people are ready and willing to split items, there are also some people who aren’t so cool with doing that and that’s okay. If you personally aren’t up for sharing, then you just need to politely say that you’d rather have your own item. Likewise, if that’s how your roommate feels, you should respect that. Some items that are totally shareable include mini fridges (a 3.0 cubic foot one is pretty good), a tv, a full-sized mirror, and if your school allows it, a microwave. You might also want to discuss if the two of you will share cooking items such as pots and pans if you’ll be cooking in the communal kitchen.
I don’t suggest splitting the payment on anything big you want to share because then there’s always going to be the question of who should take it home at the end of the year. You might want to keep the tv at your house since you paid for half of it, but your roommate might also think the same thing. Pick an item and bring it if you guys want to go that way. Also, if you promise to bring something for the room, try to follow through on it because your roommate will be counting on it.
So I kinda suck at closings (because I always want to keep talking!) but I really hope you find these tips useful. Even small gestures like simply emailing to say ‘hi’ can honestly have a big impact on your relationship with your roommate.
What are some other things you should do before you meet your roomie?