For many of you, living with a roommate will be a new experience when you move into your Residential Commons in a few short weeks. One of our 2016 Orientation Leaders, Daniel Hellrung, a sophomore from Spicewood, TX studying Music Education and Saxophone Performance, is here to share his tips about how to get along with your roommate!
College is a time full of new and exciting experiences, one of which is sharing a room with another person. During your first few weeks here on the Hilltop, I am sure you will hear plenty of stories from other students about their current and past roommates, some of whom have become best friends while others have let a deep-seated disdain grow between them. My goal is to help you avoid the awkward nights and passive aggressive post-it notes.
First of all, communication is essential to becoming well-acquainted with your roommate, as well as solving conflict in a timely and respectful manner. At the beginning of the year, you will be asked to fill out a Roommate Agreement form. Although this is a great place to start, continuing the conversation is where you’ll really get to learn more about him or her. Some roommates hit it off right away and instantly become friends. However, this happens less often than you probably think. If you do not feel an instant connection with your roommate, you are not alone! This is quite common— not all roommate relationships are Instagram-worthy and involve fangirling over Harry Potter and staying up until 2am watching Friends or the Cowboys. However, even if you don’t connect with your roommate initially, I highly recommend taking active steps to get to know them. One of my favorite ways to get to know people is grabbing coffee at one of the many coffee shops near campus or a meal at one of the Dining Commons; there’s just something special in a laugh over a latte that really makes that initial connection.
Another way I’ve found to help build the roommate relationship to invite each other to activities you’re interested in: whether it is the Ultimate Frisbee Team, Voice of the Animals club, First Year Student Homes (FYSH), or even just movie nights in your commons!
Next, I believe the most important part to fostering any relationship with your roommate is setting clear boundaries and voicing your opinions; the only thing worse than finding socks that are not yours on your side of the room is not speaking up early about it and letting it build into more than just a minor annoyance. This, too, is easily avoided by maintaining an open dialogue and will help you get along. Not everyone will be best friends with their roommate, but following these simple tips will sure keep you from hating each other by Thanksgiving.