Going from living at home to living in a new town with new people can be challenging and difficult at any stage in life. However, upon entering college, students must choose or meet new roommate(s). Choosing who you want to live with can be a tough decision because it can be an adjustment and can be uncomfortable, and being matched with a roommate you don't know can be unnerving too. If you are searching for a roommmate, ensure that you get to know your potential roomies and discuss the way you, as individuals, already live, and plan to live. Once you figure out who you want to live with, it might seem like the easy part is over, but actually living with that person can pose a greater challenge. University Housing also has a questionnaire you can fill out and they will take care of matching you with someone who has similar answers if you don't want to try to find someone on your own. In addition to adjusting to living with a new person, college freshmen are required to live in the dorms. Lucky for you, Appalachian’s dorms are uniquely quaint and have some of the best views on campus.
That being said, here are some tips to ensure you can make it work with your roommate(s). First, you must be flexible. Go into move-in with a positive, willing attitude! This will help you to be more accepting of whatever is thrown your way, and keep smiling. You should be willing to have an open line of communication with your roommate(s) to ensure that nothing is lost through lack of communication, potentially causing issues down the road. Next, keep your cool in all situations. For example, it can be frustrating when living with someone and they move something that you need, you cannot find it, and you are pinched for time. Instead of getting worked up and upset, keep your cool and ask that person where that item might be, and find it together. It is important to always treat your roommate(s) with the same amount of respect and kindness that you’d want from them. I know everyone’s parents always said to live by “the golden rule”: do to others as you wish them to do to for you. This rule truly sticks when living with roommates, and is something that should be considered in all decisions around your dorm or apartment.
Thirdly, establish some ground rules upon move-in. Ground rules can alleviate stress in situations and ensure that everyone is on the same page about what can and cannot occur. Ensure that your ground rules are mutually created and agreed upon, as well as followed. For example, my roommates and I have agreed that we need to ask each other before one of us has a visitor in the apartment. For us, we know that we will not have unexpected visitors, and that is something that we all know we can rely on. Next, get to know your roommate's schedule. If you know that your roommate has an 8 a.m. class on Wednesdays, ensure that you are respectful of their sleep schedule both Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. This goes both ways – if you know that you have to get up at 8 a.m. and your roommate does not, make sure to be respectful of your sleeping roommate. After all, we need all the sleep we can get as college students!
Lastly, always take the high road. If you are upset about something that your roommate did, address it, but don’t stoop down to their level if they’re being hysterical. It’s important to let things roll off your back, and be the person that you are instead of letting others bring you down. In stressful situations, try to remain just and objective instead of being emotional and saying things you don’t mean. Jointly living with anyone can be really difficult, but with these tips, you are already well on your way to having a thriving and happy living environment. Appalachian provides many great resources to prepare students for their first roommate, work through issues,and even resources to get a new living situation, if necessary. Resident Assistants are also a great resource in times of conflict, misunderstanding, or just general questions/advice.