As Orientation Season begins, we here at the Ol’ Free Press have some top-notch advice for living with a roommate during your first year at Boston University.
Open up communication. I know people who are still best friends with their freshman year roommates, and I know people who will change seats in the dining hall to avoid making eye contact with theirs. While you don’t have to hit it off, the two (or three or four) of you should at least square away guest policies, sleep schedules and the like, lest you spend all semester quietly upsetting each other.
Your roommates are going to have habits that seem strange to you — this is inevitable, and entirely normal. We have all had a roommate who doesn’t seem to leave their bed, or who eats a strange combination of snack food. My freshman year, my roommate loved to eat American cheese, Pringles, and peanut butter sandwiches. You read that right.
If you live in a suite with a bathroom: holding out to see how high the mountain of tissues in the bathroom garbage can get before someone acts on it is NOT an effective way to keep your bathroom clean. Just clean it — I promise, you’ll thank me.
The key to dealing with roommate quirks is remaining open and honest. Being passive-aggressive with roommates or anyone in general will get you nowhere! You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, as they say.
Communication is paramount. Small issues can turn into huge problems if you let them fester without addressing them.
If there is a small issue with your roommate, don’t make it a bigger deal than it needs to be. I’m not saying you should avoid the problem altogether or be passive-aggressive, just don’t be over-dramatic about a small thing, like someone taking too long in the bathroom. Everything will be fine.
No matter how close you are with your roommates, you need to set boundaries. It can be uncomfortable telling someone you consider a close friend you need time to be alone and not have friends in the room, or they need to turn off their desk lamp so you can sleep. But by setting basic ground rules from the start, you can avoid some awkward fights that don’t need to happen.
Even if you and your roommate are on totally different schedules, it’s important to maintain a good relationship with open communication! Honor birthdays and holidays with little notes or gifts. Leave messages on a white board. Make it a friendly space and life will be SO much happier and less passive-aggressive.
There you have it! The key to a great year with your roommate is open, honest, and frequent communication. Although it may seem scary, living with a roommate can be one of the most rewarding parts of your college experience.