The excitement builds as students plan to go to college. All the applications are completed, deposits paid, classes selected and decorations for their first place purchased. Then it hits! How will I survive living with a roommate? Whether you know the roommate or are both complete strangers, some challenges lay ahead. Fortunately, with a bit of planning and thought, you can avoid some pitfalls and start things off on the right foot. Here are my favorite top 10 action plan items:
1. Get to know more about your roommate before move-in day.
Have a conversation on the phone or by Zoom or meet up (if you live close enough). Texting and emailing aren't personal enough for a conversation with someone you will be spending a LOT of time with.
2. If your roommate will be a bestie from home, lay some ground rules.
Even though you are great friends, give each other space to form new friendships. That's what college is all about. Too often, one roommate will form new friendships, and the other roommate will get hurt by not being included. Have a long discussion before leaving for college. Give each other space to make new friends and schedule time to be together. Nurture the old and the new friendships.
3. So many students come to college having had their own room and/or bathroom at home.
Think about what that looks like to share a sink or a toilet with someone (oh my!). One has white noise or a fan when sleeping; the other can't sleep under those conditions. One stays up late, and the other goes to bed early. One is a rule-follower, and the other is not. One is a total mess, and the other likes things neat and tidy. The list goes on and on. Think these things through and make an action plan with your roommate. Agree with who is responsible for what and when. And… it is not too much to print it out, and each of you sign it.