Tips for Living at School

College may be the first time you have ever had to share a room and your personal space.

Since learning to live with others can sometimes be stressful, we encourage you to keep open lines of communication with your roommates and your resident adviser. 

Common Belongings

Discuss in advance which large items you will each bring and what you will share. Televisions and printers are items that you will usually only need one of. Coordinate these things before you move in to avoid showing up with multiple items.

Sleep, Study and Social Habits

Not everyone goes to sleep and wakes up at the same time. Your schedules are going to be different and you need to respect that.

If your roommate needs to study and you have some free time to watch TV or listen to music, there needs to be an understanding of how to handle this. One of you may want to go to a lounge, the library or your friend’s room. Or headphones can be worn to eliminate the problem of noise.

Everyone is going to have friends over at one time or another. Set up some ground rules on the hours that guests are acceptable. Your room is shared and both of you need to be comfortable in it.

Potential Areas for Conflict

  • Cleaning. Some roommates are very neat while others prefer a more relaxed approach to straightening up. Realize that there are differences here and try to come up with a happy medium. One thing that may help is to come up with a cleaning plan, especially if you share a common area or bathroom.
  • Sharing. Disagreements can occur when one roommate assumes an item is a shared good. Discuss what is shared from the start and always err on the side of caution. Tip: Ask for permission if you are unsure.
  • You. Be aware of your own quirks and habits. Even if you and your roommate have been friends before, living together is a new experience. Always be respectful of your roommate and the needs and expectations that he or she has of you. Be flexible. Living with a roommate can at times be trying, but it can also be very rewarding.

How to Handle Conflict

Before there is a problem that needs to be discussed, it may be helpful to work out a plan for dealing with potential conflict. Confront issues as they happen and don’t allow them to build up over time.