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Living with a roommate is a central part of the college experience. Even if you're not best friends, you'll be spending a lot of time with this person for the next 9 or 10 months. There's a lot you can do to smooth out the awkwardness and to help you toward friendship. You never know; your roommate may end up becoming one of your very best friends.
Connect in Advance
Most schools will tell you your room assignment in advance of the start of school. Your roommate's name and contact information will probably be included. It's a good idea to connect with your future roommate before arriving at school for a couple of reasons.
First of all, you can iron out some details. For example, you can figure out who's going to bring what: one of you could bring the mini fridge, while the other brings the TV and microwave. The point is that you wouldn't want to end up both bringing a fridge on moving day (or would you?), so it's best to get organized ahead of time.
Second, you might not want to walk into a living situation with no sense of who the other person is. You can e-mail back and forth or chat on the phone to feel things out and exchange some basic information about each other. That way, it will feel less like you're going to be moving in with a total stranger.
Get to Know Each Other
Relationships take an investment of time if they're going to be successful, so make connecting with your roommate a priority as soon as school starts. Spend some time getting to know each other. The more connected you and your roommate are, the more enjoyable living together can be. Here are some things you could consider doing:
- Eat together – Meals can take away some of the discomfort of talking with someone you don't know well. Chat over lunch and get to know each other.
- Explore – If both of you are freshman, you'll both benefit from a little campus exploration. If you're living with an upperclassman, ask him or her to show you around.
- Find common interests – If there are things you both like doing, do them together. Perhaps you like the same TV show. Watching it together each week may quickly become a can't-miss ritual.
- Study together – You'll probably be doing plenty of studying. Working together can help you form strong study habits and be a good way for you to connect.
Even if you and your roommate don't become close friends, you're going to want to live together in relative peace and harmony. Taking some steps up front toward connecting can be a crucial means to that end. If all goes well, you'll have a comfortable living situation and maybe even a new close friend.