The Roommate and You, Part 2: Movin’ Time!

20 05 2009 are, you know someone who has been to college. Chances are, they had a roommate at some point. And, chances are, you’ve heard all about that roommate – the horror stories, the off-the-wall moments, and the frustration – and it’s enough to make you worry about you own inevitable rooming situation. Well, fear no more: while getting your first roommate can seem daunting, you can avoid all the drama with a little planning. In part 2 of 3, we will take a look at all the steps to move in successfully and stress-free with your new roomie. Click to read on…

Get in contact. If you followed Part 1, you already have this part down! If not, then take the university-supplied information about your roommate, and give them a call. Introduce yourself and talk for a little while to ease tension quick. If possible, you should try to…

Meet in person. It may seem impossible if you live far away from each other, but in fact, it’s really not. For instance, my roommate lives in Pennsylvania, but we are meeting up at the orientation (scheduled for June). If they live within a few hours, then take a Saturday and go have coffee or hang out. If you’re in a larger setup, like a quad, this becomes much more difficult, but still possible – you could meet them all separately, but you could also try to schedule a date. At the very least, if you still share a room with only one person, try to meet them.

PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. There are many things you two, as a team, need to discuss about the situation of sharing the room before you ever move in. For instance:

  1. Who will be bringing which big items: the T.V., the fridge, and the microwave? Will you share or will both be expected to have one? How will they be shared? If you’re both chipping in on, say, the cost of the fridge, who gets to take it home at the end of the year?
  2. How is the other person decorating the room?
  3. When do they plan to move in? Many colleges have multiple days – it may be best to move in at the same time, as to avoid confusion (who gets what side, or top or bottom bunk).

And then plan some more. See if you can scope out the room online – some college don’t offer any sort of pictures, but you’ll be surprised what you can find through google or youtube searches. Try to get a feel for the dimensions of the room, see how other people set it up, etc. Bring this up with your roommate.

Moving in. To reiterate what I just said, aim to move in at the same time, or close to it. This keeps feelings from getting hurt, and also makes it easier to transition; after you finish unpacking, ask if they want to explore the campus or go get coffee.

The Contract. You’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: Make. A. Contract. Some schools give the students a pre-formatted contract, but even if they don’t it is extremely important for laying ground rules from the very beginning – before the problems can even arise. What should you put on the contract? It will differ from person to person, but there are some points you should always hit, including:

  • Are guests okay? Overnight? Of the opposite sex?
  • What about “sexiling” – or kicking a roommate out so the other can get laid?
  • What will the noise levels be in the room? Are headphones a requirement? What about late-night lights?
  • Cleanliness. Everyone has a different opinion of “clean” – for instance, mine is just being able to see a little bit of floor, while someone else’s may be everything tidy and in its place. This is a big one for roommate issues, so talk it out.
  • Are drinking and smoking allowed in the room? Of course, your college probably dictates this, but let’s face it: a lot of people won’t listen. So set your own rules as well. Be well aware that allowing this might get YOU in trouble as well as your roomie.
  • Other random things: Sharing items? Sharing food? Number of times you’re allowed to hit “snooze?”  Who takes out the trash when? Privacy? The list goes on and on.

Note: If you feel too much like “mom” suggesting a contract, try to make it a mix between serious and funny to dispel uneasiness. Remember, making a contract and adhering to it will make the experience go a lot better – even if you think you and your roommate get along great already. Also, try to keep the list short, but cover everything you need.

All alone! Your parents just left, and now it’s starting to hit you: you’re really on your own. You may feel overwhelmed; it’s natural. But this is why it’s handy to plan ahead to move in with your roommate! See if they want to do something with you, like go out exploring or see that new movie downtown (maybe even invite a few floormates, too!) Look around your room too: think it could use anything? A rug maybe? Suggest a run down to Target together to pick up something you forgot.

Don’t freak. Probably the best advice for any situation – your roommate will do something, at some point, that will set you on edge. Just breathe – and we’ll figure it out in the next section.

Coming soon: The Roommate and You, Part 3 – Did You Really Just Do That?!




One response

12 06 2010

im going off to college at the end of august and I find this very helpful! can’t wait for the next part 🙂

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