The age-old question: Will I get along with my roommate?
Answer: To be determined.
My roommate/best friend/life saver and I have lived together for four years now. So, with her assistance and input, I have collected tips on how to have a successful and promising living situation. All of these may not be applicable for everyone (but they should at least be good for a laugh):
1. Find someone who is willing to compromise and has the same aesthetic as you.
Your room, whether or not you’re sharing, along with the common room (it’s coming, freshmen, it’s coming) is your new home, your haven, and you don’t want it to look like a cave (not that it really could, considering CNU Housing is so unbelievable) … That being said, don’t go crazy and copy everything you see on Pinterest or Pottery Barn or Martha Stewart’s magazine, either. Yes, this tip typically applies to girls more than guys — guys, you have your own ideas of decorating (from what I’ve seen it involves giant flags and “Pulp Fiction” posters, but that just may be my brother). Regardless, make the space your own for both of you. This can be done by dividing up the space, picking a common theme or color, or, if you both have the same apathy for decorating, have all basic/minimal decorations. You were going for minimalism, right?
2. Have a television.
Yes, do your homework. Yes, go out and see people. But have a television for roommate bonding time or just as a relaxer before you go to bed. It just wouldn’t be a fully complete day if Micaela and I didn’t watch some History Channel documentary before sleep.
3. For an ideal living situation, live with someone who has relatively the same style of social life (but not necessarily the same social group) as you.*
This can be a tough one, especially with freshmen who may not even know their roommate, and because you’re both adjusting to a new lifestyle. But if things get bad and you truly feel as though you cannot live together any more, CNU does what it can to adjust your rooming situation accordingly. That being said, do not just throw in the towel the one time your roommate comes back a little too late and wakes you up three hours before your first class. If you both have a similar social life (or lack thereof, aka, us during senior year) then your living situation can be a breeze. *Not for everyone, but if you want your roommate to be more than just a roommate, more like a close confidant, there will be a strain on the relationship if one of you goes out clubbing until 4:30 a.m. and comes back with glitter showering your carpet while the other puts the kettle on at 7 p.m. and knits half a scarf while watching the latest episode of “The Following.”
4. Get off campus/out of your room as much as possible.
This does not mean go home (see no. 5)! But see what else the area has to offer. Some of my best memories from college have happened off campus, from spending the day at MacArthur Mall to going to Yorktown Beach as soon as the weather gets warm. There really is plenty to do in this area, and CNU frequently has activities on campus as well as off (example: English classes attending a Shakespeare production).
5. Do not go home every weekend.
Your college experiences and opportunities will pass you by, and you will not develop relationships with others if you go home every weekend rather than adapt. But do go home every now and then, your mom will thank you!
6. For everyone’s sanity, do not put your boyfriend/girlfriend’s needs ahead of your roommate’s (within reason).
REMEMBER: You are constantly living with your roommate. He or she could eat all of your cereal and finish off the milk and not tell you if you have blatantly ignored their requests. Come on guys, this is self-explanatory.
7. Continuing with no. 6: Don’t be impossible.
Remember, you and your roommate are coming from two different backgrounds, and that you all need a little give and take. Establish boundaries and rules immediately. IMMEDIATELY.
8. Speak your mind.
If something is bothering you, do not let it bottle up. Chances are, your feelings are justified or could be caused by a simple misunderstanding. Talk to your roommate (keyword talk, not scream) and explain where you are coming from. He or she might be totally unaware that something has upset you and will adjust accordingly.
9. Find out if your roommate has allergies.
Yes, I am aware that it really sucks for Micaela to have to eat her peanut butter and pistachios in her room, and that we can’t have fish sticks in the freezer (not that she likes them, but still …), but all of that would kill me. So ask your roommate, don’t kill her.
10. You are his or her roommate/friend, not his or her parent.
Sure you may get worried if your roommate hasn’t left their bed for five days and is starting to smell, and yes, you should probably say something, but if they’re choosing to play Xbox instead of going to class, it is not your responsibility to chastise them. We are all adults now and are capable of making our own decisions. But remember, if this roommate is far more than a roommate and skips class or never does homework, you can ask if they are OK or give them the little push that they may need. It’s all about balance and being able to read the person you’re living with.