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The do’s and don’ts of college roommates

By GILLIAN LELCHUK | November 6, 2014

Unless you’re one of the few with a single in the AMRs, all of us freshmen are stuck with a roommate, or at least a suitemate or two. And while some of us might have been lucky (like myself, for example; my roommate is lovely), many freshmen have to deal with horribly impolite roommates. Or maybe you are the awful roommate? Then this is the article for you, a comprehensive list based on real-life experiences of several frustrated freshmen, who will remain anonymous for their own safety.

It’s 8 a.m. and you have class at 9 a.m., but you know your roommate still has a few more hours to sleep.

Do get ready as quietly as you can. A few closing drawers and jingling keys are alright as long as you’re respectful of your roommate’s slumber.

Don’t slam the door, the drawers, the closet or anything else you can slam. Don’t use the microwave. Don’t play your guitar. Yes, all these things have happened to real people.

It’s 2 a.m. on a Friday night (Saturday morning?) and you’re coming home drunk.

Do come home. You’re bound to wake them up if they’re asleep, and you’ll probably annoy them if they’re awake, but that’s better than spending the night God knows where, so they’ll understand. Just make sure that you apologize in the morning.

Don’t do that every weekend. Be respectful of your roommate. If they want to come with you, then fine, go for it, but if they want to stay in, let them. And don’t expect them to take care of you every weekend.

You’re in a dorm that has a communal bathroom. It needs to be cleaned.

Do establish with your roommate and/or suitemate(s) who will clean the bathroom and how often it will be done.

Don’t expect someone else to clean it all the time. And on the other end of the spectrum, don’t create a “chore chart” without the consent of those involved. If your suite doesn’t want you to manage their lives, participating in your cleaning schedule will only make them bitter and aggressive.

It’s the middle of the night on a school night. Your alarm goes off for no apparent reason.

Do wake up and turn it off, obviously.

Don’t let it ring and ring and ring until your roommate has to shout your name to get you to turn it off. And don’t set that alarm in the first place. Why do you need to be woken up at three in the morning? What purpose could that serve?

It’s a Friday (or Saturday) night, and you’ve got a girl (or boy) that you want to bring home.

Do text your roommate with a heads up, and have a backup plan in case they aren’t looking to get sexiled this evening.

Don’t expect them to flee to your hallmate’s room so that you can have a good night. And if they do, don’t expect them to be happy with sexile every weekend.

These are just some of the worst roommate offenses, but of course there are still the things that should be obvious, like having manners and personal hygiene.

Do have those, too, and maybe your roommate will be pleasant and maybe you too will actually begin to enjoy each other’s company. And if something arises that isn’t included on this list, feel free to apply common sense and general etiquette to your situation. It’s just like kindergarten: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Odds are, if you wouldn’t want your roommate to do the thing, you should probably not do that thing either.


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