Roommate guidelines: Dos and Don'ts to consider when cohabitating

By JESSE WU | August 31, 2019

Fall is just around the corner, and that means returning to campus and living with other people. Let’s face it: Accommodating others is markedly harder than being by yourself. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts to help you navigate your social inadequacies! 

DO

1. Have the cleanest area. This will ensure your roommates never hate you for contaminating their living space with your week-old FFC box. 

2. Be more accommodating when they’re sick. It’s direct patient experience for all you pre-meds! Stick that on your resume. 

3. Go to the programming the RAs make for you. There’s usually free food involved, and everyone loves free food. You get to meet people you would have never met. 

4. Establish rules. Have an agreement on general bedtimes, noise levels and alcohol use beforehand. It’s much easier for them to respect your wishes if you are transparent from the start.

5. Collect all the free merch together. Career fairs and promotional events usually hand out free junk. While some of this you can throw away immediately (like the pop sockets and cheap plastic water bottles), some you can keep to engage in shenanigans. The Hat Tower is a personal favorite. By the end of the year, my roommate and I had amassed over 10 hats, and wearing all at once was an eight out of 10 on the fun scale.

6. Respect their alone time. They barely get any with you around all the time.

7. Take care of them if they are acutely impaired. Blood flows thicker than vodka.

8. Get a vacuum. The floor can get real nasty, and your roommate will thank you.

9. Engage in shenanigans. You’ll bond and make lifelong memories over the various rule-bending, attention-seeking and potentially unsafe behaviors around the dorms. 

10. Sear your steaks outside at the AMR I BBQ pits. Unless you want your smoke alarm going off and waking up everyone in the vicinity.

11. Learn how to cook. It’s one of the most important life skills, and you’ll stand out from the crowd.

12. Encourage them to write for The News-Letter. It’s one of the most awesomest campus organizations you’ll ever be a part of! My favorite section is Your Weekend. It has the greatest editor!

DON’T

1. Smother them with generosity. Especially if they don’t know you, they might find it strange and overbearing. 

2. Touch their things without asking. It’s pretty obvious, but respect your roommate’s belongings no matter how fun that bouncy ball looks. 

3. Be the last one there for orientation. Or else you’re stuck with the worse side of the room for the rest of the year. 

4. Eat the last slice of pizza. Many campus events and club meetings will order way too much Pizza Boli’s. You or your roommate will likely attend one of these functions or be present coincidentally after the conclusion, resulting in extra pizza in your hands. Just remember that sharing is caring. 

5. Burn things in the dorms. Or burn things inside in general. Or burn things outside. Just don’t burn things. 

6. Judge. If your roommate is different in an unexpected way, learn to appreciate them rather than antagonize them. Diversity is key to success in a team-based world, and it’s what makes each of us interesting. 

7. Antagonize their parents. Or else you’ll be that bad influence that’s always around their child. 

8. Take the last of the toilet paper without changing it. After a long day at school and lab and sports and work and clubs, the last place your overachieving roommate will want to be is on the toilet without a wipe.

9. Bottle up your issues. Just ask them to use headphones. Or to tell you next time. Or to get their own shampoo.

10. Be weird about it. Just say hi. Otherwise everyone feels uncomfortable.

11. Abuse the air conditioning. Just because it is 95 degrees outside doesn’t mean it needs to be “frosty” in here.

12. Sweat it. Having a roommate may seem daunting at first, but living in close proximity with other people means making friends is super easy. I hope you all have a wonderful year! 

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