This picture of the week is currently a familiar sight in College Station. Many of you, including myself, will be moving in with roommates! Hopefully, you are as excited as I am to begin this fall with your new (or old) friends. I am no stranger to the world of roommates and would like to offer a few tips and advice for those of you that may not have had roommates before (or were not so successful the last time).
A fun bonding experience for the group is often the university ritual of naming your townhouse or condo (or apartment depending). The name selection allows everyone to express their creativity and often their interests to find common ground with one another. Don’t be shy when offering names either! You have to live in that place after all. Think movies, books, bands, anything that interests you and your fellow roomies. If you are experiencing roommate matching this is also a great conversation starter. Decorating your common space will also create potential challenges. Never forget that compromises will HAVE to be made in this situation unless you happen to find your roommate soul mate in terms of décor. It is probably best to find one color you both like and build from there. A visual shopping trip through any store will quickly narrow down everyone’s likes and dislike. The most important rule is to be honest.
Kitchen arrangements should be sorted upon arrival. I have seen many arrangements work but I know of two that are the most efficient. Cabinet division with personal shelves and a common shelf for items such as sugar work well for many roommates. It is a great way to keep all the items you like most from mysteriously disappearing overnight. The second option that works is share everything. Alternate shopping trips and keep a list on the fridge of items you need. Another great idea is to have a marker or chalkboard in the kitchen (or living room) to write little notes and reminders in a house with more than two members.
A healthy, mutual respect for each other’s cultural differences is also extremely important. Keep an open mind to new ideas and opinions, and do not judge your new roommate. Also remember that your schedule is not your roommate’s. They may have exams on your down week so loud parties should be left to agreed dates when both mates approve. Small things should never be allowed to build into a big argument. This will make all of you uncomfortable. Make a pact upon arrival to be honest and open with one another about things. If disagreements do occur, sit down with a neutral third party and air your differences. Having a third person to mediate will help you see another perspective on the situation.
The girl in our photo of the week is going to have a blast making new memories with her roommates if she uses these few tips to guide her on the way to roommate bliss.