This is a little something I wrote my last year of college, to warn incoming freshmen about the hardships of being a roommate. I’m sure there are somethings that I have not yet experienced as a roommate. So please do comment and share some of your horror stories!
How to be a Good Roommate
Published: The Houstonian: New Student Orientation
When you finally arrive at your dorm, apartment, or house (lucky), at Sam Houston State University, most likely you will encounter the common beast: the roommate.
Once that front door shuts, you become imprisoned so to speak; shackled to your new prison wife. If can be a beautiful thing.
Jumping into a roomateship can be a miserable part of your life, but don’t get me wrong, there are ways to make it easier. The only way for it to work is to know the key to being a good roommate, no matter what planet the other party flew in from. Cohabiting one space is a union. Congratulations freshman, you are now married.
The horror stories of the roommates from hell are very real. My first roommate and I immediately clicked and we communicate to this day. The next few souls had the slightest idea on common roommate courtesy.
As a freshman, I knew it would be the best year of my life. My parents finally released me on academic bail. Living in a dorm was going to be the best experience in my life. For the most part, I was right. This is a rare phenomenon that occurs, however, it is very possible.
For most of you, enduring a bad roommate is simply in the cards for you. It is unavoidable, and you better prep your shanks and over the shoulder mirrors. For others, you may be the bad roommate. I thank my former roommates for teaching me what I am about to share with you all.
For one to understand what it takes to be an effective roommate, you must first speak with the person you are moving with beforehand about your likes and dislikes.
Of my five years in college (yes five, you’ll probably stay that long as well), I have found that it is nearly impossible to mention everything that bothers you in a living situation. Why? Because most the time, you don’t know you don’t like something until it happens to you. Specifically, establish whether or not the house will share food. I advise you to under no circumstances give people you don’t know full access to your corner of the fridge. This may sound selfish, but keeping it real is bound to go wrong when you reach financial status “I love Ramen noodles and crackers.”
Ladies, divas, men do not snatch your roommate’s hair products. Do not use the entire box of Always under the cabinet. Feminine products are not cheap so hands off. Do not run the battery dead on the expensive hairs clippers. In most cases, please just ask if you need help. If someone wants to help you, they will do so.
In order to be a good roommate, you need to realize that you are living with others who are your roommates, not your maids. Your mommy and daddy are not around so I need you to be an adult and pick up after yourself.
Second, you must respect one another’s space. By that I mean you must be aware that just because your roommates live next to you, does not give you permission to raid your neighbor’s closet. No you may not let your friends from back home sleep in your roommate’s room when they aren’t there.
Let your roommates know if you are going to have someone over. Unfamiliar silhouettes may be subject to a frying pan to the back of the head. College is a time where you may meet your future husband or wife. Relationships happen and sex happens. When it does, let your roommate know that it’s about to go down so they don’t have to suffer ear trauma; more importantly, invest in noise cancelling headphones.
If you want a dog, cat, parrot, snake, for the love of all that is good and holy, take care of it. An animal is like a child, treat it as such. When you were a kid and happened to destroy something in the grocery store, the parent coughs up the dough. Guess what? If your dog chews up a shoe, laptop charger, headphones, or defecates the house into oblivion, you are responsible for paying for it.
Wash your pet and keep him/her in your room. It is not a household pet, it is yours. Failure to comply with pet responsibilities can result in fines, or eviction. One of my roommates has been fined for, but not limited to, the following:
1. Smothering her dog’s poo into the floor and leaving it to turn into molded carpet.
2. Leaving the dog in its kennel so long it chewed through the plastics and carpet. Don’t get fined behind your pet. Ultimately, if you don’t have time for a pet, you need to give him/her up. I know that’s your “baby”, but you’re being selfish.
Granted, some roommates become friends and this is where roommate guidelines turn into what I like to call guide side winder—lines. It gets tricky. With friendship comes further responsibility and a higher demand for respecting one another.
If you know there is a different dynamic about your household, “dormhold”, or what have you, you need to cherish that. Once friendship strikes, it is easy to feel that you and your roommate must be attached at the hip. Spending time away from your roommate/friend is healthy, and will assist you in not ripping the other’s head off.
No one really likes talking about their feelings, but since you are essentially married to your roommate, communication is a necessity. If issues remain bottled up, petty issues will turn into world war three. The habits of your roommates are most likely strum at your last nerve one when friendship attacks.
Under no circumstances will you write a note. Notes are childish, passive aggressive, and flat out cowardly. You probably see your roommate every day. Push your ego to the side and talk to your peer. Tell them this:
“Derpina, I would appreciate if we could come to common grounds about the noise levels at night. I have trouble studying.” Or “ Derp, I know you like to cook, but you gotta clean up man. It looks bad.”
“Derpina, you’re disgusting and obnoxious. I hate you!” or “Derp, you’re a douche. I hate you.”
Spitting out insults is ineffective and figurative shots will be fired.
If you do get stuck in a dorm and you can’t talk to your roommate without snatching weave or blackening their eye, no worries, you have an RA, or Resident Advisor. They are there for support because they too, have suffered roommates. Apartments near campus typically understand the roommate struggles as well. Reach out to them and see what you get.
Learning how to be a good roommate equates learning how to be a good husband or wife. Unless you score a one bedroom cell apartment and manage to not let people crash on your couch, you cannot escape roommates. Bad roommates are EVERY where, but so are the good ones!
Do not fret, this will be a learning experience. You may not get it right off the bat because again, being a roommate is a learning experience, but just remember, only you can prevent forest fires.
Thank you guys for reading, hopefully you enjoyed. Don’t for get to show and spread love! Feel free to share your roommate horror and/heaven stories.
Feel free to reach out with suggestions, tips, and/or love!