5 Rules To Surviving College With A Roommate

One of the hardest hurdles you’ll have to cross when coming to college is living with a roommate.

Whether you’ve shared rooms with your siblings before or not, sharing a room with someone you don’t know in a new environment is always going to be tricky.

My first roommate and I got along great for a while until things got awkward and uncomfortable. We got along, until we didn’t, which put a damper on my experience.

I’m not really a roommate person. I like having my own space and being able to make my own decisions. When having a roommate, a lot of the decisions made are joint decisions, and not all of those decisions will make both of you happy.

Living in a dorm with a roommate is a major part of your college experience if it’s what you choose, so your best bet is to make it as positive and drama free as possible.

Whether you live in the same room as your roommates or in a suite with your own rooms, here are five rules to surviving the year with a roommate.

Rule #1

Odds are, your roommate is not going to be your best friend. As much as that would be amazing, you aren’t going to click with everyone, so don’t force something that isn’t there.

Often, trying to force something will only make things uncomfortable. You don’t want to try and turn yourself into someone that you aren’t.

You both will have your own friends, and that’s completely okay. If it all works out, you’ll have a friend in your roommate as well.

Rule #2

Create a concrete set of rules between you and your roommate at the beginning of the year.

Work out what makes you uncomfortable at the very beginning to avoid as much confusion as possible.

Sit down together with pen and paper a write out your room rules.

If you both decide not to have other people in the room, write it down. If you both decide that the room will stay clean at all times, write it down.

Whatever rules that you come up with, that you both agree on, write it down and hang it up on your door.

If there are rules that you can’t agree on, do your best to find a quick compromise that works for both parties.

Speak your mind and communicate. The last thing you want is to give in on something and then let it stew. You will only hold resentment towards your roommate and that is the last thing you want.

If you decide that the rules need to be relooked at, later on, there’s no harm in having a sit-down and reevaluating them.

Rule #3

Your room should be no drama central.

Throughout the year your room will be your safe haven. Your place to escape and wind down.

The dorm room should be a drama and negative vibes free.

Don’t use your room as a way to get out all of your frustrations. If you are upset with your roommate, or anyone for that matter, sit them down somewhere that isn’t your room.

The last thing you want to do is create negative space or make your roommate feel awkward/uncomfortable in their own safe space.

Rule #4

Post up your schedules.

You both should have an idea of what the other person schedule is like.

If you know that your roommate has class from 8 am till noon, you know that they will be gone early and probably will want a nap when they come back from class.

You’ll also know that they probably won’t want you to be loud or bring people back late the nights before they have to be up early.

One of the hardest things to get used to is not having your own privacy in a dorm room. It will be a big relief for you both to find ways to be courteous of each other’s schedules.

The last thing you want is for your roommate to loudly come into the room with friends when you’re exhausted and trying to sleep.

Rule #5

Communicate with each other.

Don’t feel afraid to speak your mind with your roommate as long as you are being kind and respectful.

Communicate what bugs you and what you would like to see change.

If you plan on having people over, communicate that to your roommate and be respectful if they tell you that they wouldn’t appreciate it then.

You have to remember that your roommate is going through most of the same struggles as you. Sometimes you might be having a rough day and being around people won’t be what you want. So be respectful if it’s the same for them.

Don’t be a pushover when it comes to communication. There should be a push and pull from both ends, but as long as there is communication between both parties, you should find yourself in a positive atmosphere.


Looking back, these are five rules that I wish I had followed with my previous roommates. I found myself to be quite the pushover in order to avoid conflict, which only tainted my own experience.


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