What to expect from your roommate(s):
You may not be best friends, and that’s OK.
Don’t set up the expectation that you and your roommate(s) will be best friends for life. It’s OK to make lifelong friendships with your college roommates, but it’s also OK just to share a room with them. Respecting each other and respecting each other’s space will help you build a good relationship.
You may get into some disagreements, and that’s OK.
Conflict is normal in any relationship, including the one that you have with your roommate(s). Don’t be afraid of having conversations together if a conflict arises between you and your roommate(s). Read further below on some tips for working out conflicts with your roommate(s)!
You will have different experiences at Carthage College.
You and your roommate are two different people, which means that you two will experience all that college has to offer differently. You may get involved with different activities and make different friends while at Carthage and that’s OK. Having separate interests and spending some time away from each other can support and promote a healthy relationship between you and your roommate(s).
Questions to ask your roommate over the summer:
- Where are you from? What’s your hometown?
- What is your family background?
- What extracurricular activities were you involved in during high school?
- Why did you pick Carthage College for your higher education experience?
- What are you most excited about for college? Anything you’re nervous about?
- What is your intended major and/or minor while you’re here at Carthage?
- Talk about the items you plan on bringing with you (i.e. who is bringing the fridge, microwave, etc.?)
- What are you hoping to get involved in when you arrive to campus?
- What are some of your habits that would be important to know?
- How do you like to spend your free time? What are some of your hobbies?
Tips for talking to your roommate:
Get to know yourself first!
It’s important to know yourself and your habits. Are you a social butterfly? Are you more of a private person? How do you feel about sharing your clothes, food, etc.? Are you flexible? Are you willing to change some of the habits that you have? What values are important to you that you wouldn’t want to part with?
Introduce yourself to your roommate and get to know each other!
Set some boundaries.
- Once you’re moved in, it will be important to establish some ground rules with each other. You can talk about how often you will both clean the room, your views about having guests over, study habits, etc.
- It’s important to be flexible and to have an open mind when having these conversations with your roommate because your views may change as the year progresses.
- Fill out your roommate contract together once you’ve moved in to help each other understand your likes and dislikes when it comes to living in your room.
Talk about your likes and dislikes. This will be helpful when living in tight quarters with one another.
- How do you prefer to study when you’re in your room?
- How important is neatness and cleanliness to you? How often?
- How do you feel about borrowing items from one another?
- How do you feel about members of the opposite sex coming to visit?
- How many hours of sleep do you like to get? What time do you like to go to bed, and when do you like to wake up?
- What are your opinions and thoughts on drinking/drugs/smoking?
Talk about your problems and communicate.
- Avoid gossip and making assumptions.
- Be direct when talking about issues, especially when covering serious subjects.
- Make eye contact.
- Watch body language.
- Use “I statements” instead of accusatory statements.
- When stating a problem or issue, offer a solution as well.
Tips for communicating/conflict resolution:
- Make sure you have enough time to effectively discuss your issue(s) with your roommate. Find a time when the two of you can sit down together.
- Remember that you both have the right to be heard in your discussion.
- Pick a neutral space/location to talk to one another.
- Keep in mind when entering a discussion about a conflict, both parties will need to make a compromise.
- Understand the problem/issue from your perspective, and your roommate’s perspective. That will make coming to a compromise much easier.
- If you have more than one roommate, make sure you don’t team up with one roommate against another. It will be important for all of you to work your issues out together.
- Take into account any cultural traditions that could be adding to the problem. Keep an open mind when learning about these differences as it’s important to keep lines of communication open to keep relationships with your roommate comfortable.
- Be calm and patient when working with your roommate through an issue. If your discussion escalates to an argument, it may be a good ideas to take a break and cool off before coming back together to finish your conversation.
- It may be helpful to take some time to think through your issues before talking through them. Your and your roommate(s) will be able to have a better conversation after having time to reflect on the issue itself.
- Talk about action’s that can change an action, NOT an aspect of personality. Personal attacks make it harder to effectively communicate with one another.
- Set a future date to re-evaluate the situation. That will provide insight as to whether or not further steps are needed.
- If you feel that you need assistance or a third party involved with talking through any issue(s) with your roommate(s), you can request the assistance of your Resident Assistant (RA) to help facilitate a conversation.