Tips on how to be a better roommate.
At home, you might have your own bedroom with a queen-size bed, your own fridge (or at least your own section of it), a walk-in closet, and lots of space to put all of your things, like your Pokemon card collection that you just won’t get rid of.
However, in a very short time, you’ll be living eight feet apart from someone who you might not have ever met. You’ll be sharing one mini-fridge and one microwave with that person, and you’ll be sharing bathrooms with countless other people.
And, just so we’re clear, there’s no guarantee that the person eight feet away from you will share any of your sensibilities about cleanliness, or alarm policies, or anything really. Joseph Armanini, who’s lived in the dorms for two years, has got plenty to share about his time in the dorms.
The worst part about living in dorms? Waking up at different times. Sure, it sounds small, but just wait until you get that perfect schedule and you get to sleep in until 11 a.m. but your roomie’s alarm goes off at 7 a.m. everyday. Even worse if they don’t get it right away or like to snooze. If you’re hungry, you could probably get down with Armanini’s favorite dorm meal—Ramen and popcorn—provided nobody has already eaten your snacks.
So… how are you supposed to live with all these changes? The stress that comes from living with someone and eating Ramen three times a week? The limited refrigerator space that your roommate decided to take all of with his 12-pack of Natty Light? The fact that basically anyone who can get in to your room can take your food?
Well, we can’t stop your roommate from buying crappy beers—and if we are being honest, you shouldn’t try to either—but we can give you some advice on being a better roommate, and having better experiences while you’re living in the dorms.
“I think it’s tough to transition to college and doubly tough to adjust to the idea of someone you don’t know super well being five feet away from you,” Sam Harris said.
Harris is what you would call a dorm veteran. Come Autumn 2018 semester, she will have lived in dorms for all four of her years at Ohio State, so you could say she knows a thing or two about campus life.
“There’s little privacy and so I think when you’re about to get mad about something you really need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and evaluate if it’s worth getting angry over.”
It might sound cliche, but Harris is right: all those petty things you could get mad about at home—like someone taking the last bit of cereal and putting the box back in the cupboard or your sibling leaving their dirty laundry all over your floor—probably aren’t worth it once you move in with your new roomie. Sometimes, there’s value in seeing the hilarity in all the weird things your roommate does.
“My roommate once came home drunk and drank my last LaCroix,” Harris said. “I don’t remember being upset so much as amused by the whole thing because who the hell drinks a LaCroix, drunk, at 2 a.m.?”
And if you’re thinking, “There’s no way my roommate would ever do that, we’ve been friends since middle school! They’d never take my last soda,” you are wrong. Your dear roomie is gonna come home drunk from Bull’s one night and be ready to devour anything in the fridge because Chad from Omega Phrat Tri was dancing with someone else, and your drinks in the fridge are but pebbles against their wrath. So you’ve gotta be ready for it, and you’ve gotta be ready to drop the petty.
And, ultimately, It’s a lot to take in.
Moving from a queen size bed and your own bedroom to a twin (extra long) bed and half the closet space you had at home can be jarring, especially if you don’t like getting out of your comfort zone. However, there’s a reason that people continue to choose living with their sometimes-gross roommates or in those 6-person rooms where nothing can be kept secret: because having someone to talk to, all the time, no matter the hour, is the absolute best part of living in the dorms. 2 a.m. and you’ve got a final tomorrow? You can bet someone else is up studying and would enjoy the company. Need a break from life? Find the nearest TV and you’ll inevitably find someone either watching The Office for a third time or playing Smash Bros.