Many first year college students are sharing a room with another person for the first time, as well as deliberately establishing their own living space. While intellectually, many understand that they’ll need to find common ground with their new roommates, many are underprepared for the work of negotiating ground rules.
One, now second year college student, Colin, who chose to live with friends from high school for his first year, shares the following advice for new college students.
I’d advise seniors to actually sit down and talk about the differences in lifestyle with their roommates.
Does everyone go to bed at the same time? Are they [the roommate(s)] going to be loud? How messy are they [roommates]?
Having little to no differences in these areas is the key to finding good roommates, not simply getting along well with each other.
Colin learned the hard way that no matter how much one seemingly knows about friends, living together is a whole other situation.
Additionally, on living in residence halls, communities formed from hundreds of 18 year olds newly released from the protective custody of their families, Colin advises:
In terms of surviving the dorms, just being respectful to the other people in your building is the most important thing.
Lastly, as many first year students are also establishing new support networks and making friends, they can unwittingly (or in some cases, consciously) avoid conflict, so will not share when a roommate’s behavior is bothersome.
Yet, as Colin so aptly shares, which only echoes my experience as a Resident Advisor helping first year and new transfer students transition to college, the more conscientiously and candidly a student communicates with new roommates, then everyone can reduce the stress of living together.
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