Living with Roommates

Jake’s Story

Living with a roommate (or roommates) can be interesting, especially if it is your first time living with someone else! The good news is that there are a ton of ways to make your experience amazing, and here are a few ways to go about doing just that.

I’m Jake Meiskin, a 3/5 Engineering Management major from Freehold, New Jersey, and here’s a couple things I did to make my time with my roommate enjoyable for both of us. I was in Davis Hall with a single roommate as a freshman, and I made sure to talk to him prior to move-in day. Constantly connecting with your roommate allows you to have a great relationship within the room, and you make a great friend while doing it! Whether you play a lot of FIFA or enjoy talking about rap music, your roommate should also be your friend, and you should try to find something in common.

Setting ground rules for the room should be something discussed when you first get together with your roommate, so you make sure everything is clear. If you want the room to be quiet at a certain time, or you have food you don’t want to share, make that clear so there’s no misunderstandings. If you want to share then talk to your roommate(s) about that too, because usually sharing goes both ways as long as it isn’t something serious.

If you feel like exploring Hoboken or the City, invite them! If you met some people on campus, introduce your roommate! Being friends with your roommate is a great piece of enjoying your time at Stevens, and I’m sure they’re as nervous as you are about coming to a new school and meeting new people, so just say hello!

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Carly’s Story

I’m Carly Palicz, a 3/4+1 Computer Science Major from Brookfield, Connecticut. Coming into Stevens, I had some basic expectations for living with roommates based on sharing a room with my sister as a kid, but otherwise felt pretty unprepared coming into orientation. I read plenty of articles and tips, and I’m sure you have too, that generally all included these standard (but still important) takeaways:

  1. It’s okay if you and your roommate aren’t perfectly compatible, even if you picked each other. People change, especially in the first year of college, and nobody can be summarized by a quick facebook introduction or roommate matching quiz.
  2. If you respect each other and each other’s property, you’re being a good roommate. Friendship isn’t a requirement, and it’s normal to just be acquaintances! Be open with each other’s needs, form a roommate contract during orientation, and stick to it. It’s always better to ask than to guess if you aren’t sure what your roommate is okay with.
  3. If you have a conflict, know your resources. Talk to your RA, Peer Leaders, Residence Life, Student Life, or the Counseling Services. Small conflict is normal, but you should never feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe in your room, and there are resources here to help!

While common, those tips are still super important to keep in mind. You’d be shocked how much easier it is to coexist and feel respected if you establish guidelines as simple as whether or not your roommate’s guests can sit on your bed. That being said, here’s some tips that I didn’t as often encounter that I’ve learned in my two years living with roommates:

  1. Understand that boundaries and routines change, and clarify these changes with your roommates. You might be fine with having a roommate’s friends over nearly every day, and then one day find yourself incredibly frustrated at a lack of alone time. Communicate this! Don’t expect your roommate to just know how you feel, especially if it’s unprecedented.
  2. Try to find common ground, even if it’s small. My roommates and I weren’t perfect and disagreed about keeping the room clean now and then, but we were also always able to sit down and watch a movie together, which helped create a nice balance. Something as simple as asking if they want anything before placing a takeout order is a great way to bond, best of friends or not.

Remember that your roommate(s) are just as nervous and inexperienced with sharing a living space as you, and that patience is key. You might just get a best friend out of your roommate, but regardless, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and how to be more understanding and better approach compromise, and grow a lot as a person. Freshman year brings a lot of changes in a short span of time and having a roommate to navigate them with makes the whole journey a bit easier and more exciting!

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