For incoming freshman, getting housing and roommate information ranks right up there with post-high-school graduation break-ups as the “hottest summer news.” When you’re preparing to live in a space that’s most likely the size of a walk-in closet, it’s understandable that you want to know who will be in it with you.
Even students who choose friends as their roommates often have challenges spending so much time in such close quarters, so it’s important not to be intimidated by living with someone you don’t know. To calm the nerves and lower that intimidation factor, try these four tips to prepare to meet your new roommate:
1. Break the Ice...Online
It’s no secret that as soon as you discover your roommate’s name, you’ll instantly Google them and check out their Facebook page, Twitter account, etc. That’s natural, but keep in mind that many people are very different in person—don’t form preconceived notions that could jade you before you even meet. Reach out to your roommate online to say “hi” and be friendly. It’s usually helpful to exchange information on when you’re moving in and other logistics. This initial virtual introduction will help make the in-person meeting more comfortable.
2. Don’t expect to be BFFs
As mentioned earlier, even roommates entering college as friends have difficulty spending so much time together. You can expect to be friends with your roommate and look forward to getting to know someone new, but plan to establish your own group of friends and hobbies. College is a great time to discover new interests and you’ll appreciate the time apart, helping you get along better when you are sharing space.
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3. Buy Space-Saving Items
No one’s mom is going to be around to clean up after you, so start thinking of ways to stay neat, especially in the common areas (which may just be a slice of carpet down the middle of the room). Shop for space-saving storage and furniture so you can maximize the layout of the room and avoid overspilling onto your roommate.
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4. Compare schedules.
Once you’ve chosen your classes and confirmed your schedule, compare it to your roommate’s. It’s important to establish quiet time for studying or sleeping and loud time for socializing and partying. If you have opposite schedules, you’ll have to compromise, which is better to do sooner than later.