Not everyone is lucky enough to get a roommate with similar preferences and traits. Even if you have a lot in common with your roommate, you still need to clarify your stand on certain things. Remember, your roommate is going to be sharing your space, which means you have to get along regardless of your differences. Hopefully, your roommate will welcome the chance to discuss some issues and share his or her own opinions about your new life as co-habitants of the same dorm room.
Discussing living conditions and your personal preferences with a total stranger can be disconcerting, but you have to have “the talk” with your roommate as soon as possible before you become too busy to do it. In theory, this is easy. You just have to sit down with your roommate for a few minutes to lay some ground rules. But the thing is, you don’t want to start off on the wrong foot, which means you need to consider which topics to bring up and which ones to avoid.
Which Items are for Sharing
After you’ve introduced yourself and you have nothing to do but look around to do an inventory of what you have and don’t have in your dorm room, it’s time to talk to your roommate about sharing. You can open the discussion on other topics after you’ve delineated which items are communal.
The easiest way to start on the wrong foot is by using an item that belongs to your roommate without asking permission. But using someone else’s stuff may be unavoidable in the long run. A typical dorm room is too small for two television sets, two mini-refs and two microwave ovens. If you brought your television with you, offer to
Rules for Entertaining Visitors
Every residence hall has visiting hours and some halls allow entry to rooms, as long as the residents permit visitors. Also, some of the first friends you will make in college will be people from the same dormitory, which means they might come over every once in a while. Therefore, you and your roommate should discuss this delicate subject as soon as possible.
Talking about visitors in a general way can help you ease into the topic of letting boyfriends or girlfriends sleep over every once in a while. You don’t know yet if your roommate is seeing someone, so wait for him or her to bring it up when you steer the conversation in this direction.
Use your best judgment. If your new roommate seems like the sociable, open-minded type, you can openly discuss some of the more risqué topics like using discreet signs to let the other know that the room is being used or setting up schedules for private sleepovers.
Pitch In for a Bulletin Board
The back of your door can be a good place to leave messages for your new roommate, even if you both have cell phones. To make it the official bulletin board for your dorm room, you and your roommate can pitch in to have a bulletin board installed. It can be a white board just large enough to accommodate a photocopy of your daily schedule and your roommate’s.