College is most likely the first time you're sharing a living space with someone other than your family. That can be a huge deal. The transition from high school to freshman year can be difficult all on its own, and living with someone you're not comfortable with yet can be super weird. It's like summer camp, but to an extreme.
The best way you can make your college roommate experience go smoothly is by setting up some simple, yet critical, ground rules the first week of college. This way, everything will be out in the open so there are (hopefully) no struggles down the road. Here are nine things you should discuss with your roomies right away to ensure your first year is smooth sailing.
1. How Clean You Want The Common Area To Be
Some people are a little messy, while others want everything to be totally spotless. This is why it's so important to talk about your preferences upfront. You guys can definitely compromise on the cleanliness of the space, and even set up an organized cleaning schedule so it's a joint effort and fun bonding time.
2. How Much Noise You Want In The Dorm
Some people don't mind dealing with noise in the dorm, just as long as it's kept at a volume that isn't disturbing other people on the floor. Some people can even sleep with the TV on, while others totally hate it. This is why you need to talk to your roommates about noise levels before someone gets pissed off. You can set up times of the day where noise is acceptable, and specific times when it needs to be quiet.
3. The Lowdown On Having Friends Visit
You'll want to invite your college besties over on a regular basis, and also maybe have your hometown friends visit for a long weekend. You have to discuss what the protocol is on having guests in the dorm. If it's an overnight guest, you definitely want to get permission in advance, but for a friend who's just coming over to watch a movie, it may be best to let your roomies know via text. You need to set up ahead of time how much warning everyone would like.
4. How You Want To Have Roommate Discussions
You're going to disagree on things; it's inevitable. Even best friend roommates have struggles, but in order for little agreements to stay little and get resolved, you need to set up a constructive way to discuss these things before they become toxic. This could be as simple as once-a-month meetings to talk about concerns in the dorm.
5. Sharing Your Food
There are a few things that may be in shareable territory, like some snacks and the TV. You need to set ground rules on what qualifies as something to be shared. You don't want it to get to the point where you have to write your name on everything. Sharing is caring, but only if it's done in a respectful way so everyone is happy. Now, if someone keeps eating entire boxes of your cereal without asking, that's a problem.
6. Study Versus Fun Time
Some people like to study in the library, in a café, or at home. You have to respect how each person likes to learn, so if it happens to be in the dorm, everyone needs to understand when study time is going down, and when it's time to blast the Spotify playlist. If there's a big exam coming up, you can always let your roomies know in advance that you need that time to yourself. Everyone has to be open to compromise.
Some dorms like to have an open-door policy. This way, people can really get to know each other freshmen year. You have to discuss with your roommates ahead of time how you would like to keep your dorm room protected. If you're home and keeping the door unlocked, your roommate should feel safe that all of their things will be secure.
You don't have to set a time for lights out in the dorm. This isn't summer camp for kids. But, you should get a general consensus on when people like to go to bed so you know when to reel it in at night.
9. Bringing Over Dates
You can't help when your roommate wants to bring a date over. Everyone just has to remember it's a shared space. As much as one roommate may want her alone time with her date, the other roommate would love access to her room. As long as you both set up a system and stick to it, then you should be able to compromise and make it work.