One of the more daunting aspects of survival at a residential school is dealing with your roommate. Not that it's particularly difficult, but it often looms over the impending school year. We want to make sure you're armed with the tools and techniques to effectively communicate and get along with your roommate.
The prelims: getting to know your roommate.
You should always break the ice--it's hard, sometimes, but after you do, you'll be glad you did!
Start with some easy questions like:
What's your family background?
What are some of the activities you did during high school?
What are some of your hobbies?
What is your favorite subject in school?
When you first get in touch with your roommate, introduce yourself and share a little about yourself (try using some of the questions above for starters). Ask some questions and find out what you have in common.
As time goes on, you and your roommate will figure each other out.
Yes, you will eventually learn what your roommate does and doesn't like, when he or she goes to bed and gets up in the morning, how loud he or she is when getting ready to go to class, how many guests he or she likes to have and how often, and so on.
It helps if you can think about how your react to things, so you can tell your roommate what to expect or watch for.
If you're upset by something, you'll probably do __________.
You can be cheered up by __________.
Please just leave you alone when __________.
You get tense and nervous when __________.
You get annoyed when __________.
Any other ways you can help define yourself will only make it easier on you and your roommate.
You don't have to be best friends with your roommate.
Although it's obviously best to be on good terms with your roommate, you don't need to be together all the time and be best friends; often, roommates aren't best friends, but that's okay. As long as you both know how the other wants to be treated and respects that, your success at living together will be greatly increased.
It's important to be tolerant of your roommate. You'll meet people at the MSSM from many backgrounds, including different races, religions, and sexual orientations. It is extremely important for you to be open-minded and honest when discussing and dealing with issues, especially with your roommate.
Ask questions, be open
Try to set aside stereotypes
Listen to your roommate!
It's pretty likely that you'll have at least one conflict with your roommate, in all honesty. The magnitude of the conflict will vary, but here are some ideas to help you in any situation:
Address the problem or issue immediately!
Listen to your roommate's views
Don't wait for your roommate to say something about what's bothering you
Negotiate, be flexible.
Bring your RA or the Residential director into the discussion if you can't resolve the problem