Making the Most of Your Roommate Experience
As the time approaches to head off to college, you’re probably not scared about moving away from home, being independent and starting a new life. This is all fun stuff.
The thing that scares students the most is having to suddenly share your personal space and your privacy with a complete stranger.
Don’t be afraid — having a roommate can be very fun and, with a little bit of luck, you will also find a good friend. A lot of TV shows teach this lesson: Ted and Marshall from “How I Met Your Mother” were roommates in college, and Nick and Schmidt from “New Girl” were roommates as well. If the TV says it, it must be true.
I was lucky, too. I met the girl who was going to be my roommate while preparing the documents needed to study abroad at Angelo State University. Actually we didn’t request to be matched as roommates, but ASU’s Housing and Residential Programs asks a lot of questions about your habits and preferences as you apply for a room in one of the campus residence halls. I guess we were the only two students in the whole school who liked the room temperature around 78 degrees, so they put us together.
Having a roommate can be fun. Your roommate can also be the first person you meet on campus, so it is important to find something to bond over right away. One way to do that is sharing hard or funny moments from your life.
I still remember the first dinner my roommate and I had on campus. We didn’t have meal plans at that time, and we thought that eating in the cafeteria would be too expensive for our budgets. So we bought bread and ham, laid a big towel on the floor in between our beds and had a nice picnic sitting on the floor of the room.
Trying to save money became a bond as we shared many things to cut cost. For example, we bought together many things for our room, such as a broom, laundry detergent, hand soap, tissue and toilet paper. We shopped together and smelled every single soap or detergent trying to find one we both liked. We also bought snacks and water bottles together. This way, we could buy those large economy packages without worrying that fresh groceries would go bad.
Sharing things and doing things with your roommate can not only help you bond, it also provides useful advantages. For example, we would do laundry together, sharing loads of darks, lights and colored clothes so we were able to wash bigger loads and avoid wasting water and energy. Another big advantage of doing laundry together was that if I didn’t have time to wash some clothes and I was running out of T-shirts, she would take care of it and I would do the same for her the following week.
We found that syncing our schedules was another way we had to live together happily. We would tell each other in advance at what time we had to get ready for something, when we were going to shower or at what time we would be back in the room. This way, we were able to make small adjustments to our routines to avoid being late for things and blaming it on each other. Everybody knows how much time a girl can spend in front of the mirror.
We also used to do simple things together that we both liked. For example, we both love sunbathing. So after a long and stressful week spent in class and in the library, we would take a break from studying and just sit in the sun, enjoying its warmth and sharing anecdotes from the week. We called it “our half an hour of sun” and I really miss it.