People tend to have one of two distinct attitudes towards their freshman roommates: either, a) “Yeah, I like my roommate” or b) something along the lines of “I have a sneaking suspicion he/she keeps a voodoo doll of me under his/her bed.” Obviously, something is wrong with the latter attitude, but don’t dismiss the complications that could arise from the former. Living with someone is a very sensitive and often awkward thing — if it weren’t, then there wouldn’t be so many damn TV shows about it — and being good roomies takes more than mutually liking each other.
I happen to have the ideal relationship with my roommate. She likes to be out a lot, I like to be in a lot, and she hasn’t found the voodoo doll under my bed yet. In fact, our roommate experience is going so well that we are already considering rooming together next year. Not everyone can have the perfect roommate, but making an effort to be considerate to your living partner while respecting your own needs is essential to enjoying your year. Sure, there are a lot of expectations that are laid out on that yellow piece of paper, but there’s more in the “Hey, we are living together” conversation than what’s included in the Roommate Contract. I know that the yellow slip of paper is strategically hidden in the bottom of your recycling bin under to-go boxes from the Ratty and receipts from Spiritus, but here are aspects of the roommate experience that you simply can’t address in those “Yes,” “No,” and “Ask” boxes:
- Use of the mini fridge: You and your roommate should discuss what portion of the fridge is set aside for alcohol — you don’t want to make your roommate uncomfortable when they are trying to finagle their leftover Jo’s between your two handles of Svedka.
- Parties: If you are having a party in your room, please do your roommate a favor and invite them.
- Getting comfortable with each other’s bodies: Eventually, one of you will be rushing to some class and changing in the middle of the room and there is going to be some form of a nip-slip. Embrace the nakedness, because no one wants to change within the confines of their tiny closet.
- Don’t steal anything major without checking in: This means furniture, signs, and other various items that are private or university property. Maybe your roommate will be psyched to have acquired an exit sign from Keeney, but especially when the law is involved, you shouldn’t get your roomie into shit. (This goes without saying, but don’t steal your roommates shit either.)
- Vomiting: If you vom in the room, it is between you and your roommate to clean it up. However, if you crawl a few feet and make it to the hallway, it becomes Facilities’ problem — although, I do recommend that you be a good humanitarian and invest in a puke bucket and give our poor friends over at Facilities a much-needed break.
Most importantly, be cool. If your roommate gets locked out, be a gentleman or gentlewoman and turn your bootie around to let them in the room. There is an easy way to stand up for yourself and say “let’s not forget our key AGAIN” while having a friendly sense of humor about it. Also, if you get sexiled every now and then, take it like a champ.
Get good at having a roommate now, because chances are that this is a sneak-peek of what is to come at least four years down the line!