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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    How to live with a total stranger

    Photo Illustration by Kyle Wasson/Arizona Summer Wildcat

    By far, one of the most important aspects of settling into college life is figuring out how to share a room with someone else for an entire school year. Some of you may be rooming with someone you already know, but many will be living with strangers they’ve never met. Just like an arranged marriage, with communication and perseverance the two (or three) of you can learn to live in harmony and rise above the chaos of other random-roommate pairings.

    Lay Down Some Ground Rules
    Establish some basic do’s and don’t’s from day one: When and what kind of visitors are allowed, which items can be shared and what the procedure is when one of you has a romantic rendezvous . If you’re in a dorm, your resident assistant will go over these types of things at the beginning of the year in your Roommate Agreement, but if you’re in an apartment, you’ll need to take this type of structure into your own hands.

    Be Flexible
    Expect your roommate to have a far different personality and lifestyle than your own. You may also have different expectations of each other. Some people want to be best friends with their roommates, while others are fine with rarely speaking to theirs. Be ready to compromise on various aspects of your living situation by respecting each others’ needs, instead of expecting them to completely change their habits for your benefit.

    Share Your Feelings
    Being flexible doesn’t mean bending over backwards to avoid confrontation. Instead of letting problems fester in your mind until you find yourself doing passive-aggressive things like hiding their toothpaste in the freezer, talk to your roommate outright about things that are bothering you. It’s amazing what can be solved with civil, reasoned discussion, so save the screaming down the road and have a nice talk with your roommate about how it really rustles your jimmies when they slam the door after their 3 a.m. bathroom trip every night. Issues will arise, but it’s how you address them that dictates whether they become problems.

    Have Each Other’s Backs
    Having a “survival of the fittest” attitude toward living with a roommate will hardly result in a positive relationship. What happens to one resident affects everyone living there, so don’t leave your roommate to fend for themself. Do each other small favors, build trust and come through in times of need if you expect to be treated the same way. You take their laundry down with you when you do yours, and they might just pick up that book you need from the library. You remind them to take their keys when they leave, they use their Congressional influence to bail you out when your Fortune 500 company goes bankrupt in the housing market collapse. Tit for tat.

    Don’t be an asshole
    Seriously, just be considerate. Try to put yourself in your roommate’s shoes. The worst roommates are the ones who do what they want and don’t even stop to think about whether it might be inconveniencing the person they share living space with.

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