Congratulations on receiving your housing assignment! Going to college and moving into a residence hall is very exciting, but sharing your space with a roommate can be difficult. Read these tips for how to have a great relationship with your roommate and make the most of your residential experience! If you have a problem with your roommate, be sure to seek out your Gryphon.
1. Respect your roommate’s privacy and personal space. Never borrow without asking, and make sure you take good care of borrowed items.
2. Be prepared to compromise. Not everyone has the same ideas about day to day living as you do. You can’t ask your roommate to change himself or herself if you’re not willing to change as well.
3. Clean up after yourself. This doesn’t mean that you have to be a neat freak, but don’t leave dirty dishes around or leave mountains of laundry all over the floor. Try to agree on a minimum standard of cleanliness that you’ll both abide by.
4. Be courteous of your roommate’s sleeping habits. If you are a night owl, keep your noise down and turn the lights down after your roommate goes to bed so you don’t disturb them. If you go to bed early, don’t get exasperated with your roommate for their late hours, but at the same time try to find ways that you can sleep undisturbed. The same thing applies for rising in the morning!
5. Spend time with your roommate. Say hello and goodbye, ask them how their day was, and show interest in his or her life. Getting to know the person you live with helps you understand their perspective, and allows them to understand yours. Try to set a time in which you both can hang out at least once a week. Make dinner together, watch a movie, etc.
6. Stay flexible. Understand what’s going on in your roommate’s life, and accommodate them.
7. Communicate. As in any relationship, living with someone requires a great deal of work. If a problem comes up, it’s better to talk about it right away than to try and ignore it and let it get worse. Follow the 24 hour rule: if your roommate does something that bothers you, either bring it up within 24 hours or drop it! Be sure to address problems before they escalate.
8. Be clear from the beginning. Before you get to Lehigh, think about your quirks and preferences, and make sure you communicate what you need to eliminate problems before they become problems. Your Roommate Agreement is a great time to discuss these expectations.
9. Be open to change and new experiences. Your roommate may be from someplace you’ve never heard of, or have a religion or lifestyle that is completely different from your own. Be open to new ideas and experiences, especially as it relates to what your roommate brings into your life. As the semester progresses, realize things will change for both of you. Be comfortable addressing things that unexpectedly come up, setting new rules, and being flexible to your changing environment.
10. Be careful of who you bring into your room, and how often. You may love having your study group into your room. But your roommate may not. Be mindful of how often you bring people over.