Unless you grew up sharing your bedroom with a sibling, living together in a dorm with a roommate for the first time can be a challenge!
Imagine living with new people… add to that it is in a relatively crowded space. Sharing a bedroom (often with bunk beds), splitting bathroom time, finding a spot to lounge in the compact communal living room/kitchen, passing groups of dorm-mates down the narrow hallways…
Personal space and privacy go out the window.
Issues, disagreements, problems, disputes… all arise frequently when you place dozens of different personalities together under one roof.
If you don’t learn how to deal with them quickly, dorm life can soon spoil your college experience.
Use these tips from current university students, on living together, based on their own experiences. When you discover how to get along, your roommates will be your friends for life.
Embrace the community! Ask someone out for coffee or lunch! Get to know the people around you on a deeper level, because you never know who you’re gonna meet that’s gonna be in your life forever! People can really surprise you. You probably won’t have an opportunity again in your life after being a student to live in community with a big group of people so don’t take it for granted!Keri, a 4th year university student and 2nd year Resident Advisor.
It doesn’t matter if you move in with strangers or with someone you know. My daughter Emma lived with her cousin Emily last year. Up until this past year, they’ve only seen each other every five years or so… prior to this, they lived nearly 4,000 klms apart all of their lives.
Living together 24/7 can cause issues even with the best of friends. Learning that conflict can be solved by getting rid of assumptions and by keeping communication lines open is key.
Say how you feel and DON’T bottle up your emotions. For example, when you want your roommate to clean up, etc. tell them. Learning that confrontation is okay and not just living unhappy all year.Emily, 2nd year university student
Living with 20 other girls can be a blessing and a curse… lol. It was hard to get alone time, which is especially important as an introvert, but you get to build a great community.Emma, 2nd year university student (and introvert)
Emma and Emily made it through their first year living together. This summer they got matching tattoos and next year they’ve chosen to be roommates again.
Look to your dorm-mates for support. As well, don’t keep going bottling things that are on your heart either, or things that you should talk to someone about. A personal experience for me was when my grandpa died this past year. My dorm-mates were so big on getting me through that week they were always there when I needed to just cry and be with others.Karissa, 2nd year university student
If nothing else… always remember the Golden Rule. Matthew 7:12, “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.”
Treat others as you would want to be treated!
Other articles on dorm life; living together:
- How to Get Along with your Roommate
- 10 Tips for Getting Along with your College Roommate
- 10 Tips for Living with a College Roommate
Other Blog Posts in My University Series: