Amanda Hollman, Assistant Opinions Editor, @HollmanAmanda
Learning how to live with roommates can be a challenge for even the most experienced of students. Do not let this intimidate you. While there is not one way to live with roommates, there are some basic things that can be done to make the transition easier.
Coming from someone who has had around 50 different roommates, the key to having the best roommate situation is pretty simple: Communication.
After everyone gets moved in, have an apartment correlation. This will help you to know what everyone’s expectations are for anything that goes on in the apartment. Some of the main things that are typically discussed are cleanliness, space in the public spaces of the apartment, what everyone is comfortable with for times that members of the opposite sex can be over, noise levels at certain hours of the day, and other living arrangements.
Do not be afraid to speak up on your opinion, but remember that the best relationships have everyone sacrificing to an extent. Another correlation will most likely need to be done after everyone adjusts and figures out what they do and do not like.
Everyone grows up in different situations. Some people that you live with may have just moved from another country, another state, or another city. Even those who have just moved from across town have grown up differently from you. Keeping that in mind. Be willing to listen to your roommates’ opinion and see what arrangement all of you can come up with.
If you get your own room, then you do not have much to worry about that space. Keep it in whatever condition you want, except you may need to close your door if it’s too messy for your roommate’s liking.
If you are sharing, generally the side of the room that your bed is on is your half of the room, and you can keep it the way you like it. This rule varies with each roommate, but many people agree on this arrangement. Remember to be courteous of your roommate since the room belongs to them as well. They may like it spotless while you could care less how much stuff is lying around. Try to keep it at least a little picked up so that you do not end up with a roommate who complains about you.
As far as public spaces go, like the bathroom, kitchen, and living room, the best way that I have found to keep everyone in the apartment happy is to keep that area clean. You are no longer living at home with your family who knows your habits and will tell you what to do. You now have people who have differing opinions on what should and should not happen in the general living space.
Be considerate to the others you live with and keep the public spaces clean. If you cook, clean up and put away the dishes. If you have friends over for a movie night, clean up the food and trash that comes as a result. Basically, just practice common courtesy.
The bathroom is not usually a problem for guys, but for girls it is. Guys, do not skip this section, you could still have issues. Hopefully you have an area with the mirror and sink outside of the bathroom, but if you do not, then you need to figure out how to balance time. Get ready with the door open so others can get ready at the same time. Try leaving the door unlocked while you are in the shower so others can use the rest of the bathroom—it’s not as weird as you think. Again, be courteous to the people you live with.
All in all, be nice and remember that you are not living with your family. Be willing to not have everything be your way, but do not let your opinions be ignored either. Just remember to communicate, and everything will work out fine.