On TV roommates always get along. They’re attached at the hip and they take on the college experience together. Though that is a realistic college experience, it isn’t the only college experience and it helps to remember that your college experience extends outside your room and your dorm. Most colleges will place freshmen in double dorms with two people to a room. The room might be very, very small—my college dorm is about the size of my room at home, and it’s meant to hold two of us and everything we need for a an entire school year. You’ll probably have a mini-fridge and a microwave, and your bed may or may not loft (mine doesn’t, which left me very disappointed). Decorating your dorm is a lot of fun, though, and my roommate and I have put up pictures of our family and friends and fairy lights all over. There are a couple of ways that roommate assignments work. You could choose your roommate, maybe someone you knew from school, or maybe someone you meet over your school’s Facebook page. Or you could opt for random assignment, which can be daunting.If you opt for random assignment, the school will have you fill out a questionnaire and match you with a person that had relatively similar answers. The questionnaire will ask things about your preferred bedtime, when you wake up in the morning, etc. It’s best to answer these questions honestly. If you go to bed at 10, you don’t want to wind up with a roommate who prefers staying up way later. Whatever you choose, though, you and your roommate may have to fill out a roommate contract. This is basically just a series of rules that you and your roommate will agree to abide by, and if a disagreement comes up, it will be the document that your RA refers to in order to figure out what to do. The contract discusses rules surrounding significant others and splitting up cleaning responsibilities.Two of my close friends at school are roommates. They were assigned to each other randomly, and the two of them quickly became best friends. They joined a school sports team together; they eat dinner together every night, and are planning on rooming again next year. They’re such good friends that when I first met them, I thought they’d known each other since they were kids. My roommate and I, though, are not close friends. We don’t talk much. We respect each other, and understand each other’s boundaries, and I think she’s a really great person, but we just don’t have a lot in common. That’s okay too! I have some friends on my hall, and a lot outside, and next year, I’ll be rooming with one of those other friends. The only thing that’s important in a roommate relationship is respect and communication about important things. There’s nothing worse than living with someone who refuses to understand your boundaries, and won’t communicate their own. Living together with someone in close quarters can be, at times, frustrating, but if you choose to bridge that gap and form a friendship, it will be one that lasts for ages!
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