May 15, 2017
I will never forget my freshman year at my old boarding school when I had my first roommate disaster. After taking a weekend and returning on Sunday I was horrified to find my room infested with fruit flies. My roommate had spilled apple juice on her desk and didn’t clean it up. The tiny flies flew around my room for a month straight. I tried everything from a fly swatter to a makeshift fruit fly trap out of a water bottle, clingwrap, and vinegar. It was easy for me to be angry at her for her laziness, but I soon learned to forgive her once I realized that I made mistakes too as a roomie. I had accidentally burned popcorn once or twice in our microwave and set the fire alarm off. The truth is, there is no such thing as a “perfect roommate”. Everyone makes mistakes, but some things can be controlled.
While the school year is coming to an end, the decision of who you’re going to live with next year is becoming too real. Some things to keep in mind while you’re choosing one is if this is someone who you would want to come back to after a bad day. Although you two aren’t a married couple, this is still someone that you’re going to be living with even on the days that seem like they’ll never end. Could you see this person offering you her extra microwavable mac and cheese after you tell her you had a bad day? Another question to ask is if this person is trustworthy. We’ve all heard the horror stories of roommates that steal things like clothes and never return them. There’s a huge difference between getting your roommate’s clothes in your hamper accidentally and putting your roommate’s clothes in your dresser. If you left a couple $20 bills on your desk for the day while you were gone, would you trust that your roommate wouldn’t take them?
If you’re certain about who you’re living with next year, there are a few steps that you should take before this year ends. Go pay their current room a visit and see how clean they are. I can’t explain how important agreement on cleanliness of the room is for a roommate pair. I’ve seen roommates move out because the other person is too messy. Could you imagine living in their current room? Another thing to do would be to talk to their current roommate about their experience living with them. Don’t let their comments totally turn you off if they aren’t positive, but if it’s something that concerns you then take it into account. This leads me to my last piece of advice for action, talk to your future roommate. Communication is so important between two people that are going to be or currently live together. Ask them what time they go to bed, if they listen to music out loud, or if they regularly do their laundry once a week. The answers might surprise you and make you think about choosing a new roommate.
One of the worst feelings is feeling like you let someone down. It’s now getting deeper into May and you realize that your “perfect roommate” for next year is not going to work out. How do you tell this person that you’ve changed your mind about living with them. The first step is to not make it a big deal. Changes happen all the time when it comes to residential life, even over the summer. Having a face-to-face conversation about why you can’t do it will give you the best results because they can read your tone better than they could over text. Make sure that you have valid reasons behind why you don’t want to room with them. If you don’t give any reasoning as to why you don’t want to then that makes you look like you’re doing it because of who they are as a person. A valid example would be that you can only sleep with white noise like a fan and they can’t. Rooming is a fluid thing that changes from year to year and in late spring it can change day to day. Don’t sweat this whole roommate or dorm situation. Everything always works out in the end and, if it doesn’t, then the year will end eventually.