I just finished my 3rd week of school and by now most of you should have done what’s called a Roommate Agreement with your RA and your roommate! I know at OSU it is required for freshman to do one but after your freshman year you can ask your RA to come and do one with you or yall can do one on your own.
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Since my roommate and I are sophomores we weren’t forced to sit down with our RA this year to make a roommate agreement BUT, we still wanted to create one ourselves because it is just a good thing to have.
I wanted to share with you some hot topics you should FOR SURE talk with your roommate about if they weren’t already in your roommate agreement and to persuade you to make a roommate agreement because they are really great things to have.
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First thing to talk about would be how you would like to address problems in the room? Some people like to be told in person with a face to face conversation. Some people don’t like confrontation and would rather have an e-mail or text about a problem. Find a way yall can communicate with each other about problems that will arise in the room.
What are your Pet Peeves?
Now is the time to air out any pet peeves that you have so you don’t smother your roommate in her sleep because she keeps doing something you despise. If you don’t tell her how is she supposed to know about them? She can’t read your mind. So tell her that you hate chewing with your mouth open, I hate pencil tapping when we’re trying to study, I hate dirty dishes being left around or pizza boxes, don’t finish the last of something and put the empty box/cartridge away so I think there is still some in there, etc. Yall get the point.
Contact Your RA
At what point during a conflict is it okay to go to your RA? ASAP, after we can’t resolve it ourselves, never? What will it be? Yall might find this one pointless but if you’re having issues with your roommate and you go immediately to your RA about it and she comes in to have a talk with yall and your roommate gets mad you brought the RA into it because it was only a misunderstanding then things can get a little awkward. Decide when is the best time to contact the RA about any issues.
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Tell All Signs
How will you know your roommate is upset with you? Will they give you the cold shoulder? Will they leave passive aggressive sticky notes everywhere? Will they trash your side of the room? Hopefully not. If you have a random roommate this one is a biggie because you don’t know how they are when they’re mad. When I’m mad I will straight up tell you right then and there and some people get thrown off by that so I make sure to make that known ahead of time so my roommate doesn’t misinterpret that as me being bitchy, rude, or stand-offish.
Sharing is Caring
What things in the room are up for grabs? Designate NOW if yall want to share food or keep it separate. Is it okay if your roommate borrows your clothes? Uses your printer? The TV? Laptop? Chargers? etc. Say NOW if they are able to use it so they know what is off limits or not. Also decide if it is necessary for yall to ask permission before using each others things or if they can go ahead and do it whenever and just return it later.
*One important thing to touch on when we talk about food is allergies! Make sure to tell your roommate if you are allergic to anything so you don’t bring that item into the room!
Drugs & Alcohol
Obviously if yall are under 21 then you know having alcohol in the dorm is illegal but if you wanna have it in there and your roommate doesn’t then that is an argument waiting to happen. Decide now if yall are gunna break the law or not because once it’s in there it is on BOTH OF YOU. If you get caught both of you are in trouble. If you roommate doesn’t want your Vodka in the room don’t bring it in there because that is the respectful thing to do. She doesn’t want to get in trouble because of you!
Now drugs, are always illegal no matter the age but once again decide now if yall want to have it in there or not.
When are guests allowed to come over? When do they have to leave? Are they allowed to stay the night? All of these things need to be addressed BEFORE something happens. Be on the same page. Let’s say guests are cool as long as they’re gone by 11pm so yall can go to bed for classes during the weekdays and 1am on the weekends. Yes you can have guests stay the night but only on the weekends. Whatever yall wanna decide on! Just make sure to compromise and make it known!
Another thing about guests is: YOU are responsible for YOUR guest. If YOUR guest comes into our room and they break something of mine and they won’t replace it then I am expecting YOU to replace it. -that is juts a little rule of my own that yall can adopt. Make it known that you don’t want guests sleeping in or sitting on your bed if you don’t want them to. Say you don’t want them eating your food or using your things. What is your guest allowed to and not allowed to do while in the room. Are they allowed in the room alone without one of yall in there??
Yup. Yall knew it was coming sooner or later. Yall have to have that awkward conversation. Yall are in college now and I am sure you will run into this issue at least once with your roommate. Decide if having sex is okay in the room or not, where it is allowed to be done at, at what time of the day, is there going to be some sort of notification of this happening before hand, etc. You do NOT want to walk in on your roommate and her ‘friend’ while they’re doing the do so figure out some way of notification for yall to agree on so that doesn’t happen. Weather that’s a text, a ‘schedule’ of some sorts, a secret mark on yalls dry erase board on the door, whatever!
I want to give you a little advice on this topic and that’s NOT to inconvenience your roommate if you deicide to bring someone home. Don’t try and do that mid day when your roommate is trying to come back from class and do some homework because then she’s locked out of the room when she needs to get in there to get something. Don’t do it late at night when you know your roommate just got off work and she wants to come home and go to bed. Don’t ask her to leave the room when she is working on something so yall can do the nasty. That is just disrespectful. THAT is why yall need to talk about this ahead of time so yall can come up with a way to go about doing this that doesn’t hurt anyone.
Are yall going to have quiet hours? At what time will those be? What time is lights out and TV off? Times and preferences may change from weekdays to weekends so talk about both. Last year our ‘lights out’ time was 10pm because I had 8am’s and had to be in bed at that time. It was the same the semester before when my roommate had 8ams. If we wanted to do something or watch a show after that time we would go to the lobby or study room so that the other person could sleep for her classes the next day. This is just the most respectful way to do it. Once you set these guidelines please stick to them and don’t come home at 1am with 3 of your friends being loud when ‘lights out’ was 10pm and your roommate was trying to sleep!
What about naps? Will yall have a nap time? My roommate had to have a nap everyday last year and I aways knew when it was so I would go get something to eat or go to the library while she was napping so I could let her sleep.
How do you like to sleep? lights on, lights off? With a fan? Music? TV? Talk about these things because my roommate and I last year slept COMPLETELY different. I slept with the light and TV on! I know that sounds crazy but that’s how I slept. She slept in complete darkness and quiet. Well neither of those was going to work for the other person so we compromised on hanging christmas lights in our room around the ceiling for me and I played music on the lowest level and put it under my pillow so only I could hear it. That way it was dark enough for her to sleep and bright enough for me while I had my noise and she had her quiet. It was great!
Are yall planning on partying? On what days? Will you be bringing people back with you? At what time will you come back? Will you come back drunk? How will yall manage parties because they’re bound to happen. Decide if coming home at 2am is gunna work or not and if you can bring home a guy when you come back or not.
What is your roommate’s definition of clean? What is your definition of clean? How will you keep your side of the room clean? How will the shared spaced be kept clean? Will there be a cleaning schedule? When will the trash be taken out? By who? This is the time for me to tell my roommate that I am OCD when it comes to cleanliness and my side of the room will always be spotless and I cannot focus or sleep if the room is not tidy. Which means there has to be some compromise. I can’t force my roommate to deep clean her side of the room and be 100% organized 100% of the time and she can’t force me to let my side of the room get dirty. So we compromise in saying she will tidy up her side of the room at the end of the week and we can make a cleaning schedule on the shared parts of the room. Make a compromise with your roommate that will keep you both sane!
If you have a communal bathroom then skip this section!
Talk about weather you are a morning or night showerer and if there will ever be a conflict with showering if you have a shower in your dorm. When will the shower be cleaned and by whom?
What are the expectations of the bathroom cleanliness? No hair in the drains? Clean toothpaste out of the sink? No water on the floor?
One subject that may be a but touchy to talk about is their cultural, social, religious, or political values and beliefs. Know these things so you are mindful not to say or do something that may offend them. How will you handle a situation in which one of us offends each other’s beliefs and values?
If I were you I would touch on these subjects when creating your roommate agreement. Of course you can add or discard anything that doesn’t apply to you.
I hope this will help you start off on the right foot with your roommate and ensure a smooth year with them!