By: Jorie Scholnik, Guest Blogger
Summer sessions for incoming college freshman are about to begin and there are the usual nerves about getting adjusted to the campus, doing laundry on your own and meeting new friends. For many students, this may not be the first time you will be living away from home, but the first time you will have to endure living with a roommate. There are ways to make the merging of two different people and lifestyles go a little smoother. Here are a few tips to avoid being labeled, “The Roommate from Hell” years down the road:
Be aware of your roommate’s hours. If your roommate prefers to go to bed before you do or has to wake up for an early class every day, respect his/her schedule. Coming home while talking on your cell phone at 2am or screaming to your friends down the hall when your roommate needs to wake up in three hours won’t be appreciated.
Always ask before borrowing. Some people don’t like to share food, clothing, household appliances or office supplies. At the beginning of the semester, sit down together and discuss what you intend to share. Even if your roommate said it was okay to share something at the beginning of the semester, always ask just to be courteous.
Be mindful of your roommate’s study habits. Just because you can concentrate with your music and television on, a lot of people prefer to study in silence. A set of headphones is a great investment because your roommate can study in silence while you enjoy listening to music or television.
Keep shared areas clean. You don’t have your mom picking up after you any more so the way you keep your room is your decision. However, shared areas should always be kept clean out of respect for others. Don’t expect your roommate to pick up your clothes, clean your dishes or watch your food mold.
Avoid strong scents. A lot of people are sensitive to smells or have allergies so avoid strong perfumes or eating foods in the room with a potentially foul odor. It can be extremely uncomfortable to live in an area that irritates your sense of smell.
Be respectful of any religious or cultural differences. Everyone grows up in households with different religious and cultural views. Try to avoid passing judgment on your roommate’s different views or cultural upbringing as it might offend him/her.
Jorie Scholnik graduated with honors from the University of Florida in May 2008 with a B.S. in Public Relations and a B.S. in Psychology. In the Fall, she plans to continue her education at the University of Florida in the M.Ed./Ed.S. program in Mental Health and Marriage and Family Counseling. Over the past four years, she has had numerous roommate experiences in both dormitories and off-campus apartments. She has been interning seasonally at The Protocol School of Palm Beach since June 2006.