Lisa De Clercq

While for some first years the idea of having a roommate can be quite exciting, others may find it terrifying. Here are a few tips on being a good roommate (or surviving a bad one).

Sleeping habits
While 10pm could mean bedtime for one, another might find it a great time to start tuning their ukulele. Be considerate in your ways to avoid conflict that could arise from this. Earplugs can be a worthwhile investment; while open curtains, a bedside lamp and an eye mask are good at keeping disturbing light to a minimum.

Studying routine
A desk lamp could also come in handy in the case of differing study routines. However, you may find that studying in a different place than your room could be a good idea. If your roommate’s work load differs from yours, studying in the Library/SS/Cluster hub could lessen the temptation of binge watching series with your roommate.

Tidiness
If you and your roommate both don’t mind the stale smell of mould from a two-week-old unwashed yogurt bowl, good for you. Also, no judgement. On the other hand, if you are a bit of a neat freak, but your roomie doesn’t seem to be bothered by furry textures on crockery, you may have some trouble. Conflict in this area can be resolved by washing dishes together or by leaving the dishwashing water in the sink and convincing your roommate to wash his/her dishes directly after you “to save water”.

Also, don’t just leave your stuff lying around. Your mom is not there to pick it up.

And girls, be mindful of those pesky hair that always end up all over the floor.

Sharing
The struggle of a student budget can be real, so sharing things like clothes and food with your roommate could help you both to save some cash. Taking turns to buy milk, salad ingredients or other fast-perishables could save money.
Of course, it is important to communicate with regards to sharing as not everyone likes sharing their personal belongings.

Social life
It may happen that you and your roommate have different friend groups. An agreement that keeps social encounters outside the room can help avoid conflict with regards to this. However, being friendly when your roommate’s friends are in the room won’t hurt and chances are you may end up liking them.

Overall, communication is a key survival strategy. Talk about something that is bothering you immediately. When things are out in the open the room will feel much more spacious.

And you never know, your roommate might be your new best friend.

Photo: Nina Fouché