August 04, 2014

[Destination: College] The Do's and Don'ts of Freshman Year Roommates

This may seem out of the blue, because I guess it is to you because I totally forgot to share the exciting news, but I've teamed up with two fantastic bloggers - Gina and Jessica - to bring a blog hop for the month of August that we've affectionately called "Destination: College". Every Monday throughout the month of August, we'll be sharing our tips, tricks and secrets to surviving college - everything from classes to books to roommates, to social life and more! So stay tuned for more throughout the month of August, and hop right into my first post!

Roommates can make or break your experience in college. Freshman year, I lived in a quad (yes, four girls in one room..), and I remember being terrified cause girls can suck sometimes, and OMG four what if I hate them, but I got incredibly lucky! My three roommates were sent from heaven (and we always joked that we found each other on - we were perfect for each other!) and they're still some of my best friends til today! Sophomore year, I lived with my friends in an apartment-styled suite, but at the last minute, a friend ended up transferring schools leaving an open space in my suite, and a random roommate was placed within the first month of the school year - leaving me with a new (and quite frankly, unwanted roommate).

At first, it worked out, but as the time went on, I grew tired of her erratic behavior, and it became an unhealthy place for me to live - with me spending a lot of my time hiding out in friends' rooms or in the library.. bad for my health, great for my GPA! Nearing the end of the second semester, I moved into an opening in another room in my suite because I knew I needed to do what was best for me.. (plus, does anyone remember when she poured water and ruined my expensive laptop?!) So, my freshman year was a fantastic one in terms of roommates, and sophomore year was a more trying time.. but there were lessons learnt at the end of the day.

But now that I'm a Resident Assistant at QU, I'm excited to help my freshmen move in, get to know their roommates, and hopefully have an experience more like my freshman year roommates, and not at all like my sophomore year roommate, so I began thinking of things I could share to help them through this time.

Quinnipiac freshmen found out their room assignments and roommates on Friday night, and I remember this time two years ago when I found the three names that I'd be living with in Commons 117, and stalked the crap out of them! (Funny story: I couldn't find my roommate Maggie on FB, thought she was weird because she had a very colonial name and she told me she didn't have a cell phone, and I worried that we would never get along.. that couldn't be even more opposite from the truth, and as it turns out, her cell phone drowned in a drunken mishap - and I knew we'd be perfect ever since!) 

So I'm sharing some "Do"s and "Don't"s of having freshman year roommates, and hopefully this can help your experiences be like Commons 117 - crazy, fun, and always a good time..

Before You Move In:
// DO reach out to your roommate/s - you'll be living with them for the next nine months, so reach out to them via email, and maybe through phone calls, texts, or Facebook messages.. get to know a little bit about them before move in day! 
// DON'T Facebook stalk them - seriously.. don't judge a book by its' cover.. plus, imagine how your profile must look to someone FB stalking you! That one always shuts me up.. I have my weird side too, and I don't want someone judging me based on that super awkward photo from 2010 that really shouldn't still be online! 
// DO discuss who's bringing what - no dorm room has space for two futons, two mini fridges and three different carpets.. discuss before-hand who's bringing what, and share the wealth. You have a TV at home you can take? Great, let her pick up a futon for the room! This is just the beginning (and the most exciting part!) 
// DON'T expect them to be your best friend just because you're roommates - this may be one of the best pieces of advice I could give you: you don't have to be friends with your roommate, you just have to be able to tolerate them. My freshman year roommates and I all had a separate group of friends, but we called each other our family, because at the end of the day, we come home to each other and love each other like family.. I got lucky! But don't expect to be BFF's with your roommate, because if it doesn't happen that way, you're setting yourself up for disappointment! 

When You Move In: 

// DO wait for your roommate before you begin rearranging the room - I know this is tempting, especially with mothers.. but I suggest waiting for your roommate before changing the room layout. The fun part is figuring it out with your roommate, and trust me you'll rearrange at least once or twice throughout the year. 
// DON'T judge your roommate based on your first impression of them - the first few weeks of college are always very overwhelming, and your roommate may not have come out of their shell as yet. Don't write them off as "quiet" or "lame" because they haven't gone wild or done anything outrageous in the first week of school - who knows, they may turn out to be as fun as you! 
// DO sit down, discuss things, set boundaries and create a roommate contract - I know many RA's do this with their residents within the first few weeks, and I think it's incredibly important. Asking questions like "how do you feel about guests", "what time should the lights be off by" and "do you mind if we share certain items" make living in the room throughout the year so much easier. Plus, if anyone ever breaks the contract, you can remind them you both made a decision about it, and to keep it in mind in the future. 
// DON'T be afraid to be yourself - I know that it's hard, and we're always trying to make a good impression, but be yourself around your roommate - it's crucial, especially because you'll be with them for a full year! Let them get to know and love the real you, and your friendship will grow even stronger! 

Throughout The Year: 
// DO try to be respectful of your roommate - if you have early classes, don't turn on the lights too early.. if you're a night owl, don't be loud if they're asleep.. if they're studying or doing homework, don't blast your iTunes. Be respectful and show that you care about them as a roommate, and they'll do the same for you. 
// DON'T assume anything - always ask to borrow or use something of theirs, or if you'll be doing anything that affects the room like having a group project over, or a SO spending the night.. ask permission before you assume that it's okay, even if they're the chillest roommates ever, just asking shows that you respect their decision and their space. 
// DO discuss something if it bothers you - maybe they drank your last water bottle, or brought someone home without letting you know.. tell your roommates! If something bothers you, don't just ignore it because they won't know you aren't okay with it unless you say something, and chances are they'll do it again. Having an open and honest relationship with them, and allowing each other to say when something bothers you will make it an easy year. 
// DON'T sweat the small stuff - Not every little detail has to be a big issue. Pick your battles. So she does that really annoying thing where she brushes her hair in front your mirror? Okay, what good will telling her something do?! Choose wisely. A rule of thumb would be the 24 hour rule that my RA taught me freshman year - if something bothers you, you have 24 hours to say something - once the 24 hours are up, drop it.. that way you can clear the air as soon as something happens, and you can move on from the situation. 

I know room situations can be very scary - trust me, I know - I've had the best and worst of them. But, a good roommate can be a great friend - not just for four years, but for life. Even if your roommate and you aren't best friends, that's fine! Just being able to live with them is more than enough.. college is about finding yourself, and discovering a new part of you! Good luck, and have fun! And stop Facebook stalking your roommate! 

Link Up Your College Life Blog Posts!

Welcome to Destination: College - A Blog Hop! Join Caro from The Caro Diaries, Jessica from Seeking Individuality and Gina from Gina Alyse as we talk about everything college this month! Link up your college posts (past or present) and find different perspectives about college life through this blog hop. Join us every Monday throughout August to see what tips, advice and real life stories bloggers have to share! 

The linkup will stay up the whole week until the next one goes live the next Monday, so you can link up with us every day! 

The Rules:

1. Follow your hosts: 

Caro @ The Caro Diaries | Gina @ Gina Alyse |  Jessica @ Seeking Individuality

2. Link up your posts about college life! 

3. Visit at least two other blogs to share the love and learn more about their college experiences!

4. Use the hashtag, #CollegeBlogHop to share the linkup or grab a button below to use on your blog! 
Gina Alyse

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  1. These are some great tips for roommates. Whenever I went to college, I didn't know anything about my roommate. We were strangers from the first day, and I really lucked out! We ended up rooming together for another year. I'm glad that I didn't FB stalk her like you said not to do. It was kind of exciting going into it knowing nothing. It is definitely a huge adjustment living with a roommate, but I think it's part of the college experience, and everyone should do it! I went a little crazy with linking up a few of my old posts. I hope that's okay!

  2. Great advice for college newbies. I can't imagine sharing a room with four girls, that would be waaaay too much for me to handle hahah!

  3. I had a difficult roomie freshman year, but we were able to make things work by having a roommate contract and laying out specific boundaries based on the way we lived. Though we never really became "friends," we were able to work out a system that worked for us, and I became tight with my randomly assigned suitemates! NYU made us do the contract but I think they are a huge help for making things clear long before they become issues--I have even used them in summer shares with friends before the "you never took out your empty wine bottles" fight has a chance to explode :)

  4. OMG I can't believe she ruined your laptop. That is so not cool at all. These are AMAZING tips for college newbies. 4 girls in a room, wow too many. I would never be able to share those dorm rooms with that many people. Love this post!

  5. SHUT UP! I went to Quinnipiac - graduated in 2012. I miss it so much! But, how crazy is 4 girls to a room?

  6. This is such a terrific list and it is SO accurate that judging a roommate prematurely is never a good idea. Also, open communication is everything. My roommate freshman year was terrible at telling me when she didn't like something I did (like leaving a window open), so she ended up leaving me post-it notes with passive-agressive messages. We didn't end up staying friends to say the least... Nice girl though!

  7. Ha this is great. I'm currently in college and having done "random" every year has definitely kept things interesting for me! Thankfully though I haven't gotten any real wackos...just a serious gamer and a girl who didn't speak ANY English. Definitely could have been way worse! Your tips are spot-on, great link-up idea!

  8. This is a great list of do's and don'ts for college! I'll be passing this on to a few people I know who will be going to college this year!

  9. Awesome tips! There is so much I'd do over if I could go back to my freshman year.

  10. Great tips for college students. I guess in every aspect /phase in our life, the golden rule applies. Do unto others what you like others to do unto you.

  11. Great advice. College can be a huge change!

  12. I wish I had lived in a dorm my freshman year. I feel that living at home I missed out on some great college experiences.

  13. awesome advice for new college students!

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