The relationship with a dorm roommate is an interesting aspect of the college experience. Some roommates turn out to be great friends, while others may have contentious relationships throughout the entire year. How well a student gets along with his or her dorm roommate is important because it can have a direct impact on the student’s academic success. When roommates do not get along, it can cause stress, disturb sleep patterns and lead to academic struggles. This is why students should work to build a good relationship with their roommates. Here are some things to consider.
Distribution of space. Often, the first consideration with a dorm roommate is the distribution of space. Dorm rooms are often small and cramped, which is why the roommates will need to discuss closets, furniture and sleeping arrangements. Other issues include decor and any shared resources that may have been brought with each student. Some roommates share well, while others prefer to keep possessions separate. One roommate may encourage an environment of sharing, but usually it cannot be forced.
Common interests. Sharing common interests can help build a good roommate relationship. Sometimes roommates can attend campus events together or simply enjoy hanging out while watching movies or playing video games. If common interests are not found, roommates may simply need to live somewhat separate lives. They can still get along even if they do not participate in a lot of activities together.
Ground rules. Setting expectations right away can be a major factor in getting along. Musical tastes, noise, visitors, habits and schedules should be discussed. Not all interests are going to mesh well, but it can be helpful to at least discuss expectations so that roommates can be aware of adjustments that they might need to make. It may be helpful to revisit the ground rules at some point in the school year, even though it might be an awkward discussion.
Accepting what develops. In an ideal setting, dorm roommates will get along and become friends. The reality is that some individuals simply do not mesh, and friendships cannot necessarily be forced. Therefore, dorm roommates can try their best to get along, but in some cases they may have to settle for cordial co-existence. This may not be the best situation, but in some environments, each roommate must build relationships with other people and simply use the dorm room as a place to live. Over time, people adjust, and with a positive attitude, the student can make any situation work out well. After all, learning to get along with others is part of the learning process.
This article was originally published as Getting along with your dorm roommate on DailyParent.com