How to live with strangers

Brooklyn Dippo | Staff Writer

The stranger you move in with this year will not be one for long. Roommates will know you arguably better than you know yourself.  Walls seem to break down pretty quickly when you share a space with someone, and that can be a great thing or your worst nightmare.

Even though you will sign roommate contracts with your RA the first week and go over basic negotiations for living together, there are a few unspoken rules that will make your roommate experience smoother.

Rule #1- Always Lock Up

You might not have any valuable things, you might trust that no one will take them, and you might not care if people walk in and out of your room all day, but your roommate might. It can be a total pain to carry around your I.D. just walking down the hall or to take a shower, but it’s a small expense to pay for secure belongings. If you do have people over, it is your responsibility to make sure your company doesn’t invade your roommates’ space or things.

Rule #2- Don’t Share Food

Food fights are a real thing in college, as in you will literally fight over food. Sharing a bowl of popcorn for a movie night is fine, but don’t get in the habit of communal snacks. Nothing is worse than planning to eat a frozen meal for dinner only to find that your roommate ate it for lunch. Buy your own groceries and write your name on them if you need to. It’s a sure way to keep you fed and happy (after all, food is happiness).

Rule #3- Have Other Friends Besides Your Roomie

One of the best things about roommates is that they are practically built in friends. While you should cherish that relationship, it is important to know that the honeymoon phase won’t last forever. Everyone is going to need a break from each other at some point. You’ll definitely want to have other friends to hang out with when your dorm room becomes a war zone of passive aggressive post-it notes.

Rule #4- Make a Chore List

This may seem pretty obvious or childish, but it actually helps. I’m not suggesting that you dust every day or keep it looking hotel-room-fresh, but general tidiness is a good thing. Chore lists are especially essential for guys. You do have room inspections and you will fail if you never clean. (Not to mention that piles of trash and two-month old pizza growing mold in the corner is completely unsanitary.)

Rule #5- Be Sure to Respect Study Time

Surprise! You are going to college to study. It might seem like a non-stop party at first  that can distract even the most studious of us, but you should never party at the expense of your roommates’ grades. It is just plain rude. Keep company and loud music at bay during study times and even make a schedule for quiet time in the room a few times a week.

Rule #6- Roommate Relationships come before Romantic Relationships

Although your new significant other is hard to stay away from, your roommates need to sleep too and chances are they would prefer sleeping without extra company in the room. Relationships can be great things (though they are few and far between at USD) but your friendship with your roommates should probably be put first. After all, they will have your back even when the fling ends.

Rule #7- Don’t Ever Borrow Without Asking

Seriously! Even if you have borrowed something before, ask again. Even if your roommate tells you that you don’t need to ask every time to borrow it, ask anyway. This will just keep everyone from feeling taken advantage of and gives you a tiny sense of privacy in your shared space.

Rule #8- Speak Up

If there is something that bothers you, even mildly, mention it. It is important for your sanity and for keeping the peace that you tell your roommates when something they are doing is getting under your skin. Ranting to others about your roommates is only going to cause drama, and bottling it up will ultimately end in an explosion. Then at the end of the day, you might feel like a horrible person for getting so mad over something so small. Communication is key.

Rule #9- Refill the Brita

Just be a decent human being and refill the Brita if you use the last bit of water. Please and thanks.