Moving in freshman year can be pretty overwhelming. You’re making new friends, getting used to a new campus, figuring out your class schedule, and generally learning how to be on your own for the first time. On top of all of that, living with someone you’ve never met before can make even your own living space feel foreign. Getting on the same page as your fellow dorm dweller right off the bat will help you settle into your new digs.
Find your roommate on Facebook, or send them an email when you get your housing assignment. Tell them a little bit about yourself, and find out some things you have in common.
This might reduce some move-in anxiety, and gives you a head start on getting to know them. It’s also important to reach out before move in day to communicate about what you’ll be bringing. You’ll avoid bringing things you don’t need and make sure you have everything you do.
You could even make a Pinterest board or online shopping list together to coordinate décor! And remember, they’re probably nervous too. The most important part of a first impression is that you be yourself!
Move-in Day is both exciting and stressful. With just a little bit of planning and a lot of deep breaths, though, it can be a great bonding experience! Just try to keep it laid back and remember you have plenty of time to figure it out.
Talk to each other about what time you’ll both be moving in. If possible, try to get to campus one after another. This way, you both have your time to move things up to the room with your family, but you’ll be able to set up the room together. Work together to decide how you want your room to be set up, if you want to bunk your beds, etc. While you’re moving in and decorating, asking questions and talking things out will help set a tone of mutual respect.
Make sure you both have space for everything.
Check in about where you’re putting your things.And discuss potential room set ups.
Once you’re all moved in, it’s a great idea to put up a shared calendar, and exchange class schedules. This way, you’ll both know when you have some alone time in the room, for your 1:00pm nap…
…or whatever else you want to do with it.
And you don’t have to listen to your roommate argue with their S.O. about who should hang up the phone first.
You can also use the calendar to keep track of guests coming over, plans you have together, and weekend trips home!
Talk it Out
It’s also a good idea, when you first move in, to go over what you are and aren’t comfortable with. Make sure you talk about things like guests staying over, and which foods you don’t mind sharing…
…And which foods you DO mind sharing.
How clean you’d like to keep the room…
…And which of your belongings you’d like to keep off limits.
If there are any TV shows that you need absolute silence for…
…And other general boundaries.
It might feel kind of weird to talk things out all at once, but it will help you avoid situations you don’t feel cool with down the line. And if a situation does arise, you’ll have established a relationship where you feel comfortable sharing your feelings.
Do Your Share
Split up the chores in a way you both can agree on. Take turns taking the trash out, and keep up with your own dishes. Again, if you talk this over before there’s an issue, you can lay out ground rules that everybody feels are fair and reasonable. This will prevent a conflict from arising in the first place!
Find something you both enjoy, and try to do it just the two of you once a week. Whether that’s watching a show you both like, or doing some crafting, grabbing dinner together, or doing whatever this is:
…having this time to hang out will build your relationship as friends, and make it easier to live together as roommates.
RA = Resident Assistant = Really Awesome
Once in a while, your roommate and you might have a fight.
Remember, when a conflict does come up, your RA is here to help! Approach your RA individually or go to them as a pair if you’re having trouble getting along, or with a specific conflict.
They can be a mediator in a conversation between the two of you, and help you come to a resolution or compromise.
All in all, just be understanding and respectful! Once in a while, a conflict might come up, but if you build a communicative relationship, it’s easy to get along! Whether or not your roommate ends up being your best friend, or just someone you share a dorm with, these tips will help you maintain a healthy relationship, and start to make your living space at UNH feel like home!
For more words of wisdom, check out what these students and alum have to say:
Trevor Kiefaber, Class of 2015: “You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate(s), but it’s important that it’s a functional relationship. It’s great if you are BFFs, but okay to just be roommates too.”
Mason White, Class of 2015: “As a former RA, my most successful random roommate pairs found their own special niches within the University, whether it be a club, sports team, or job. This way, they weren’t cooped up in their room together all day every day. Finding an additional place to belong outside of your room, and forging your own individual identity is very important to a healthy roommate relationship!”
Brianna Leclerc, Class of 2016: “Just because you don’t think you will get along because your personalities are extremely different, doesn’t mean that you won’t get along. Be open to the change.”
Matthew Clarkson, Class of 2017: “Don’t let the stories of others impact your relationship/interactions. Whether you are looking for a new best friend or just a functional person to live with, students and parents alike will tell you love stories, horror stories, and everything in between. My parents made a quick judgment on one of my roommates during the hour it took to help move me into my room, and told me some tips on how to “deal” with this person who they assumed would problematic to live with, and turned out to be completely wrong. He became exactly what I wanted from a roommate.”