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Living with a Roommate: Be Considerate – Be Flexible

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

Brianna Cooper

PHS '16, Penn State University '20

I didn’t have the typical freshman roommate experience. You know, the kind where you and one other person are forced to live in a little dorm room, usually half the size of your bedroom at home. Instead, I had 4 roommates and rows of bunk beds – the room looked like a summer camp cabin. Thankfully, this non-traditional living situation was a blessing in disguise.

No matter your living situation, you need to remember two things: be considerate and be flexible. Chances are, you and your roommate are going to annoy each other at some point, it’s human nature. But can you imagine that times 4 in my case? It was certainly an adjustment. But we all got through it. Some nights, your roommate is up late doing homework – you have to learn to sleep with the lights on. Some days you have to get up extra early – your roommate has to learn how to sleep through the sounds of you getting ready in the morning.

Another thing to keep in mind is to not let annoyances build up. If something is bothering you, confront the situation. Roommate conflicts blow out of proportion when you hold it all in and eventually explode. By talking about things as they happen, you will avoid it getting worse than it needs to be. If your roommate was up late talking to her boyfriend on the phone, chances are she’ll continue to do it because she doesn’t realize it bothers you. Because if it bothered you, you’d say something about it, right? It’s not easy to do, but it makes the experience so much better.

Going into college, I was caught up in the idea that I had to be best friends with my roommate(s). You don’t have to be best friends that are on top of each other every minute of the day. But, you do have to be able to live with each other and talk to each other. It’s nice to come home from a long day of classes and have someone to talk to; someone to ask about how your exam went or how a project is going. I became so close with my roommates from freshman year that I ended up living with one of them again sophomore year, and another one of them junior year. We may not have been best friends that hung out every day, but we could get along as people and live well together.

College also taught me that you can’t live with everybody. In fact, I tried to room with my best friend senior year and it was a disaster. We got along great as friends, but we just couldn’t live together. It ruined our friendship. Remember that when choosing a roommate, any year of college, you have to know how people live, not just how well you get along with them. It’s a lot harder to confront living issues with a close friend because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. You have to learn to have thick skin when someone tells you what they don’t like about your living style and be able to tell them what you don’t like about their living style.

Again, it’s about being considerate and being flexible.

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