Having roommates can be tough. Whether you don’t get along or you’ve just never lived with anyone other than your parents before, dorm life is an adjustment. So when it comes to moving in, it’s important to know who is bringing what—or else you’ll end up wasting the precious little space you have with two microwaves, two mini-fridges, two televisions…well, you get the point.
Contact your roommate and set up a time you can get chat about what you both think you’ll need for your room. Whether it’s via phone, Skype or even in person, this is a great chance to get to know each other and start working on the space you’ll call home for the next 9 months or so. Bring as many “What you’ll need for college” lists as you can find and ask Mom or Dad if they have any suggestions. Figure out what you’ll really need and what isn’t absolutely necessary, saving you time, money and a million random trips to Target.
Who already has what?
Once you’ve got a list of what you’ll be needing, see if either of you already have some of the items. If you’re willing to bring your fan and she’s willing to chip in her TV stand, you won’t have to worry about picking up the tab all on your own. But be careful: make sure your contributions are equal or you could wind up with few necessities if your roommate decides to move or transfer schools.
We’ve all got a bit of interior decorator inside of us, but don’t get carried away. First of all, it’s a dorm room. No one expects it to look like Princess Katherine’s summer home. Secondly, communication with your roommate is key. If you have similar styles, you’ll probably end up sharing a few more things and make the room feel a bit more monotone. If you’re totally different, be prepared to have a clear, distinctive style on your side of the room. Be willing to respect her tastes and try not to force anything on her just because you think your room should look a certain way. Remember—it’s her room too.
Doom rooms aren’t known for their spacious floorplans, so try to get a rough estimate of just how much space you’ll actually have. Most of this information should be available through your school’s residence hall office. Once you know, you and your roommate can start making cuts as to what you’ll be taking with you and what will be left at home until you have your own apartment. I know you thought you’d be able to fit it all in that tiny little room, but in reality, it rarely happens. It’s okay. You can live without your massive three-piece vanity. I promise.
Patience is a virtue
Whether you and your roommate will end up being best friends forever is something that only time will tell. Regardless though, you’ll be living with each other day in and day out for the remainder of your freshman year, so respect and patience are key. Try not to get too wrapped up in decorating and focus more on friendship and living necessities.
— By Kristy Shaulis, University of Alabama