Dorm Living, or How Not to Hate Your Roomie


Many of you will be living on campus, and for some, this may be the first time you live on your own away from home. Living in a college dorm can be a very rewarding experience, as there can be a sense of community and all around fun! But living in a dorm is not like living in a hotel. You will be responsible for yourself, and there are some things you should be aware of.

First, there are residence hall rules that all students must follow. We will go over some of these at orientation, and your Program Assistants, or P.A.s, who will be living in the residence hall with you, will have hall meetings to go over important things you should know when living on campus.

Next, you will have a roommate. Roommates are randomly assigned so we cannot take or make any special requests. For many college students, their roommate is their first friend on campus.

However, every now and then, two individuals living as roommates with one another may not be the perfect fit, but there are ways to make it work. Here are some tips from NYU Residential Life for successfully living with your roommate:

  1. You roommate does not need to be your best friend.  Two different people with different interests can live together and learn from each other.  Have respect and an open mind, and your chances of developing a solid roommate connection are strong.
  2. Living with someone is not just about the stuff in your room. Being flexible, respectful, and communicating are key elements to a roommate relationship.
  3. Compromise.  Discuss with your roommate at the start of the program how you want the room to be set up; how technology such as phones and laptops will be used (Are you okay answering each other’s phones? Should you use headphones when watching Netflix? How will you keep your stuff safe in the room?); what you would like to share or not share; when it is okay to have friends in the room and when there can be quiet study time, etc. Talking things out and making decisions together will help a lot in establishing a roommate relationship and guidelines for your living situation.
  4. Communicate!  Of all things, this is the most important thing you can do to help foster a strong roommate relationship.  If you have a concern or a conflict occurs, it can get ugly fast if roommates do not talk to one another, start complaining to others, or you expect your roommate to just know when something is wrong.  Do not lapse into assumptions about your roommate’s behavior–there are always more layers to a person than meets the eye.  Do not gossip–it just lets the problem continue, spreads negativity, and keeps your roommate in the dark.  Say what you mean–dancing around an issue may confuse your roommate, and it rarely gets to the core of the concern.  Finally, agreeing to politely disagree is also a solution sometimes.
  5. Reach out to your P.A.  Your P.A.s are worldly experts in the field of roommate relations.  If you have concerns about your roommate or need help figuring out how to address a conflict, ask your P.A.!  They are there to help you, can give you guidance, and can even help facilitate discussions between you and your roommate if you need.

So remember, as anxious or excited as you are feeling about living with someone new during your summer at NYU,  your roommate is feeling the same way!  Be respectful, communicate openly and directly, and be flexible, and you and your roommate will live happily ever after.


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