College is a unique time, full of situations and opportunities that you never will have anywhere else. One of the most unique things about college is that you will have a roommate. Your roommate is someone who will be with you through all of your ups and downs throughout college. Now for some people, this is a first-time experience and can be quite challenging, while others have shared living spaces with siblings their entire lives. Whether your roommate is a good high school friend from back home, someone you met online through roomsync or social media, or a complete stranger, this dynamic can be new and hard to navigate sometimes. I would love to share with you some helpful tips that I have learned (sometimes the hard way) in my four years of living with the wonderful guys in Lawlor Hall.
(1) You don’t have to be best friends. In fact it might be better if you aren’t!
I think one of the biggest mistakes that a student can make is thinking that they have to be best friends with their roommate. Now for some people, living with their best friend works out great, but I have heard of this going not well way more times than I have heard this going well. Your roommate is someone that you are going to be around all the time, just by the nature of living together. So it can be difficult if you are always hanging out with them and spending extended amounts of time together outside of the residence hall as well. Now I am not saying that you should never spend time with your roommate outside of the room, but I think it is helpful to have some different friends and friend circles. It can cause some hard group dynamics if you and your roommate always come as a package deal. Also, it is totally okay for you to want to spend some time with friends without your roommate there, don’t feel pressured to always invite them to everything or include them in everything you are doing.
(2) Be a listening ear.
Oftentimes, especially as a new student, the thing you need the most is someone to talk to who can relate to what you are going through. Be this person for your roommate. Especially if they are a verbal processor, they may just need someone to talk through all their thoughts and emotions with. I remember my freshman year I was up until 2 or 3 a.m. regularly talking things through with my roommate as we were just trying to figure out college life and how to learn and grow at Cedarville. While you don’t have to be their best friend, always make sure you have your roommate’s back and let him or her know that you care about them and are there to listen.
(3) Pray for them and share your struggles with them.
It is extremely difficult to be angry with someone that you are praying for. Be praying for your roommate. College is a difficult time, and he or she could be struggling with things that you don’t know about it. Always give them grace when they do not respond the way you want them to.
(4) Celebrate similarities and respect differences.
You and your roommate are going to be different. You are going to have different sleeping patterns, different standards for cleanliness, different music tastes, different views on politics, and many other differences. Be sure to look for ways that you are similar, though, and celebrate those things while respecting your differences. For example, my freshman year roommate was from a small town in northern Michigan, and I come from the seventh-largest city in the country. We had different political opinions, very different high school experiences, and many other differences. But we both are better off today because we talked through those things and listened to one another and learned from each other. However, we both also loved country music, going bowling together, and other fun things.
Having a roommate is one of many new experiences that you will have as a college student. If you remember to keep God first and be considerate of your roommate, then you have the possibility of developing a great relationship! Look forward to this!
Majoring in Finance, Class of 2021
Favorite Book: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Favorite Celebrity Meeting: I once introduced Steve Forbes at an event and received a signed book.
My Favorite Role I Have Ever Played: Tevye from Fiddler on the Room
Favorite Things to Collect: Records and Board Games
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