A Guide to Being a Happy Roommate and Having a Happy Roommate

by Isabella Lin ’18

Prior to coming to George School, I never experienced having a roommate let alone living away from home. As a result, I had no idea what to expect from a roommate, so I envisioned an entire scenario in the days before moving in… I would open the door to my beautiful dorm room, somehow already decorated, and upon seeing me, my roommate would throw up her hands and we would squeal and scream at each other in excitement, instantly becoming the best of friends.

In other words, I believed that roommates were destined to immediately feel a bond, get along perfectly, and live together in bliss and harmony for the rest of the high school years. Spoiler alert: This is likely impossible in all roommate scenarios. However, I do have proof that it’s entirely possible to live in blissful contentment with your roommate when you put in some effort and give it more time than one day.

When I met my roommate Ale, there wasn’t screaming or hair-braiding – we were two awkward and nervous sophomores, hoping that our roommate didn’t have an odd habit that would drive the other crazy. It isn’t an easy task to be assigned to live with someone you’ve never met, and it isn’t supposed to be. But remember, once you conquer high school boarding, college dorm life will be a breeze.

Tip #1: Acknowledge your roommate’s presence! I know this sounds silly, but a simple “good morning” and “good night” can go a long way to build a strong foundation for a long term roommate relationship. Not only does it feel natural to greet someone when you see them first thing in the morning, but it helps to create a friendly and home-y environment in your room.

Tip #2: Work out a sleeping time and waking time. Chances are, you and your roommate will have different sleeping schedules. Discuss this with your roommate as soon as possible so you both have correct information, and you and your roommate will have a happy year of undisturbed sleep. If you are an early-bird, gather your things the night before and position your alarm so that you don’t keep hitting snooze. If you stay up late, find another light source and invest in headphones or earphones.

Tip #3: Get a small bedside light. This correlates with the tip above. If you or your roommate needs a later night than the other, having a small bedside light is a great solution to problems with keeping the room lights on. A small, movable light doesn’t disturb the sleeping roommate, and gives enough light for the awake roommate.

Tip #4: Get a mini fridge and share it. Just do it. And be kind and share it, or if it’s your roommate’s fridge, nicely ask to share it. Stock it up with everything that makes you smile on a Monday. It’s a guaranteed mood-booster for both of you.

Tip #5: Have deep, existential conversations at night. Maybe not as deep as existential reflections, but open yourself up to listen to your roommate’s thoughts, or speak your own. When two roommates are lying awake at night, sometimes conversation is what feels the most natural. Don’t worry, this feeling is mutual, you won’t be left hanging. Talk about stress, interests, hopes, dreams, homesickness, or anything else that comes to mind in the moment. It’s a great way to bond with your roommate, and trust me, losing an hour or so of sleep talking with your roommate is worth it.

If you’re wondering, while I didn’t get my big, magical, and unreasonable moment of meeting my roommate, at the end of the year, I did gain a cherished friend for life. Good luck and happy boarding!

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Filed under dorm life, Student Work, Students

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