Living Arrangements

Initial Conversation Starters 
You may be relaxing in the comforts of your new room or you may be enjoying your first roommate supper of the season. Whatever the case may be, it is important to start learning more about each other and start discovering who this person you will be living with is early in the year. The following questions provide good conversation starters for your initial meeting-you don't want to delve into anything too personal right away, after all. Put them in your own language and let the sharing begin!

  • What are you looking forward to here at college? Is there anything you're nervous about?
  • Where are you from? What was it like growing up there? What do you feel comfortable telling me about your friends and family back home?
  • Have you ever shared a room with someone before? If so, what was it like for you?
  • Are you more of a morning or a night person? When do you typically go to bed? Wake up?
  • Do you know what your major will be? If so, what do you hope to do with it? What are some of your hobbies, interests, and talents?
  • What type of environment helps you concentrate on your studies most effectively (i.e. can you study with music on or others in the room, etc.)?
  • What types of things are you hoping to get involved in this year?
  • What do you think are the most important things for us to work on as roommates?

The First Steps
As you prepare to settle into the room, talk about some of these "little things" that could easily become major points of contention in the future: The Alarm Clock: Will you both use the same clock? When will it be set? What about the snooze button? What if someone is sleeping through the alarm? Tip: Don't ever make it your roommate's responsibility to wake you up!

Arranging the Room
Do this together when you first move in so that it is a partnership. And, when the mood strikes to change it again mid-semester, make sure you talk about it first! Tip: Have the TV viewable from both beds.

The Phone
Where and how should messages be left? How late is it okay for friends/family to call?

Using Each Other's Stuff 
The desire to share with your roommate may make perfect sense right now. Yet, how will you feel if you see her wearing your favorite sweater on campus? What if she loans one of your CDs to another friend? Talk now about what is okay to share and what needs to stay put. Tip: If there is only one computer in the room, talk specifically about rules for use.

The Myth of Roommates Having to Be Friends
The myth that roommates need to be best friends is false. Acquaintances can be excellent roommates, as long as respect and the willingness to communicate are present. If you and your roommate don't wind up as best buds, don't despair. It probably just means you've found folks with common interests in other areas and you are focusing your friendship energy on them.