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Living Arrangements

Conversation Starters

Relaxing in your new room or enjoying your first supper together is an excellent opportunity to get to know each other. It's important to learn more about your roommate and their own quirks early in the year. The following are good conversation starters for your first chat. There's no need to delve into anything too personal right away. Take it slow. Use your own words and let the sharing begin!

  • What are you looking forward to at college? Is there anything you're nervous about?
  • Where did you grow up? What was it like?
  • What do you feel comfortable telling me about your friends and family back home?
  • Have you ever shared a room with someone? If so, what was it like for you?
  • Are you more of a morning person or a night owl? 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 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. For example, 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 it feels like a truly shared space. And, when the mood strikes to change it again, 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 or family to call?

Using Each Other's Stuff

Sharing with your roommate may make perfect sense right now. But, how will you feel if you see her wearing your favorite sweater on campus? What if she loans one of your books 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 As BFFs

Roommates don't need to be best friends. Acquaintances can be excellent roommates, as long as you respect each other and are willing to communicate. If you and your roommate don't wind up as best buddies, don't despair. It probably just means you've found folks with common interests in other areas and you are focusing your energy on them.

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