Picking out which college to attend is one of the more traumatizing decisions a high school graduate will face. That is, until you get to choosing your college roommate for the semester. That advanced math class you signed up for, a bit too enthusiastically in retrospect, might seem a bit challenging, but it’s nothing compared to how difficult your life can get with a bad roomie. Conversely, with a good roommate, you are much more likely enjoy your overall college experience.
What makes someone a good roommate? How do you spot a bad one? What steps can you take to become a good roommate yourself? To help you find the answer to questions such as these, we have created a practical guide for choosing your colege roommate for the coming semester.
Do a Little Research Online
Your search for the one true college roommate has to start somewhere. While approaching random people on college campus might work for some individuals, you are more likely to find someone that fits the bill by doing a bit of research online. Most college campuses around the world have associated Facebook groups for exchanging information about accommodation, finding roommates, and getting to know other students. Start by browsing existing college roommate offers – even if you don’t immediately find someone you like, you will at least get a sense of what you can expect going forward. You can then post an offer of your own, and see if anyone is interested. If there are takers, you can then take a glance at their Facebook profiles to see how they present themselves online.
Meet Your Potential Roomie in Person
Once you have found a worthy candidate to share living space with, it is time to get to know each other a little bit better. Start by greeting them online, follow it up with an exchange of contact info, and finally schedule a meeting at a time and place you both find convenient. Meeting your potential college roommate for the first time is like a mixture between an interview, a casual chat, and a bonding ritual. It’s purpose is to find out whether the two of you are on the same page on a number of things related to living together. It is important not to get sidetracked in conversations such as these – while it might be fun to talk about your pets for hours, ultimately you are meeting with this person for one specific purpose. If you become roommates in the future, there will be plenty (and I mean plenty) of time to hang out and have long-winded conversations about nothing in particular.
Find Someone That Shares Your Habits and Interests
So what should you look for in a college roommate? The truth is, it really depends on who’s asking. Some people are sticklers for hygiene, and won’t even consider living with someone that doesn’t uphold the same strict standards. Others like to socialize a lot, so they dread the possibility of ending up living with someone they find boring. If we wanted to generalize this dilemma a bit, we could say that in order to find a flatmate, you need to figure out what their habits and interests are, and how well they compliment your own. If you have a habit of staying up all night, you are likely to get along well with a person that does the same. Similarly, if you have a passion for classical music, watching football, or pub-crawling, finding a college roommate that shares your interests will go a long way towards building a friendly, respectful relationship.
Take a Look Into The Mirror
Finding the right college roommate is only one half of the equation – the other one is you yourself. When looking through potential candidates, it is easy to end up focusing only on what you want from a roommate, and disregard the fact that the other person has his own opinions on the subject as well. To address this discrepancy, you need to take a long, hard look at who you are, and what kind of college roommate you would be. Think about your daily habits, the rules you adhere to, and especially about any quirks you have that others might find objectionable. Chances are pretty good that you will aspects of yourself that you dislike, just as you did when screening other people. It is important to be aware of your own shortcomings, as well as of the things that make you appealing as a roommate.
Finding the right college roommate is a process that involves a lot of thinking, trial and error, and most importantly an adjustment of your hopes and expectations. It is something that is hard to sum up in a formula, hence a guide such as this will only get you so far. In the end, you have to trust your instincts, and hope they will lead you to someone you can spend your college years with.