Dormitory Life: Roommates, Community Bathrooms, RAs OH MY!
Before even starting college, the top priority for new freshman is finding a roommate, specifically someone not crazy. I have not seen The Roommate starring Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, and Cam Gigandet, but I know this movie had been a big joke my freshman year and a lot of people's fears. In this article you will find that, it is possible to get a crazy roommate, but also how to fix that problem.
Where to look for a roommate? Many use Facebook where people submit a "survey" on the group page looking for someone to pick them. It is kind of like Match.com, but for roommates. There are even websites that have a program set up for you to find the "perfect roommate." I will NOT give you these websites, even the legitimate ones, because there are three ways to find the best roommate.
- Friend from high school (preferably one that does not irritate you)
- Freshman Orientation: This is where you will get to meet some people before school starts and who knows you might find your new best friend. Tip: Do not go into orientation thinking all the people you meet are now your "biffles." (See Orientation Article)
- THE BEST WAY: Fill out a roommate matching survey through the school. People get scared that this matching system will not be good because once you get the roommate, they think they are stuck with them. The surveys are really good and the best part is they match you with people that have the same sleep cycle as you do.
So, now you are paired up with your roommate. What if you hate them? You absolutely cannot live with them! There are many routes for this. The first approach would be to talk to your RA.
Residential Advisers aka RAs
Residential Advisers are upperclassman that live on your hallway to help you with your transition into dormitory life. They are trained for any situation. Yes, they make money, but they also care. Many students apply to be RAs, but the few that get selected are usually the leaders of campus. Look to your RA for help because most likely they have the answer. They can conduct a mediation between you and your roommate. As a result, a roommate agreement will be written up and both of you will signed if you are content. Do not forget that it is also theirroom too.
If this fails, you can move out of your room into an open space. This space will most likely have a roommate as well. Unlike your old roommate that was paired with you because of mutual interest, this one can be completely different. They might like to wake up at 6 am to go for a jog, come back for a shower, and get dressed with all the lights on while you are sleeping. That is why this should be a last resort when thinking of switching. It could always get worse.
My freshman year we were not allowed to have private rooms unless we paid double than a single room. This is an option, but will be difficult to do. First your roommate would have to move out. After they move out, you need to contact Residential Living right away! They will seal off your room from someone trying to move in with you. Of course, they will if they approve of you have a private room. Upperclassman dorms have private rooms already established, so when you are an upperclassman, that is an option. Check with your campus about private rooms. Every college is different.
What if your roommate is great? There will always be times when you do not agree. You need to learn how to compromise. Each person has to give up something for both of you to be happy. As long as you feel comfortable, you will be fine. Never live with someone that makes you uncomfortable or you will be constantly upset.
Now to hit one of my own worse fears my freshman year:
These bathrooms are shared by the hallway. Usually 6 or more people use that bathroom.
For the boys, this is not that big of deal as long as boys are not being creepy. For instance, my guy friends have told me of a boy who would sit in a stall waiting for the guys to leave to do his business or just leave the bathroom. Another story, one guy opened the shower curtain on my friend while showering and openly "examined" him.
For the girls, the big deal is the mornings. Some girls like to wake up early to take their showers, do their hair, and makeup. When a bathroom has 1 to 3 showers in there, a line forms. Once the school year picks up, you will learn the routines of the other girls and be able to figure out when is the best time to take a shower. Until you learn this routine, do not expect a shower a half-hour before class starts.
You are sharing a shower with other people.
- Wear flip flops. This will prevent athletes foot.
- Keep soap, shampoo, and towel in your room. Anything left in the bathroom can be taken by other residents or the cleaning crew. Tip: Use a plastic portable shower caddy. Quick to grab to and from room.
- ALWAYS be respectful to the other people. There are people who are uncomfortable with you walking around nude, not because you look terribly, but because to them it could be rude. Nude = Rude Use a robe or towel when walking back to your room, in your flip flops.
The bathroom situation was not as bad as I thought it would be, especially since I like showers at night. Showers at night are more flexible because you can always wait for a shower to open unlike the mornings. Your hair will look not as great the next day because you slept on it.
This is college, though! No one cares what you look like, unless you go to a private school! People wear pajamas to their 8 am classes. Some just wear weird things in general. You cannot go wrong with a T-Shirt and jeans.