Living With a Roommate in the US

Having a roommate who lives with you in the same room is not a common notion in most parts of the world. While they may be used to having ‘apartment mates’, a roommate not so much.

The reality is that if you end up living in student housing, you will probably have a roommate, perhaps more than one! Having roommates gives you a great opportunity to network with other students. In turn, it can provide avenues to branch out and explore different academic and social interests you may not have considered before. However there might be some roommate politics involved as well, so here are a few tips on how you can live peacefully with your roommate without wanting to kill each other!

Know thy neighbor:

Nothing can be more awkward than sharing a living and sleeping space with someone you don’t ever speak to. With the roommate – perhaps more than with anyone else – you should make every effort to chat and get to know them.

Money woes:

Sharing a space with roommates means you will likely be sharing several costs of living, such as food and other everyday expenses. It’s important to have an early discussion with each person in the home to talk about how you will divide up living expenses in a fair manner. As for food, have a discussion about whether it makes sense to split the cost of groceries evenly or if each member of the home should purchase their own food.

Spaced out!

When you’re living together with anyone, it’s always important to give and take your own space. Everyone has days when they just want to sit in bed and eat pizza, but the best way to be relaxed both in your room and around your roommate is to minimize the amount of time you spend inside those four walls. If you give each other space, you are less likely to stress each other out!

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My Space:

This brings us to the next point of respecting personal space. While you may keep most of your personal items in your own bedroom, some of your belongings may stay in the common spaces in your home. If you would like for your roommates to either ask permission to use these items or not use them at all, explain this so they will understand. It’s likely they’ll also have belongings that are off-limits to others. By taking the time to understand the preferences of each person and respecting personal space, you will be taking steps towards creating the best possible living environment.

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Same to same?

It’s highly unlikely that the two of you are going to miraculously have the same living habits, and a lot of the time you’re going to have to meet halfway. You may be a late riser while your roommate loves to wake up with the sun and put some music on to start their day! Some aspects of your lifestyle, while delightful at home, won’t apply when you have a roommate. You need to be willing to adapt.

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Ask way!

It’s important to understand that your roommate may come from a different background and has a different lifestyle. It’s likely they’ll have cultural norms that you’re not familiar with. Within the first few weeks of living together, you will have a much better understanding of how your roommates live day-to-day. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions and try to get a better understanding of the needs of each person in the home. You may even learn about a new culture!

So there you have it, some tips on navigating the slippery slope of having a roommate. And you never know, you may end up becoming best friends for life!

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