Now that June is here, many colleges and universities are beginning to release lists of dorm and roommate assignments (finally!). If you went potluck, or didn’t request a roommate, the name you see listed will probably be completely new to you. So, how do you meet your roommate and organize a whole year of living without ever seeing him or her in person? Here are three types of questions to be sure to ask your roommate before the day of the big move-in.
Questions of introduction are generally those that are asked first and help you to figure out who your roommate is. They help to define what you and your roommate have in common, and let you know the type of person you will be living with. Yet, if you find that the two of you seem to have little in common, don’t worry! In fact, living with someone with completely different tastes and interests may help expose you to a whole new realm of previously undiscovered music, movies, hobbies, or lifestyles. Really, there are a thousand possible getting-to-know-you questions to ask, but here are a few to start you out:
Where are you from?
What will you be studying?/What is your major?
What music do you listen to? What are your favorite movies?
What is your favorite color?
What made you choose this school?
What do you spend a lot of time doing?
If everything goes well (which it will- don’t stress!), you’ll be living with this person for a year in a generally small room. To both maximize space and minimize stress, you’ll want to do as much pre-planning as possible. That way, when move-in comes, you don’t have doubles of items and you know what to buy. Possible questions to ask:
Will we have a tv/printer/sound system/couch/refrigerator/microwave/etc? If so, who is bringing what?
Do we have the ability to “loft” or raise our beds? If so, will we? Will that open up space for other items, such as a couch or extra set of drawers?
When do you move in? If I move in earlier, do you want me to wait to arrange the room? Do you have a bed preference?
Do we want to coordinate our colors and decorations? What color is your bedding? How are you decorating?
Beginning a successful roommate relationship is all about learning to honor and adapt to your roommate’s preferences. Of course, not all preferences will automatically align with your own, which makes knowing what to expect beforehand that much more important so that you can plan ahead. For example, does your new roommate prefer early mornings? Make sure to buy yourself an eye mask or ear plugs to learn to sleep through his or her early rise. Questions in this category include:
When do you generally wake up in the morning? When do you go to bed?
Do you drink often? Smoke?
Do you study often?
Are you sensitive to sound?
Are you clean/organized? Do you expect the room to be clean most of the time?
Is there anything you’re allergic to, such as certain scents or cleaning products?
I’m not saying to send a giant email or Facebook message full of questions, as everyone goes through a different process of getting to know their new roommate and becoming comfortable living with him or her. Yet, asking some of these questions periodically can help to minimize the stress of the first day you meet (moving in is already stressful enough itself without adding in the bad feeling of hauling up a TV only to find that there is already one in your room!), and set yourself up for a year of both cooperation and a good relationship. Living with a stranger in a dorm setting is a big and exciting step in the college experience, so make sure to start it off right! Good luck!