Dear College Student,

it’s that time of the year!  College is back in session.  My Mom has some very interesting stories about some of her college roommates.  Here is some advice she has for those of you that might be meeting your new roommate(s) soon.

The first thing is to have a house meeting as early as possible.  As soon as you meet your new roomies, it’s best to schedule a time to sit down and discuss house or room rules.  The sooner the better.

This meeting is not the time to be a pushover.  See, everyone is new and you don’t know each other well enough to personally offend each other.  Be clear about your boundaries and expectations.  Talk about things like sleep requirements, lights out, schedules, study hours, quiet hours, music/tv hours, cleaning schedules, visitors, household/room supplies, bill payments if applicable, borrowing/sharing items, and anything else you can think of.

Of course, there might be some compromise but hopefully, everyone will want a home environment where studying can happen.  Get things in writing and post this somewhere visible.  Most dorms or university apartments have resident advisors (RA) who can help with issues that might come up during the year.  This first meeting can help avoid many potential problems down the road.  When my Mom was at USC, she lived in a school apartment off-campus. Her RA met with all the different apartments in the building and discussed house rules at the very beginning of the semester. There was a form that the RA filled out.

This first meeting is especially important if you move off-campus because there might not be a resident advisor around. Even if you end up living with friends and you guys know each other well, you probably haven’t lived together before and if you say something earlier rather than later, it’s less likely to be offensive. Don’t wait until it is too late!

Here is an example of why you should be upfront with your roomie right away instead of waiting to say something. One time, my Mom had a roommate who called her the wrong name.  During the first week, Mom wrote her new roomie a note telling her that she was going out and when she’d be back.  The roommate couldn’t quite read Mom’s messy handwriting and got her name wrong. Mom tried to print her name more clearly in future notes but this tactic didn’t quite work.  She should have said something right away but then it got too late to say anything!  Sometimes, Mom would forget her other name and accidentally ignore her roommate. Mom had to constantly remind herself what her name was at home.  It definitely pays to say something earlier rather than wait!

This little doggie hopes all the college students out there have a fantastic fall semester!  Ta ta for now!


Snowball Pierre