Your college roommates will probably be the first people you will share a home with besides your family. Living at home with parents is very different. You probably had responsibilities that you knew you had to take care of, but you didn’t have to worry about things like rent, bills and other issues. If you can deal with the most common roommate problems in an effective way, you may end up with friends for life.
Are you planning on sharing food or having separate supplies? This is a very important thing to decide from the very beginning. If you decide to have your own separate foods, split up the refrigerator and cabinet space. Sharing food can be an economical choice because you will probably be buying less of each item and won’t have to throw away as much food if it goes bad. Decide which foods you will share. If there is a particular food item that you need, like a breakfast cereal that you eat every day, you may want to provide your own supply. If you are both home for dinner often, take turns cooking meals that you both like. That will lessen the burden and inconvenience of cooking for one every night.
Nothing causes arguments like money does. It is important that you and your roommates establish a method for paying the bills. One way to do this is to have each roommate responsible for a separate utility bill. That way, one person isn’t stuck with all the financial responsibility. Make a list of all of the monthly bills and stick it to the refrigerator. List the dates that bills are due, and when a new one comes in, let them know the total and how much they owe. Always keep copies of bills so that any disputes can be resolved.
College roommates should always have a guest policy. Before you even move in together, sit down and have a discussion about your expectations as roommates. Are you someone who values quiet and privacy? You are probably going to have to set some ground rules if your roommate is a party animal. Set specific rules that you can both agree on, regarding when guests can stay overnight, how many people you can have over at a time, and how often. Write down the rules and stick to them.
If your roommate is trying to study for a final exam, she probably won’t appreciate you blasting your heavy metal music in the next room. Set rules about how late music can be played and how loud the television can be. Sharing a living space is all about compromises, so be prepared to make some sacrifices. Excess noise can put all of you at risk for violating the lease or even possibly eviction.
Some of the biggest roommate blowouts come from disputes about cleaning. It is inevitable that one of you will be more of clean-freak and one will be more of a slob. The best way to overcome these differences is to establish a weekly cleaning schedule. Determine which chores need to be done and schedule them. Then split up the chores on the sheet and initial the task when it is completed.