This time two years ago, I remember nervously reading the e-mail with my random roommate assignment. I had heard horror stories galore of the terrible tenants my relatives, recent graduates, and cousins of cousins had to endure. The advice I received regarding roommates basically went like this: don’t room with your best friend, but don’t room with somebody random either.
Well, I wasn’t from the Greenville area and wasn’t aware of many people going to ECU, so I crossed my fingers and let the fates decide who my roommate would be. I survived the random roommate process. And you will, too.
Meeting Your Random Roommate
Meeting your random roommate, regardless of who they are, will probably be a little strange. It’s hard to have your first conversation with someone as you are simultaneously unpacking your belongings, but just know that you aren’t the only one feeling awkward. Smile and give them a chance–you want to start out your first year at ECU on the right foot.
After moving in, my roommate and I went to a lot of the on-campus activities to get to know each other. We attended Convocation and Pirate Palooza together, which are the first two ECU events where you will get a chance to meet other students. Of course, it was a little awkward, as is to be expected–but the two of us were able to get to know the person we were going to be living with for the next nine months, regardless of whether or not we’d be best friends.
Speaking of best friends–don’t be disappointed if you don’t think you and your roommate are going to be best friends forever. You can still hang out, have fun, and respect each other’s space without wearing friendship bracelets. Most of the people I know (including myself) found that they had gained a new friend in their roommate, just not necessarily a best friend.
Living With Your Random Roommate
When you first move in, your R.A. will ask you and your roommate to fill out and sign Roommate Contracts. Make sure you really think about the expectations you have for your room before going into this. My roommate and I were both very considerate and not confrontational, so we somewhat nixed the contract and said, “Let’s just be respectful, okay?” Do not do this. The situation changes as the year progresses, and if you’re secretly a neat freak and didn’t specify this on your contract, your R.A. won’t be able to help you out when your roommate leaves smelly laundry all over the floor.
You don’t have to be controlling or sound neurotic when filling out your contract, either. If I had to go back, I would’ve said, “I’m a pretty go-with-the-flow person, but I want to be completely honest about what I want on my contract just so that we can both be on the same page.” The more honest and communicative you are with your roommate and your R.A., the easier time you will have.
If You Have Problems With Your Roommate
No matter how cool, considerate, and compassionate you and your roommate are, there are bound to be minor problems at some point. Maybe you don’t usually mind that your roommate comes in a little loudly late at night, but now that it’s the end of the semester and you’re stressed and tired, you care.
Try communicating in a non-accusatory way with your roommate first. If your roommate blows you off and it becomes unbearable, talk to your R.A. about it. He or she should talk to your roommate about the issue. (Also, don’t be afraid to talk to your R.A. You’re not being a snitch–this isn’t high school, and it’s your living space. You deserve to be happy where you live.) If your roommate still seems to be unresponsive to these talks and warnings, ask your R.A. about changing rooms. Chances are that at least a handful of people will be switching rooms at the same time you are, and some of these unruly roommates will find each other and become each other’s roommates.
My roommate and I were total pacifists, but the wear-and-tear of the semester would even stress our roommate relationship at times. Just remember that you don’t always get along with your family, and it works the same with a roommate!
But overall…GET PSYCHED!!
You’re about to embark on an awesome college adventure with someone you’ve never met. It will be amazing. It will be frustrating. It will be life-changing…embrace it.