We have all heard the horror stories about living with a roommate in college: “She steals my food,” “She has guys over every night,” “She borrows my clothes without asking all the time.” So, for all the brand new baby Gators (congrats class of 2017!), enjoy my newly developed expertise on living with a roommate.
Many students have never had to share a room by the time they come to school. Unfortunately, sharing a room or bed on camping trips, vacations and sleepovers don’t count. A roommate is someone who shares your room all of the time, 24/7 for an entire school year. The room is just as much hers or his just as much as it is yours. If you choose to live with a friend that you’ve known for a while then you may be in luck, you already know all about their living habits. But, for those of us that are living with someone we’ve never met before, a roommate can be a scary thing.
I met my roommate on RoomSurf, a website that allows you to sign up through Facebook and matches you to potential roommates based on the results of a survey. It felt a lot like online dating except instead of touting the wonders of long walks on the beach, you talk about what temperature you like the room and what time you go to bed. My roommate and I matched up 100 percent and the rest is, as they say, history. We decided to live together and after the initial awkward stage during the first few weeks, we became very good friends. In fact, we are living together next year as well.
But this won’t necessarily be the case for everyone. Learning to live with someone in your space can be very difficult. I talked to my hall mates Caitlin Radigan, a biology freshman, and Adryanna Rivera-Delgado, a nursing freshman. They both live together and had never met before deciding to live together. “We met each other on RoomSync,” Rivera-Delgado explained. RoomSync is a Facebook application the university recommends for those looking for a roommate.
Rivera-Delgado and Radigan hit it off and spoke on the phone and texted a lot before actually coming to school. Rivera-Delgado is from Ocala and Radigan is from Sanibel Island, so they never had a chance to meet.
Their first semester living together taught them some valuable lessons about life with a roommate. “We had completely different schedules last semester,” said Radigan. “I usually went to bed earlier and got up earlier. So, it always felt like one of us was always sleeping when the other was up. Both of us never felt like we could live and work in our room if the other person needed to sleep.”
“We didn’t know each other that well and didn’t know how to live with each other,” Rivera-Delgado agreed. The lesson here? Be realistic. Even if you meet someone through a roommate website and think you know them, they can still surprise you. “Really get to know the other person’s habits and personality before moving in together,” said Radigan. “Be completely truthful and don’t tell them what you think they want to hear.”
Also keep in mind that people change their habits once they leave high school. My roommate and I both told each other we usually went to bed anywhere between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m. Now that we don’t have a high school schedule, we go to bed much later than that usually.
“The first semester will be rough because you’re trying to find a way to live with someone. Until you find that perfect groove, it can be difficult. If something bothers you, then bring it up right away. Don’t bottle it up until you finally explode,” said Radigan.
Once you do find that balance it can be great to live with someone. My roommate and I share a lot: food, clothes, shoes, hair products, and advice just to name a few. “The best part about living together is that we have very similar opinions on social issues,” said Rivera-Delgado. “We also share the same group of friends.”
Living with a roommate can be just a necessity or it can be like living with a best friend. You really can’t predict what will happen but you can prepare. Find someone on roommate matching sites like RoomSurf or RoomSync, you may be much happier with someone you can talk to and get to know. On that note, get to know that person as much as you can before meeting. Especially if your first meeting is when you move in together, you’ll want to get to know them because they are sharing half of your room. Having a roommate can be a completely strange experience but it can also be wonderful.
Blogger, Abbie Dorwart, with her roommate, Teagan Corrigan.