Many Washburn students came into this year oblivious about their roommates. Before moving in, maybe they talked to one of their roommates, maybe they talked to two or maybe they moved in completely blindsided about who they would be living with for the next nine months.
Being able to tell a roommate horror story is not something we wish. When we find someone who would be the “perfect fit” for the other side of our dorm room, we should get to know them better and only make arrangements to live together if things go well.
If that scenario doesn’t occur before August, it is a great idea to get to know one’s roommates better. Make a list of expectations and concerns before or shortly after classes start, and before the stress and deadlines ensue. The best way to do this is to simply sit down with one’s roommates and talk.
Fill out the packet that covers expectations on studying, socializing, cleaning and sleeping that the resident assistants hand out. It forces the group to discuss what they expect and need from each other in the living situation. Following this, find or come up with a list of both light-hearted and personal questions to answer to enhance the group bond.
My roommates and I did this, and it definitely made us bond and it gave us a bright future together. Of course, we started with something light, like “what is your favorite color?” and we all took turns answering the question. Over time, we moved into more personal questions like “how do you get in the way of your own success?” and “what events made you the person you are today?”
We made the atmosphere a comfortable space and we were all open to and accepting of each others’ answers. We made it known that if there was something we wished to not discuss, we would not be pressured to continue.
Not only did we bond, but we enjoyed our time together. It was both relaxing and interesting. Afterward, we all knew more about each other than we had before. We knew more about what we needed to do to keep peace in the room, and about what we expected from ourselves and from each other throughout the school year. We also learned how to help each other reach those expectations.
Being able to look at each other afterward and say “I never would have guessed that about you” put a smile on our faces and made us think about different activities we could do together.
Making these connections now rather than later in the semester, possibly after issues arise, not only prevents potential arguments and hurt feelings but it also makes the room feel homier. In turn, the occupants should have a safe space to relax, socialize and study in to make the school year a success.
Moving into college is stressful enough. Having at least one person, especially a roommate, that one knows or feels comfortable with provides the smallest bit of familiarity, but also a social connection. They can be someone to go to events with, to eat meals with and hopefully someone to confide in and trust. This could help make the huge transition from living at home with the people we have known for our entire lives to living in a huge foreign place a lot easier.