Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

April 18, 2013
Moving in with complete strangers at college is easier said than done

Normally when I sit down to write an article for the newspaper, I do my best to appeal to a wide audience. But today, I’m trying something new. Instead of trying to appeal to everyone, I’m writing this column for all high school seniors who are about to graduate and go to college.

Seniors: Your days of walking the halls of Tooele, Grantsville or Stansbury high schools are numbered. Most of you know what you’re planning to do next. Some of you will immediately enter the work world, others will head off on an LDS mission and some might even be planning a summer wedding.

But for those of you heading off to college this fall, I have some advice. This advice doesn’t pertain to studying, surviving finals or balancing work and school at the same time. This advice encompasses something that will affect every single aspect of your life: your college roommates.

Some of you will be lucky enough to go away to college and live with a friend, but others of you will be moving in with complete strangers.

Throughout the course of my four years at Dixie State University in St. George, I had at least a dozen different roommates. Some of them became my best friends, while others became people I couldn’t wait to finally get away from. I won’t name names.

So, what do you do if you move into an apartment or dorm with two or three people you don’t know? And what happens if you end up not getting along? It’s always important to try, regardless of how weird your new roommates may seem, but that’s sometimes easier said than done.

From personal experiences, the following five tips will give you some ideas on how to survive college roommates with which you don’t get along.

1. Invest in a pair of earplugs. College apartments are notorious for having thin walls. If you don’t want to hear your roommates’ every conversation (although that can occasionally be entertaining) or their music blaring in the middle of the night, you’ll need them. This will subsequently prevent you from pounding on their bedroom door at 2 a.m. insisting that they shut up, therefore turning yourself into the roommate who no one likes because you wake everyone up in the middle of the night.

2. Don’t expect anyone to clean but you. If you’re lucky enough to have a roommate who wants to follow a cleaning schedule, or divvy out chores, then don’t ever let them move out. Because usually, if you want something to be cleaned — even dishes that you didn’t eat off of — you’ll have to do it yourself. This also goes for the microwave, stovetop, oven, bathroom sink and shower. The alternative is not pretty. Trust me.

3. Whenever you enter your apartment or dorm late at night, especially on Fridays or Saturdays, make a lot of noise. Stomping on the doorstep, jingling your keys and talking loudly are great ideas. This may seem counterproductive to my first tip, but this is the only surefire way to make sure that your roommate, who is kissing someone on the couch while they “watch a movie,” will know that you are about to come inside. Believe me, you will always have a roommate who is kissing someone on the couch. It’s college. Get used to it.

4. Label your food. This one is a no-brainer. It’s the best way to deter roommates from eating your food. However, if you buy a package of Oreos and a gallon of milk, those little cream-filled delights will most likely be devoured the second you leave your dorm. But if you label them, you will be allowed to shout “Who ate my cookies?!” when you get home, and usually the guilty party will fess up and promise to buy you a new package. Sometimes you have to be a squeaky wheel, but if you hold them to it, your roommate will eventually reimburse you.

5. Lastly, but most importantly, be patient. You usually only have to survive a bad roommate for one semester or one school year, and then you get a whole new crop to try out. And after college, a lot of people move back home with their parents, get married and move in with a spouse or get an apartment all on their own. You can do it. And when you’re a little older, you’ll have some great stories to tell your family, friends or even the local newspaper.

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