April 3, 2013

Dear Freshman: Tips on finding a match

By Tyler Mercer–

If you like to keep a neat and organized room, a messy roommate will make for a messy situation later on.

There are certain things to remember when it comes time to pick a new roommate again: the obvious questions about where you’ll be living and who will bring what in terms of electronics and furniture. However, more important than where you’ll be living is who you will be living with, if anyone.

Many people have seen first-hand what happens when your living situation goes wrong. Maybe you and your roommate get into a huge fight, or maybe more awkward than a fight, you simply stop communicating completely. That will make for some really uncomfortable encounters in the kitchen and living room.

You don’t necessarily have to experience something like that though, because there are ways for you to avoid it entirely. Choosing a roommate isn’t taken seriously enough these days. You aren’t supposed to just pick a friend that you’re pretty close to. You need to pick someone who you can live with for, potentially, up to a year.

Many people will say that their best friend will be their roommate and the two of them won’t have any problems because, hey, they’re best friends. Well, unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Many people come to college thinking the same thing and before the end of the first semester they’ve realized that living with their best friend isn’t as much fun as they thought it would be. They may even get so tired of each other that it ends up causing a huge fight and the friendship is lost.

Aside from potentially losing a friend, there are other things you need to ask before deciding on a roommate. These questions aren’t for your roommate though, they’re for yourself. If you know specifics about yourself, you’ll be more prepared to choose a roommate that you can have a healthy relationship with.

Take a look at your desk, closet, or whatever you frequent in your room. Is it dirty? What about your roommates? Are you okay with having a dirty room (or house!) if you have a roommate who isn’t tidy? If not, you’re going to need to make sure you know what kind of housekeeper you’ll be living with. A sink full of dirty dishes could be the tipping point for some people.

If you have a job that runs late, late classes, or you are simply a night owl, you’re not going to want to room with someone who likes to rise with the sun or who has class and work early in the mornings. Fights about noise and other things that seem worse with sleep deprivation could not only ruin the relationship you have with your roommate, but they could also create a hostile environment that wouldn’t be good for anyone involved.

Ask yourself a few more questions: Do you drink? Do you smoke? Like to have friends over? Enjoy hosting parties? These and more are all things that could end up ruining a living situation. However, all of these are avoidable if you simply take a look at them prior to moving in with someone.

Is it worth losing a friendship or a relationship because you lived together and it didn’t work out? Personally, I’d say no. Don’t forget that not having a roommate is certainly an option. If you don’t want to have to worry about someone else’s schedule, sleep pattern or overall cleanliness, think about opting out of the roommate option.

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Photo by Tyler Mercer/The Louisville Cardinal

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