Avoid the Drama: Talk to Your College Roommate About These Things ASAP

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You've made it through four years of high school and are finally ready to be a bonafide college freshman. If you're going away to school, a major part of that includes living on your own, likely with a total stranger for a roommate. You guys may have bonded over social media (and may have even found each other that way!) but hitting it off online doesn't necessarily mean that you won't have to learn to gel with one another's living patterns, even if you two do end up becoming BFFs IRL. Sharing a space can be tough, but there are plenty of ways to make it as smooth and relaxed as possible. Talking to your roommate is one of them.

You're likely going to be living in as close quarters as you'll ever be with anyone, which means that setting a few expectations and rules for your space is important for both of you to stay sane all semester. Here are the things you should definitely discuss with your roommate before the first week of school is over to save some potential drama down the road.

1. How clean you expect your dorm to be.

You two may understand tidying up for when your parents are in town or for a dreaded room inspection, but just how neat should it be on an average day? If you're totally lax about having to step over clothes to access the door, that's great - but your roommate may not be so hyped about it. If you suspect that you are a Joey and your new roomie is a Monica, definitely discuss standards first.

2. What your guest policy is.

Assuming that your dorm allows non-residents as guests, this issue could come up. If your new roommate has a boyfriend from out of town, are you cool with him sharing your space for a few days? What about guests during the week? It's way better to outline some basic ground rules so no one gets salty about a sitch later on.

3. What you need to get a good night's sleep.

If you sleep like a rock, this might not be a problem. If your roommate's occasional giggles at a 30 Rock rerun on Netflix will keep you up all night, you might want to wok on a compromise. A sleep mask and ear plugs can work wonders, as will your roommate wearing headphones during late-night binge-watching.

4. What you're cool with having in your room (and what you're not.)

It's perfectly acceptable to want to feel safe and secure in your own room, and your roommate should respect that. If your roommate is all about the scented candles and the thought of her accidentally leaving one lit after heading to class freaks you out, let her know. Same goes for bigger things that could potentially get both of you in trouble: you're allowed to speak up about what you are and what you are not comfortable with.

5. When it's okay to have your room to yourself.

When you start sharing a room with someone, you no longer have the same level of privacy that you would if you were living solo. Locking your roommate out of your dorm without warning so you and your science class crush can have some solo study time is a fast way to annoy anyone, so come up with a system for when those situations do arise.
Consider cohabitation one of the very first lessons that college will teach you - it might end up being more fun than you could have ever imagined.
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