If you’ve been for a tour of St. Jerome’s already, you’ll know that about half of the beds in our residence are in double rooms. And you know what that means… Roommates! I can totally appreciate that the idea of having a roommate might bring up a lot of mixed feelings. Some of you are probably super excited – you’ve been looking forward to the college roommate life for so long! Or maybe you’re a bit nervous – what if your roommate experience is like the horror stories you’ve read online? It’s likely that you’re a little bit of both, and my hope is to address a few of your concerns and put some of those jittery feelings to rest.
Something that should bring some semblance of comfort is that St. Jerome’s is very intentional about community building. Instead of using a computerized pairing system or a random lottery, the SJU Dons intentionally hand-pair roommates based on the extensive residence questionnaires you fill out. As a Don myself, I can confirm that we spend hours upon hours reading residence questionnaires and pairing roommates based on interests, sleeping habits, and the truly weird quirks you disclose.
Now, full disclosure on my part, I didn’t have a roommate in my first year at St. Jerome’s. I lived in a single room, but I can assure you, I have done very extensive and scientific research with SJU students to find out the most important things to know about having a roommate in residence.
10 Tips to Thrive as Roommates:
Communicate – This is number one because it’s the most important thing! Get to know the person you’re living with. Ask questions like “for what in life do you feel most grateful?” and “what do you value most in a friendship?”. In asking questions and sharing about yourself, you’ll gain a much better understanding of how to best support each other.
Set some boundaries – Maybe this means setting a lights out guideline on weeknights or having separate shelves for non-sharing food in the fridge. You’ll come into residence with a different lived experience than your roommate – and that’s okay! If you have those chats, it will prevent possible conflicts in the future. Yay for mutual respect!
You don’t have to spend all of your time together – Even if your roommate is your very best friend, you will still need some time apart. No two humans are meant to spend every waking (and sleeping) hour together.
Give each other some time each week to be in the room alone – No matter how much you like each other, everyone needs some alone time every now and then. Spend some of your study time in the library or go to the gym for an hour to give your roommate time to decompress (and ask them to do the same for you).
Talk to your roommate before having people over – This is another extension of the “communicate” tip, but that’s because communication matters, people! No one wants to come home at the end of a long day and find 6 people chilling in their space. Keep those conversations open and life will be so much easier!
Have the “please don’t” chat – More communication, I know, there’s a theme here. Your roommate (probably) isn’t gifted with the power of telepathy, and they won’t know something is bothering you unless you tell them. If you’re seriously irritated by something, talk about it!
Get headphones before you move in – Even if you and your roommate have identical taste in music, it doesn’t mean they want to hear it every time you’re jamming out at 3am.
Let them know when you’re going through it – And tell them what you need. If you need some extra space for a couple of days, let them know.
If you drink the last of the water, refill the pitcher – Please.
Have FUN – You’re in this together! Laugh, make memories and remember to appreciate the eight short months you have together – the time will fly by.
University is all about learning and having a roommate will be a huge part of that experience. You’ll learn how to communicate better, how to embrace the really strange habits of other people, and in spending so much time with another person, you’ll learn more about yourself and your needs. Living in residence is a truly unique and fantastic experience. You’ll probably never again have the opportunity to form friendships quite as intimately or share life as closely with the people you care about. Get excited! And cherish your time here, the challenges and the triumphs, because you’ll miss it as soon as it’s over.
If you haven’t come to visit for a tour yet, what are you waiting for? You can book a tour online here
, or visit us at March Break Open House
If you have any unanswered questions about roommates, residence, or St. Jerome’s in general, please feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
and I will get right back to you!
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