The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

How to Respect and Get Along with Your Roommate(s)

Communal living is a key part of our residential community. Learn tips and tricks to make it a positive experience.
Hannah Kothari

Residential life is an important part of college. It might be the first time for some of you to live with another person. This is challenging. Three key words make you successful in becoming a good roommate: respect, agreement and communication.

1. Be respectful to your roommate.
You and your roommate are paired up by the Office of Residence Life (ResLife) based on the survey you submitted in late July. Even though ResLife has tried their best to pair students with similar lifestyles and habits up, it is inevitable that you and your roommate have different living habits. Try to respect your differences and don’t pass unnecessary judgment. For example, when two people look at the same desk, one might think it is messy, while another thinks it is tidy because they can find what they want. Be respectful of the differences.

2. Spend some time with your roommate to discuss the roommate agreement.
During orientation, you will all write and sign a roommate agreement with your roommate. Your Junior Advisor (JA) will help you to finish it. This agreement covers everything from when and where you like to study to which things are ok to borrow from each other. Based on my observations as a JA last year, if you finish this agreement with your roommate patiently and honestly together, you will likely not encounter big residential trouble.

3. Communication is key.
Whenever you feel uncomfortable about your roommate’s behavior or lifestyle, try to communicate with them directly.For instance, “Hey, you didn’t lock the door this morning. Could you lock the door when you go out?” Ignoring the situation won’t benefit anyone!

Hopefully, with these three tips, you and your roommate will build trust in each other and get along. It takes time to transition from your original lifestyle to college residential life. Some people take longer than others. Be patient with yourself and your roommate. If these tips don’t help in your situation, please reach out to your JA. All JAs are prepared to help you, and as upperclassmen, they have gone through the situation you are facing.

Personally speaking, I am grateful that I lived with another person in my first year. Shared residential experience taught me how to build trust, communicate, be more caring, and be less self-centered. It let me observe the difference between one another.

Sometimes, difficult situations are caused by other factors beyond residential space. As a first year student and an 18-ish-year-old, you might feel unfamiliar with a new campus. You might come from a place far away from Bates and are experiencing homesickness. You might not find your new friends yet and miss your high school friends. You might feel lost. These are all important experiences of college life. Be patient with yourself. Find your own spaces on campus.

No matter what happens, communicate! Nothing is unsolvable. I wish you a wonderful residential journey with your roommate and hope you will get along famously with each other for many years to come.

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About the Contributor
Willa Wang
Willa Wang, Managing Forum Editor
Willa Wang ’25 is a junior from Beijing, China, double majoring in history and philosophy with a minor in German. She is excited to work as the Managing Forum Editor this year and share her thoughts and observations. When she is not reading or writing, she dances flamenco, swims, and teaches calligraphy. She is a member of ResLife, international club, and 2 B.E.A.T.S.. Previously, Willa served as an Assistant Forum Editor.

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