Core Decorum: Nine factors to consider when choosing a roommate

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It is that time of year again: the time to choose roommates. Spring housing registration for the 2015-2016 year begins April 7, so if you have not already, now is the time to figure out your living arrangements for the fall. This is an important decision, and you need to think about more than just whether you and your potential roommates are friends. To help you out, we put together a list of factors to take into consideration.

1. How do you get along? It is definitely important to get along with a roommate. You might even be thinking about living with your best friends. This can be a wonderful arrangement, but it can also be a recipe for disaster. Good friends are great to hang out with, but getting along does not necessarily mean you will gel together as roommates.

2. How do you study? If you like to read or study in your room, it is especially important to choose a roommate wisely. Make sure potential roommates know that you are going to need some peace and quiet at certain times, or make sure they are people with whom you can get work done.

3. What are your schedules like? Think about your daily routine. Do you get up every morning at 6:30 or stay up every night until then? If you are a morning person, and you are thinking of living with a night owl, consider how that could affect both of you.

4. How neat or messy are you? While some people do not mind the level of orderliness in a room, others find a mess distracting or irritating. Disagreements about neatness can start off small but snowball into larger arguments.

5. In what sort of place do you want to live? Are you moving into a dorm or an apartment? Will you have two bedrooms or three? Think about how you personally operate. If you know you need your own space, you will probably be better off getting a three-bedroom suite in the West Hall instead of the option for two.

6. On that note, how private are you? Do you prefer your clothes to stay on your side of the room, or would you be happier sharing everything? Do you mind if your roommates’ friends crash on the couch? Determining the answers to questions like these now will help avoid conflict later.

7. What are your smoking or drinking habits? Differences in smoking or drinking habits could be a deal-breaker. A nonsmoker could find the smell of smoke bothersome, and an infrequent drinker might prefer not to take care of a heavy-drinking roommate after every TGIT.

8. Who is in your potential roommate’s circle of friends? You might love your friend, but living with a person means that you are likely to be seeing quite a bit more of that person’s friends. If you do not already know those people, this is a great opportunity to make new friends. However, if your roommate’s significant other is someone you cannot stand, that might sour your relationship.

9. How does your potential roommate complement you? One of the joys of being in college is learning from people who are different than you. You might want to consider choosing a roommate whose qualities are complementary to yours. Someone who is shy could benefit from having a relatively more outgoing roommate who brings him out. Someone who has trouble studying might benefit from having a more focused roommate who encourages her to study with her. Just be aware of the fine line between complementary personalities and opposites.

The most important thing to remember when choosing a roommate is to be honest, both with yourself and with your potential roommate or roommates. If you are upfront about your own personality, preferences and habits now, it will make for a much smoother and more enjoyable living arrangement next year.

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