How to be a Good College Roommate

By Lisa Striffolino

Going from having your own bedroom for as long as you can remember to sharing your personal space with people you’ve never met before can, for some people, be a big shift.

During my freshman year at The University of Tampa, I lived with five other girls. Three girls that I talked with through the “University of Tampa Class of 2023” Facebook page and two girls who came in as random. Yes, you read that right. Six girls. Two bedrooms. One bathroom. That was the entire dorm. If you lived in a triple your freshman year, you know what it’s like.

Being the light sleeper that I am, this wasn’t the easiest situation. Investing in a sleep mask and some ear plugs was definitely the right move for me. Although there are some people out there that are probably a little more high maintenance than others (and I am one of those people), I still think that there is some basic roommate etiquette that everyone should at least attempt to follow.

Keep your things relatively organized. No one wants to be tripping over stuff that isn’t even theirs. Don’t set your alarm to full blast at 8 a.m. Just because you have to wake up for your class does not mean that everyone else does too. Don’t take an hour-long shower. There are 6 of us needing to use one bathroom here. Last, but certainly not least, basically, be quiet when one of your roommates needs you to be quiet. It’s hard not really having a space that you can go to where you know that you can be alone with total peace and quiet.

I never necessarily had a roommate horror story, except for my one roommate who would move around my things when I wasn’t in the room before she transferred, so I guess I would consider myself pretty lucky. But, I still think that there are lessons that can be learned from every roommate situation.

During the first few weeks of my freshman year, my roommates and I sort of believed that we were all really close friends. After we realized that all six of us didn’t necessarily vibe with each other as much as we all thought, it felt like the crucial time to be able to meet new people and make new friends in college had already passed. Part of me does regret not getting out there more in the beginning, but feeling like I had this safety net of friends within my roommates made me think that I didn’t have to. Although, the truth is that there are always new people to meet, and I wouldn’t change how anything went freshman year because it all led me to where I am today.

I am much closer now with a couple of my roommates from freshman year than I was back then. Through my experiences with old roommates, new roommates, and almost-roommates over the past couple of years, I have met a lot of great people and have formed a few really great friendships. Now, I’m living with one of my closest friends, and I am really happy with how everything turned out. 

I hope that whoever is reading this has the perfect roommate situation which is that you love your roommates so much and you are all best friends. But, if you don’t, (and lots of people don’t), don’t stress. Everyone’s experience is different, but as long as you are doing your best to put yourself out there and not being an absolute pain to live with, everything will work out in the end.

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