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Posted 
Apr 16, 2020
 in 
College Life
 category

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Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Excited about getting to live with a brand new person who could just become your new best friend but worried about how you’re going to be able to keep some things just for yourself? We feel ya.

woman drinking hot coffee

Moving into a shared dorm room with someone you’ve never met before can be an exhilarating, albeit nerve-wracking part of your life. But no worries! You and your roomie will be just fine if you stick to these tips:

Women talking
Whether you and your roommate have already started talking and are already becoming fast friends or you have yet to reach out to each other, setting some ground rules early on is going to make you appreciate each other so much more later on.

1. Set Ground Rules

The best way to establish some privacy for yourself early on in the process of sharing a dorm room is to set some ground rules for you and your roommate to follow. You can do this before you’ve even met if you’ve managed to find each other through social media or an email address provided by your school. Even if you haven’t managed to get in contact with each other before meeting for the first time, it’s good to establish some ground rules early on in the school year.

Illustration of House Rules

You should be asked to sign a roommate agreement early on anyway - which will make anything you’ve agreed upon contractually binding - but you should definitely talk about the differences in your styles of living to prevent any kinks later down the line. We all come from different backgrounds, so getting a feel for how each of you will respond to certain situations will help to reduce any explosive arguments in the future.

On the agenda, you’ll want to discuss many of the things we’ll also talk about in this article, such as noise levels, schedules, shared vs. personal items, and house rules. Once you’ve come to an agreement of rules that will work for the both of you, stick to them - and enforce them around others when necessary! Remember, house rules don’t only apply to the two of you; they also apply to anyone who might be spending time in the room you share.

Cactus plant
While you don’t have to be quite as minimalistic as this photo would imply, minimalism  is key to keeping a healthy bit of distance between you and your roommate.

2. Limit the Amount of Belongings You Bring with You

This one’s a bit of a doozy, we know. It’s hard to decide what you should bring with you and what you should leave at home when you’re not really sure what things you’ll need and when, but that doesn’t make sticking to being as minimalistic as possible any less important. The thing about moving into a dorm room where you have to live with another person is that the already cramped space of a dorm room becomes marginally smaller when it’s a shared space.

When you bring along a bunch of your belongings that you’ll never actually use when you move in, then, all you’re really doing is taking up more of your shared space - which decreases the amount of free space you’ll have to use as your personal space. And since personal space is private space unless you invite someone else in, you’re also reducing your chances of maintaining your privacy.

If you’d like an idea of what you should think about bringing with you and what you should just leave at home, think long and hard about what’s going to be either useful or entertaining for you. You’ll probably need a vacuum cleaner, and you’ll definitely need laundry detergent, but you might want to think twice about bringing along that stack of old magazines you love to revisit or the dozens of pillows you’ll just wind up throwing off your bed every night anyway.

Straight out of OCM’s very own stock, this safe will keep your prized possessions tucked away from anyone you don’t know.

3. Keep a Safe for Your Most Valuable Possessions

Regardless of how much you trust your roommate, it’s important to remember that there will probably be dozens, if not hundreds of people who walk in and out of your dorm room over the course of this year, and you aren’t going to know each and every one of them well enough to know if they’re trustworthy people.There are some you may never even meet. So, as a precaution, we recommend having something to store your most valuable possessions in.

Not sure where to start? No worries! This Honeywell 17” safe is the perfect size to keep your laptop tucked away from people you don’t know when you leave it behind, as well as any other belongings that would be expensive to replace or that are just near and dear to your heart. The next time you want to run out to pick up your Panera order and you’re not sure how long you’ll be or who might wander into your room in the time you’re gone, just slip your laptop into this safe and you can be guaranteed that it will still be there when you get back.

The carpeted interior of this safe ensures that your belongings won’t be damaged if the safe is jostled for any reason while they’re in there. Its keypad on the front allows you to punch in a customizable code to unlock the safe, which swings open like a drawer once you have. If you want to be sure that all of your belongings are safe from being taken from anyone who can wander into your shared dorm room, this safe is the perfect solution.

2 kid share a doll
We were all taught to share when we were kids...and that’s a great lesson! But it’s okay to keep a few things for yourself, too.

4. Agree on What You Will Share and What Will Be Yours

As we said earlier, this is definitely something that you should address in your roommate agreement at the beginning of the year, but we thought it was deserving of its own listing. as well. Some roommates are perfectly fine with sharing everything and everything, but that’s not the kind of thing you can assume. Make sure you and your roommate sit down and have a conversation about what you’re comfortable with sharing - if anything - early on.

Even if you decide that you wouldn’t mind sharing some things, you’ll probably discover over time that there are some things you’ll want to keep for yourself. For instance, you might decide that sharing communal snacks that you both chip in for regularly is perfectly fine. But if your roommate, or even a friend of theirs, winds up eating the entire box of gourmet chocolates your dad brought back from Switzerland before you’ve even had the chance to open it, you might rethink your stance on the matter.

It’s okay to change your mind over the course of the semester, but be sure to communicate any changes to your roommate. They can’t abide by house rules if they don’t know those rules exist. Have a chat about your preferences and continue to have that chat as concerns pop up. The only way for you to make sure that both you and your roommate are continuously comfortable around each other is to know what does and doesn’t work for each of you.

woman sleep
No one likes being jolted out of a deep sleep. Talk to your roommate about each other’s schedules so no one has to miss out on any of those precious z’s. 

5. Be Accommodating of Each Other’s Schedules

Some of us are early risers; others, not so much. We all operate on different schedules, whether that means sleeping, eating, or going to class. You’ll figure out each other’s schedules soon enough, but if you’d like to be able to prepare well in advance, there’s nothing wrong with asking your roommate about their upcoming schedule and living habits ahead of time. If nothing else, you’ll know what time you can schedule in to be alone for a while. 

There’s a good chance that your sleep schedules won’t line up at first, although they may level out over time. The most important thing you’ll probably need to know about each other before anything else is what kind of sleepers you both are. Are you someone who could sleep right through a nuclear apocalypse if it happened? Or are you someone who wakes up if the wind blows a little too loud?

Knowing the answer to this question will give you a nice set-up for how you can best accommodate each other’s schedules for the rest of the semester. If one of you is a light sleeper, an early riser might need to be careful about making too much noise when they wake up to get ready for their 8 a.m. Similarly, if one of you is conscientious about going to bed at a decent time but the other finds it easier to focus on schoolwork late at night, you may need to work out an alternative place to study.

2 man sit
You’re going to make so many friends while you’re away at school! If your roommate needs some alone time, why not meet some other pals at the local coffee shop?

6. Spend Time Apart

No matter how good of friends you and your roommate become, it’s pertinent that as a part of the boundaries you set for yourselves at the beginning of the semester, you also think about ways for the two of you to spend some time apart. A big part of privacy is actually being able to spend some time alone, so scheduling time in is going to make for a much healthier relationship between you and your roommate, regardless of how much you like each other otherwise.

Even the best of friends need a little distance sometimes - and that’s perfectly normal! It’s great to have a confidant to share all of your hopes and fears and stress with, and if that winds up being the roommate you share your college dorm with, great! But just like you’ll discover that living in close quarters with your family after experiencing the freedom of living alone puts a lot of stress on your relationships, living in the back pocket of your roommate won’t do you many favors either.

Learn how to spend some time away from each other, and you’ll be happier in the long run. Join some of those clubs you were eyeing up during orientation week. Go to the library to finish your paper this weekend. (Yes, it can get loud, but try to find a quiet area and put in your headphones.) Living together in a tiny, shared dorm room is quite enough - you don’t have to be together 24/7, too.

Sharing a dorm room with someone can come with a lot of perks, but there are also some downsides. One of these - arguably the most important one - is privacy. That being said, privacy is completely attainable, and if you stick to these tips, you should feel perfectly fine sharing a room with another person.

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