If this is your first year of studying away from home, it may also be the first time you’ve had to share accommodation with someone you don’t know. You might think it’s just the same as living with your family – and it may even end up like that, in time. While you’re feeling your way through your new living arrangements though, it’s worth following a few basic rules right from the get-go.

Get to know your room mate/s

This may seem obvious, but with everyone’s hectic study and social schedules, it’s quite possible to live in the same house, or even the same room, and seldom physically cross paths. Setting up time to socialise and find out a bit about each other up front can ease the transition into your new environment. Even if you never become best friends, having a basic understanding of where the other is coming from creates a lot more tolerance.

Understand that everyone’s different

Both personality type and upbringing play a part here. For example, introverts need a lot more alone time to recharge their batteries than extroverts. So if your roommate isn’t particularly chatty or sometimes chooses not to join you in the communal lounge, don’t take it personally or assume they don’t like you. Likewise, if your family considers arguing at the tops of their voices a normal part of daily life, you may well think that it’s normal to behave like that, whereas someone who grew up in a quiet household may find it quite frightening.

Be considerate

Again a lot of this comes down to the above – understanding that everyone is different. Find out what the non-negotiables are for your roommate, and share yours with them. For example, does encountering a sink full of dirty dishes first thing in the morning drive them crazy? Do you need absolute quiet to study, whereas they study best to loud music? Once you know each other’s preferences, it’s easier to figure out a win/win scenario, or at least a compromise you can both live with.

You’ll notice that this isn’t rocket science – at its minimum, it’s just about tolerance and respect. What’s more, if you do it right, you may even find yourself with a friend for life.

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