Before college, many students have not experienced sharing a room with another person, much less a complete stranger. Everyone hears roommate horror stories from family members and friends. These stories and rumors cause students to dread the moment they move in with what could be a Star Wars obsessor, stage-five-clinger or the roommate who likes to rescue and smuggle stray cats into the building.
Although those exact experiences may be few and far between, getting along with another person can still prove difficult. However, for students at Murray State, it seems there are some basic guidelines to new living arrangements.
1. Don’t use each other’s things without asking first.
Sometimes the magical words “may I borrow this?” can save a relationship. Odds are, the roommate will allow use of their items. Most roommates even agree to share everything, trusting that the other person will not abuse their belongings.
“Our room functions on an ask-first basis for most things,” said John Smothers, freshman from Hickman, Ky. “There are things like toilet paper that we don’t ask because it would be pointless to turn around and ask the same question.”
2. Communication is key to a healthy roommate relationship.
Oftentimes, roommates are chosen at random and the questionnaires definitely do not do anyone’s personality justice. Students either get paired up with the person who laughs louder than a banshee or does not speak more than three words. Either way, when issues present themselves, students agree it is always best to talk it out.
“The few times my roommate has gotten irritated with me, she has let me know and we both just leave each other alone for a while until it blows over,” said Daryn Clopton, sophomore from Brooks, Ky. “I tell her when she irritates me as well.”
3. Friends of friends are not always friends.
While attending college, students have different classes with different people. They also involve themselves in different activities than their roommates and therefore make different friends. However, there are struggles with having friends over when the roommate is not acquainted with the same people.
“My roommate and I don’t have the same friends,” said Caitlyn Kerley, freshman from Caruthersville, Mo. “We have to let each other know when someone will be coming to the room, because it’s embarrassing to have a guy walk in when you are fresh out of the shower.”
4. Respect each other’s sleep patterns.
Many students are accustomed to staying out late and sleeping in. On the other hand, there are the early risers who nap in the middle of the day to keep themselves going. When roommate contracts are issued, roommates must agree on times when conditions of their room will be dedicated to sleep. Some simply agree to respect their roommate at whatever time they are dozing off.
“Sleeping times are scattered, since my roommate is usually out late and I go to bed much earlier,” said Kristen Oakley, freshman from Murray. “My roommate and I both value our sleep, so neither of us turn on lights, use the hairdryer or make a lot of noise when the other is sleeping.”
5. Don’t be a parent.
Most students at Murray State allow their roommates freedoms and expect the same freedoms in return. Telling a roommate to pick up after themselves, to shower and to go to bed is a job for their mother. Steven Hewitt, sophomore from Cape May, N.J. said, two people sharing a living space should not make rules for each other.
“We can do whatever we want, whenever we want,” Hewitt said. “We both pay to live here, so instead of limiting each other’s freedoms, we both just have unlimited freedom. No rules are the best rules.”
Story by Hunter Harrell, Staff writer.