So it’s a new semester and you have a new roommate. You’re going to be connected to this person for quite some time, so this time you want to make sure that it will get off to a good start. Based on my own real-world experience, I recommend signing a roommate agreement.
First, ask your resident assistant or a staff member in Residence Life to help you create or locate a roommate agreement. The form may be located online or your school may offer a roommate agreement as part of Student Services or some other campus resource – either way I highly recommend that you and your roommate take the opportunity to sign one. If for no other reason, the roommate agreement will allow you and your roommate to discuss your values and expectations. For instance, you might be a morning person whereas your roommate may not be. Also, you may like to have a lot of friends over, your roommate may not. Whatever the case may be, it’s good to talk about values and expectations.
Remember, roommate agreements are not designed to control you or to tell you how you should enjoy your college experience. Rather, it is an attempt to minimize the inevitable issues that you are probably going to run into. Furthermore, it helps you get to know who you are living with. I believe the reason why most roomate relationships fail is because they don’t really know the person they are rooming with. Of course, this is not the only reason, but in order for you to have a manageable relationship it’s good to know a thing or two about them.
Secondly, roommate agreements are important because in a confrontation, you will most likely need what you agreed or disagreed to in writing available. Nothing beats having something in writing for legal purposes or just as the voice of reason when reason doesn’t seem to be at hand. While it may not be the end all be all, it at least gives you something that you can refer back to. Try not to use it as a “remember when you said….well its right here” tool. It may have that practical application, but you definitely want to use it in a diplomatic and fair manner.
Signing a roommate agreement is a great way to diffuse any problems that may come up in the futurer because you will know exactly where you both stand. If you sign a roommate agreement, I believe it will help provide you a smooth transition in order to achieve a better relationship with your roommate.
Get Connected. Stay Connected. Graduate.