As the summer comes to an end and the faint smell of freshly sharped pencils and brand new noteboks starts to linger around your bedroom, you know it can only mean one thing — the school year has started.
For many, including myself, this means packing up your bedroom at home, trying to squeeze all of your prized possessions into big plastic storage containers, running to your local Target and buying them out of toiletries and saying goodbye to your beloved hometown friends. However, with these endings come new beginnings and I think I speak for all of us when I say that the beginning of every school year is the best because it’s a fresh start. It’s the time to reinvent yourself, make new friends, and finally live with some fun, exciting people (who are actually all your own age).
Living with other people is always an aspect about college that gives everyone anxiety. For most, it’s their first time having to share their bedroom with other people. Some have the fortunate experience of knowing who they will be rooming with but this is not always the case and as such, it’s expected that the first few days are spent establishing a set of guidelines and just overall roommate etiquitte.
Perhaps the biggest issue between roommates revolves around the idea of sharing and to what extent each is willing to share their belongings with the other(s). After talking to many of my older friends, I think the best advice I was given is by a Class of 2018 RISD student. She was very quick to tell me that sometimes, being nice will not work in your favor. She started out with the theory of “what’s mine is yours”. However, she learned early on that this may not be the best approach to take. She explained to me that her roommate was not nearly as eager to share her belongings and ultimately what ended up happening was that my friend would give up all her stuff freely but would not be able to use her roommate’s.
After talking with my friend at RISD, I have devised my own set of boundaries to establish with my future roommates and I thought I’d share them with you all so that maybe we’ll have better luck than my friend did.
For starters, set aside “restricted” items/areas
For example, you may be completely okay with your roommate borrowing some flash cards to study for a test. However, you may not be too keen with him/her using your deodorant or mouthwash. Set aside those things and make sure they know what’s off limits.
Establish an “ask me first” attitude.
Even if you’re the kind of person who is completely okay with sharing your closet with the whole world, it’s important to establish an attitude that conveys to your roommates that they should ask you before borrowing your favorite sweater or pair of boots. Your answer may and always can be yes but at least this way you know where all your stuff is and who has it at all times.
For common things such as paper towels, utensils and soap/detergent, split the price.
The best way to avoid someone just using all of your stuff as their own and never reciprocating is just splitting the price to begin with. If it’s something you know the whole room will use, suggest splitting the price in order to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to use the items as freely as they’d like without having to worry about accidentally using someone else’s.
Sharing will be inevitable however, with these guidelines it may end up being easier for you to get through the year without going after each other for the little stuff.
So is sharing always caring? I’d like to think it is, if it’s done the right way. However, using is not caring so be careful about how much you end up sharing!
Have a great start of the school year everyone!