Chances are, if you ever had to share a room with a sibling growing up, you’re probably not too keen to share a room with a total stranger when you get to college. To be fair, even those who had a room all to themselves probably aren’t looking forward to living with a stranger either. Unfortunately, having at least one roommate in college is a reality for most students living on campus.
Although most schools do their best to pair students with roommates who share commonalities, there are some things you can do as well to make the transition from stranger to roommate go a bit more smoothly and give both you and your new roomie an idea of what to expect. The first of which is to just reach out and contact them.
Now, I know most young adults today prefer email, texting, and instant messaging over talking on the phone, so we’ll focus more on digital communication. Just bear in mind that sometimes as written conversations progress, things can become misconstrued or misunderstood when emailing or texting because the person on the receiving end can’t sense the tone of the message like they can when they hear you speak. It’s important to use caution when composing your messages so there are no chances for misunderstanding or hurt feelings. After a few message exchanges, you’ll both probably feel comfortable enough to chat on the phone. But until then, let’s dig into the different kinds of questions you can ask your new co-habitant via email to get to know them, without coming across as a complete creeper.
- Where are they from? This is a great ice-breaker question because it can be expanded to include where they were born, where they have lived, where they grew up, and many other variants in the same vein. You might discover that your new roommate is from a place you’ve always wanted to visit or vice versa and that can be a segue into a broader conversation.
- Why did they choose to attend this college? People choose their schools for many different reasons. While some students want to attend a particular degree program, others continuing their progression toward a career in professional athletics and playing for the right college team can help get them there. And still, other students will attend whichever school they have been offered a scholarship by due to the high costs associated with higher learning.
- What are their interests and what are they majoring in? Although everybody is different, most people find they have at least one or two things in common on some level once they get into a good conversation. You might find that you’re both Political Science majors or that you both love frisbee golf. Whether it’s bonding while shopping at the mall, geeking out over Game of Thrones, debating over who’s going to make it to the Super Bowl, or discussing major social issues, hobbies and interests can help you find common ground. Alternatively, having differences allows you both to explore more of what the world has to offer outside of your own hometowns, cultures, or maybe even countries if your roommate is an international student.
- What kinds of things are they bringing (furniture and appliances included)?
Unless one of you is a hoarder, there’s no sense in having two microwaves or two TV’s. Why not chat about what you’ll both be bringing so you have a complete suite of creature comforts without having to find extra storage space for duplicates.
There are lots of other topics you can ask about but the ones discussed here will give you a great foundation in learning what your new college roommate is like. And sharing similar information about yourself can help them feel more at ease too. College roommates often remain lifelong friends so do your best early on to really get to know yours.