How to Live with a Summer Roommate

By the end of freshmen year of college, you have a pretty good idea of what you are looking for in a roommate and what characteristics might be harder to live with.  You’ve learned what your best study hours are, how much quiet you need when you sleep, and even how hot or cold you like to keep the room.

Moving away for the summer and living with new roommates in a new city can be a nerve wracking experience.  Will you like the same television shows?  Will you have the same idea of how clean you like to keep a room?  Will you want to study at similar times?  And most importantly- will you get along?

Your housing does not need to be a stressful situation and is actually a great opportunity to create a support network and develop lifelong friendships.  Below are a few tips to create a happy home for every roommate!

  • Everyone comes from different backgrounds and has different expectations of what they want from a summer roommate.  Not everyone will want to be best friends with the people they live with, but it is important to create a comfortable atmosphere for all.
  • Communication is key.  If problems arise, address them early and fairly.  If you are living with more than one roommate, make sure that any confrontation is done without ganging up on one member of the group.  Avoid talking behind one another’s backs and approach the situation with kindness.
  • Discuss what will be shared. Some people are willing to share cleaning supplies, snacks, and even shampoo, while others will get mad if you borrow their laundry detergent. Sit down as a group and talk about this right away in order to minimize any confusion moving forward.
  • Consider creating a chore chart.  Cleanliness is often one of the biggest areas of conflict amongst roommates and also one of the easiest to remedy.  Assign chores on a rotating basis or decide upon group cleanup days where everyone pitches in.  Even the cleanest and messiest roommates can find common ground with a chore chart.
  • Create study or even quiet hours.  Everyone requires different levels of solitude to successfully accomplish homework and studying.  If you are someone that requires complete silence, consider going to the library rather than forcing your roommates to adhere to your schedule.  In the same way, if you need music playing loudly in order to focus try using headphones.
  • Sign a Roommate Contract.  If all roommates take 15-20 minutes to discuss what they need in a roommate and what they are flexible on then there is a good chance of going through the entire summer conflict free.  Make sure that you are open, honest, realistic, and willing to compromise.

Most importantly, remember that the living arrangement is temporary.  Every summer roommate relationship is will come to an end.  Any conflicts or disagreements that may arise are only short-term and should be kept in perspective.

Be respectful of each other and remember that you are all busy and trying to balance work, school, and extracurricular activities.  Your summer in Washington, DC will be one of the most fun, challenging, and memorable summers of your life- make sure that your roommates are a part of those memories!

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