I went “potluck” and was assigned my roommates. It was the best decision that I could make and I think it was a great experience. I am even continuing to live with one of my roommates! I know it can be scary when you go from not talking to strangers to living with people you might have never met before, but I have a few tips to help you navigate this new relationship.
1) Open communication is essential. Always address issues as quickly as possible, before grudges can develop. Try to always include everyone involved in the matter in the discussion. Things may get heated and a “pause” may be necessary to resume conversation at a later time when people are more calm and rational. Overall it is really best to just get everything out of the way and out of your system.
2) One way to facilitate this kind of openness is to make a “Roomie Agreement” and amend it as necessary as time goes on, but to stick to it. Residence Assistants and other hall staff have a sheet you can use as a starting point. Make sure to address how to handle issues that arise in the future as well as prioritizing . For example, does your roomie expect to be asked politely to clean the shower when it is their turn? Simply asking not ordering can make a huge difference and will preserve the peace in your new home.
3) Get to know your neighbors. If you share a bathroom, floor, or hall you will probably interact at some point. You might as well start things on a good foot. Your RA and the rest of the hall staff is also worth befriending. By the end of my time in the hall the front desk knew me by name and it was just very pleasant to see friends every morning.
4) Know when to hold them and when to fold them, if things are out of control you can talk to hall staff and your roomie about switching rooms. Especially when you share your room with more than one person. You deserve to be safe, healthy, and happy. Your home should be a place of NO JUDGMENT where you can be yourself.
5) Don’t be afraid to go potluck. Living with friends and family presents a challenge if things don’t go well and you can still make time for them even if your aren’t sharing a room with them.
Personally, I can’t wait to move back to Manhattan! 42 days!