By Alisha Henderickx
Moving in with roommates in college can be very stressful. But, on the other hand, it can also be a really fun experience. Many college roommates opt to live together for years and even become lifelong friends! It takes some effort and patience at first to sort out the living situation with your roommates and will include making your expectations clear, having an open mind, and being prepared to compromise. Here are some tips to help living with roommates as enjoyable as possible:
- Know what type of environment you want to live in
Do you want to live with students that you can party with? Or with students that prefer to have quiet nights in and relax? Obviously, you can’t control this, but when you start looking for places, definitely ask what type of students live there so you can see if it’s something you’re looking for. In Mechelen there are many types of student rooms available, some only have 4 to 6 rooms per building, while others up to 30. Make sure to check out our tips for choosing the right student house in Mechelen for more info.
2. Communicate clearly from the start
Make sure you understand your monthly expenses and whether there are any additional fees for the year. Create a plan that makes your expectations clear. Who will take out the garbage? What costs are you planning to split? Cleaning materials? What about toilet paper? Do you have any common food expenditures, such as coffee and milk? As little as these issues may appear, they are the source of the majority of minor disagreements. As a result, it’s important to remain on top of them and ensure that everyone is informed.
3. Decide on a set of “rules”
Conflicts can arise due to differences in beliefs, preferences, and schedules. It’s essential to decide as a group and establish some ground rules and principles that everyone must agree to since, in most cases, you’ll have quite a few shared spaces. For example, when should everyone pay their share of the rent and utility bills, who cleans what and when, playing music, having people over, etc. If your roomies are into it, you could have some sort of “consequence” if someone doesn’t follow the set of rules. You could make it into a playful challenge or dare, to keep it fun and lighthearted while having a good laugh.
For example, I live with 21 roommates and share a kitchen with half of them. There have been a few times that people don’t clean up after themselves, resulting in a week or more of mess. So, we made a little rule that the person who did that had to wash everyone’s dishes for the number of days they left a mess.
4. Remember you don’t have to be best friends
Sometimes we have high expectations and think we’ll be best buddies with our roommates, do everything together and never get into any disagreements. And that can definitely happen, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes people can be very different and just don’t click that way. So it’s good to remember that it’s okay if you’re not besties and don’t do everything together. If you have a respectful and friendly relationship it’s okay!
5. The most important tip is to keep an open mind!
At Thomas More, there are so many international students, and just in ICM, there are students from 6 different continents and over 30 countries! So, it’s most likely you might get a roommate with a totally different background than yours. They may be from other cultures and have different lifestyles, opinions, and beliefs. It’s important to stay respectful, but if you stay open to this experience you can learn so much from each other.