Magazine article Careers & Colleges

Roommate Rules: Your First Year with a New Roommate Can Be Tough-Or Terrific. Here's How to Start the Relationship Right

Magazine article Careers & Colleges

Roommate Rules: Your First Year with a New Roommate Can Be Tough-Or Terrific. Here's How to Start the Relationship Right

Article excerpt

You arrived at your new dorm two hours ago, and you've almost finished unpacking. Just as you're about to plug in your computer, the door swings open. Your new roommate has arrived.

Take a deep breath. This could be the start of a lifelong friendship--or a nine-month nightmare. But with the right attitude and a little flexibility, you and your roommate can end up, if not friends for life, at least amicable and considerate partners.

Of course, anyone who's ever lived in a dorm has their own Roommate From Hell tale to tell. Jessica, a student at Williams College in Massachusetts, describes her freshman roommate, Rachel *, as "thriving on constant mayhem," leaving everything from clothing to banana peels strewn throughout the room. Worse, Rachel thought nothing of opening packages that didn't belong to her, borrowing things without permission, and even inviting her boyfriend to stay indefinitely. Instead of confronting the situation with Rachel, though, Jessica ended up sticking it out for the entire school year, making the already stressful reality of freshman year even worse.

Think Positive.

Relax. For every horror story, there are many more roommates who get along just fine. Sometimes all it takes is a little positive thinking. Omar, a student at Stanford University, recommends keeping an open mind, even if you think you have absolutely nothing in common with your roommate. "My freshman roommate was my total opposite," Omar says. "It was great to get a different perspective, and his good qualities rubbed off on me. …

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