You’ll be living side-by-side with this roommate for the next year, so it’s vitally important to set and conform with rules you both agree to follow. In most college dorms, there are already sets of official rules of behavior, and often a resident monitor will be snooping around to enforce them. Of course, for young people away from home for the first time, rules are there to be broken, or at least bent a bit.
However, beyond the official rules, roommates must agree early to respect the rights of others who must study and sleep in the same spaces. These should be discussed and agreed to at the very beginning of the bunking together. If necessary, the ground rules will need to be reviewed, revised or abandoned one or more times throughout the semester.
1. Respect your roomie’s personal space. For some freshmen and other students new to campus group living, there’s no consideration for others, and they habitually leave clothing, junk and trash around. With no mommy to pick up after them, they become pains to roommates who believe in cleanliness, privacy and shared duties. And fire safety, too.
2. From day one, roommates must agree to obey campus and other laws of behavior. An occasional party, featuring some beer and visits by members of the opposite sex, could be tolerated if they’re done with moderation. Those fun times should only happen on weekends or other moments when heavy study hours are not in effect.
3. There should be absolutely no illegal drugs, including marijuana, tolerated at any time. Any roommate or visitor under age 21 is prohibited by campus and/or community law from buying and consuming alcoholic drinks. Those who choose to break the laws should do it away from the campus, and not expose innocent students to possible discipline or expulsion from college.
4. Playing of music, video games and television must always be limited by mutual agreement, so that normal study hours are respected with silence. The person enjoying the activities should do it with earphones, rather than blast away with amplifiers.
5. If one of the roommates is a non-smoker, others must agree to indulge in their habit in permitted areas away from the room on campus or elsewhere.
6. There should be similar agreements about food purchased or catered for the room. If there’s no refrigerator, this applies especially to perishable leftovers and snacks that shouldn’t ever be allowed to stand overnight.
7. Where students are required to clean their rooms and do laundry, there must be a definite schedule of shared duties.
8. Normal considerations for personal hygiene should be observed. If it becomes offensive, the offender should be reminded of the discomfort caused by continuous lack of basic cleanliness.
9. If a student can’t live compatibly with a roommate, and all requests for consideration and respect are exhausted, a change of room or roommate may become necessary. The complaining student should seek action by the campus housing authority or owner of the residence.
10. Setting dorm rules with your roommate that apply from the day you move in together should be a priority. Most of the rules are just plain common sense and respect for the rights of others, but sometimes there are conflicts that must be resolved.