The Roommate Situation: Dealing with the Agreement Forms
Rebekah Powell, School of Music Mentor
At the start of the year, your Resident Assistants will ask you to fill out a Roommate Agreement form. It may seem tedious and unimportant, but at the same time, it is extremely important to take these forms as seriously as possible. You are going to be living with your roommate for the entire school year, and this agreement form is an important part of living with your roommate without as many problems. Here are a few things to consider that they will ask you to fill out on your form.
1) Lights Out!– One of the questions is what time lights should go out in your room. If you are not a night owl, really consider having lights out around 9-10. If you like to stay up later, then consider a later time. If you and your roommate have conflicting ideas on what time lights should go out, try and make a compromise. If he/she wants to have the lights go out at 1 AM, and you want lights out at 10 PM, then try and make a compromise to 11:30-Midnight. As a music major, you will have nights where you may need to stay up later so between the hours of 10 and 12 is a good bet. If they still have an issue, talk to your RA’s and see what they say about it. They are there to help you out so if you need to talk to them they are always there for you.
2) Visitors– It is inevitable, your roommate, or even you, both have friends and significant others that you want to visit your dorm room. Set ground rules for your roommate, but be willing to follow them yourself. If you do not feel comfortable with your roommate’s significant other or friends being over every weekend, tell them upfront, and they will most likely understand. If you have a significant other or friends who want to stay over every weekend be sure to ask your roommate how they feel about that and be flexible about what your roommate wants as well as what you want. You are both living there and both paying to stay in that room, so think about what both of you want in this situation and make good compromises.
3) Your Personal Space!– Think about everything in your room that you will bring to college. If there is anything that you do not want your roommate using, such as personal hygiene products, clothing, shoes, or even food, put it down for things you do not want your roommate using. If you do not put it down and your roommate starts borrowing stuff without your permission and you go talk to your RA about it, and they pull out your agreement and see that the item he/she is using is not there on that list, there is nothing that they can do about it and you must try and talk it out with your roommate on your own. On the other hand, there is also a section where you can name things that you don’t mind them using, such as office supplies. Be sure your roommate and you have a good conversation about what you want to share and what you don’t want to share.
4) The Thermostat (Affiliated only)– You like the room warmer, while your roommate likes the room colder, what do you do? During each season, it will ask you for the maximum temperature and the minimum temperature you want the room to be. Try and be very willing to compromise on this. If you like the room colder and your roommate prefers the room to be warmer, try and set the temperature where you can both be happy, (maybe like 65-70 degrees F). It says on your thermostat to not make the room hotter than 75 degrees on the heat setting, and no colder than 60 degrees on the A/C setting. try and obey these settings. Some people didn’t my freshman year and the first night after winter break at 1 AM all of the room’s control systems started rattling to the point where I thought the building was going to explode. It took 2 hours to fix the problem and no one on my floor could sleep. So be compromising. It does not have to be really hot or really cold in your room, so compromise with your roommate and follow the guidelines your dorm has set for you.
5) Music to your Ears?– You have a big test the next day, and you decide to study in your dorm room. Meanwhile, your roommate wants to watch a movie or a YouTube video on their laptop. How do you compromise? If you do not mind listening to music or the video, then this scenario would not bother you. If you need silence when you study, ask them if they could wear headphones while listening to their music. If you are the one watching the video while your roommate is doing homework or trying to study, then do not be offended if your roommate needs you to put headphones on. They just want to do well in class and need total silence to do their homework. Headphones are the best option for you and your roommate to do your own thing without interfering with their studying or homework.
6) Make a Copy– When you and your roommate finish your agreement form, you will eventually give the sheet to your RA and they will store it for you throughout the year. Make a copy for you and your roommate or scan it onto your computer so that way you have it and will not forget anything you put on that sheet. I never did this either year and it would have helped me this year with some issues I had with my roommate about people visiting our room, so I can see what we agreed on. It is a way that you can solve many situations and keep it between you and your roommates without having to get the RA’s or directors involved.
Rooming with another person may be a new experience for you. Being an only child it was a new experience for me. The agreement form may help you learn to live with another person for the first time. Keep these guidelines and it is sure to be a great experience.