My life in College: Tips for dealing with roommates

Moral Mildred/Sun Star Columnist
September 25, 2012

At some point in our lives, we all have to deal with the wonderful exasperation that is a roommate. If you’re especially lucky, you might even have more than one. As the stereotypical poor college student, I have survived my fair share of roommates–some more bearable than others. Over the years, I have devised a guidebook of what I eloquently refer to as “How Not to Kill The Person You Live With.”

Step one is try to get someone you know to bunk with you. Through trial and error I have discovered that it is much easier to control any homicidal urges you may have if there is already some sort of emotional attachment to the person.

Step two is to go over the terrible threes: sleep, alcohol and sex. Most people enjoy one, two or all of these things and I’ve learned that figuring out the logistics beforehand will make everyone’s life easier and keep the body count low.

So let’s start with sleep. Some people love early mornings, with the scent of freshly brewed coffee wafting through the crisp air of a new day. Some people need someone to threaten to sit on their face in order to even think about getting out of bed before noon. Sleep is a necessity of life and when someone interrupts it, that someone may or may not be in immediate need of a doctor. Crankiness is a leading factor in violence. So, bake some cookies, brew some tea and have a chat with your roommate on sleeping schedules, protocol for staying up late, all-night study sessions and early morning Zumba.

Next up is alcohol. Some people like it, some people don’t. It’s best to figure out preferences and then try to work around them. I’ve had roommates that drank too much and ones that snuck into my room at night and flushed all the alcohol down the toilet. Neither of these are cool. If both you and your roommate are comfortable with alcohol it is still best to keep in mind that you will be going back home to another person before you finish lighting all those shots on fire. If one of you is not comfortable with alcohol, then try to keep in mind that it’s unfair to require your roommate to suddenly be too. Flushing your roommate’s drinks down the toilet is not compromising, it’s just being a passive-aggressive pansy.

Last but not least: sex. People have sex all the time. Not only can it be fun, it can be a great stress reliever. However, when you have a roommate, going heels to Jesus can be a little tricky. No one really wants to walk into their room and witness some stranger frantically hopping around with one leg in his boxers. Setting up a signal is highly recommended, so no one is emotionally or mentally scarred. Some people like the sock/rubber/band/ribbon/shirt on the door handle method. Personally, I prefer texts. I feel like it’s unfair to have my roommate come all the way home only to discover that the room is occupied. If anyone is interested, my code word is checkers.  But it can be anything really. Orangutan, Soviet Russia and Falcon Punch are also good choices. Lastly, stealing your roommates condoms because you are too lazy to go buy your own, is no bueno. Once or twice might be ok.  But nothing kills the mood more then getting hot and heavy with someone only to find out your roommate has been having more sex than you.

I can’t promise that going over these rules is going to make you and roommate’s lives conflict free. But I have learned over the years-with the exception of the guy who flushed my alcohol down the toilet, some grievances can never be forgotten-setting up a basic line of communication can, at least, make your lives easier.

Moral Mildred writes a student life column detailing the ups and downs of living in Fairbanks and attending UAF.

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