This article appeared in the Fresh Start issue of the Collegian, sent to new Penn State students.
One of the most exciting yet nerve-wracking aspects of transitioning into college for many incoming freshmen is adjusting to living in a dorm with a new roommate.
Acclimating to sharing a space and changing old habits in order to respect one’s roommate may be unnatural at first, but after awhile, one feels relaxed and at home. Many LEAP students who attended summer session were able to have an early experience of living with roommates.
“It was a little difficult at first learning how to live with other people but as long as you communicate with each other, you can get along fine,” Sarah Schuchman (freshman-undergraduate studies) said. “My roommates and I talk all the time and get along really well.”
Communication is a key aspect to establish on the very first day. With communication and an open mind, roommates can sort out any problems, insecurities or boundaries that may need to be set in order to be comfortable with one another.
“Incoming freshman should try to keep an open mind when dealing with their roommates and the best way to fix any drama is to communicate,” Emily Wajert (junior-education) said. “Even though we had a few tough times in the beginning we ended up being best friends by the end of the year.”
Along with communication, roommates should establish rules right away in order to have a smoother transition.
“Set the rules on the first day including code words, quiet hours and room cleanliness,” Sarah Doyle (freshman-undergraduate studies) said. “You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate but you have to respect living with them.”
The idea of having to share a dorm with limited closet and cabinet space is slightly overwhelming for some students, but in time, sharing one’s space with a new friend is easy.
“You need to learn to share a closet, drawers, cabinets and a fridge that are kind of small which is different for most people,” Sam Jenkins (freshman-business administration) said. “However, after a few days, we were totally fine with it and found it easy to fit all of our stuff we brought from home.”
For most roommates, it doesn’t take long for lasting friendships to form. Brigid Colligan (freshman-nursing), who attended summer session, became close with her roommate from the start and is planning on rooming with her again in the fall.
“I felt a tad insecure at first, but my current roommate is one of the sweetest, most respectful and polite people I know and we both get along really well,” Colligan said. “I look forward to rooming with her because we are so close that I won’t feel as guilty if I’m not completely tidy or if I’d do something random or weird.”
Although moving in may seem intimidating, meeting new people and making new friendships is one of the greatest parts of the college experience.
“Having a roommate may not seem convenient all the time, but living with new people is a lot of fun and I’m excited to have three more roommates in the fall,” Tom Mullin (freshman- undergraduate studies) said.