College, as well as graduate/professional school, is not just about
what you learn from a textbook, lecture, or professor. From the 18-year-old freshman to the 35-year-old returning to school, time spent at a college or university is an opportunity to continue to grow as an adult by developing interpersonal skills. One main way for students (no matter your age) to develop skills such as effective communication and conflict resolution is by having roommates.
Living with another individual should be an opportunity to learn how to communicate your expectations, desires, and pet peeves, as well as how to resolve issues as they come up. In fact, at some point (preferably within the first week or month of moving in) you should have a conversation with your roommates, such that everyone can set a foundation for living expectations. Even if you feel like you've already missed the opportunity to have these discussions, it is better that the conversation is delayed, as opposed to continuing to wallow in dysfunction. (Better late than never!) Download (or screenshot) this roommate checklist, and use it to guide the conversation. Hopefully your living partners are mature and receptive; however, even if it feels awkward to initiate such a conversation, it is necessary. Many damaging fall-outs can be avoided if issues are addressed head-on, no matter how uncomfortable they may feel at first. And in case you're wondering, all roommates pictured above were some of my most awesome and receptive house buddies. :-)
Need advice or one-on-one coaching through college or law school? We've got you covered. Check out HarvardandHardshipLLC.com, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.