Before you move into your new residence hall at Coker, here are a few tips for living with a roommate or suitemates!
1. Plan ahead
Try to reach out to your new roommate or suitemates on our roommate matching software over the summer and negotiate who will be bringing what for the room.
Here’s a tip: In order to maximize the space in your room or suite, it might be best not to have two or three or FOUR of everything! This will help alleviate some confusion and clutter on move in day and beyond.
2. Create rules together
Now that you have a new roommate and/or suitemates, it is important to set up ground rules as soon as possible. At Coker, we provide each room with a roommate contract. This document’s purpose is to verbally negotiate rules for quiet time in the room, rules about having company and visitors, and cleanliness.
Here’s a tip: When discussing, be willing to negotiate. For example, “We can have company over on weeknights, except for Tuesdays and Thursdays since I have an early class on Wednesday and Friday. Deal?”
3. Be considerate
If you ever realize your roommate is studying or sleeping, it may not be a good idea to blast your music or play video games with friends. Be considerate and respectful of your roommate and request the same respect from them. Always keep your room’s ground rules in mind.
Here’s a tip: If you are sleeping and your roommate is loudly talking on the phone, lightly ask “Hey, would you mind keeping it down? I won’t be napping long.”
4. When in doubt, ask permission
Whether its food, or a pencil, or a laptop, always ask permission to use your roommate's or suitemates' belongings. We want you to be comfortable with your roommate, but out of consideration, it’s always polite to ask. Think of how you would feel if you noticed your snacks were missing and your roommate ate them without asking for permission.
Here’s a tip if this ever happens: “Hey_____, I noticed some of my cereal was missing. I know they are delicious and I don’t mind sharing, but if you could ask next time I would really appreciate it.” (With a smile of course!)
5. Don't let your roommate issues linger
Your roommate and suitemates will be the same for an entire school year. Don’t be afraid to address your roommate issues head on. Clear communication is key! Think of it this way: If you don’t say anything, how will your roommate or suitemates ever know what’s bothering you?
Here’s a tip: Be clear and concise about the issue and have a plan in mind to resolve it. Hear your roommates out and be respectful of their feelings. This will open up a space for your roommate issues to stop happening. Also, reach out to your Resident Assistant if you need to—they are trained to help you both talk through these kind of things.
6. Keep it clean
At Coker, we know that everyone has different opinions on what is clean and what is messy. Do your part in making sure the room and bathroom is clean. We take your health and safety very seriously, so we ask that you do your part in preventing any fire hazards, mold or mildew or anything else that could potentially affect your health or well-being.
Here’s a tip: You may want to make a cleaning schedule with your roommates and especially your suitemates if you share a bathroom. Cleaning and keeping air flowing through the restroom is essential to keeping mold and mildew away!
7. Trust your RA
Can't get past your roommate woes? Have no fear! Your RA (Resident Assistant) can come to the rescue! An RA is a student who lives in the halls with you and is trained to help you with your roommate issues. You should always feel comfortable talking to them first about anything, but especially problems within your room. If you have tried your best to resolve your roommate problems and your RA cannot help, the RA will notify the Office of Residence Life and that department can help you explore other residential options.
8. Know that everything will work out
Here at Coker, we know it can be rough moving into a Residence Hall and sharing space with others, but we promise to make your transition as smooth as possible. In some instances, roommates can become best friends—but in others, this may not be true. This is totally normal! As long as you follow the guidelines that you set with your roommate or suitemates, you have done your part.
Here’s a tip: Most issues arise when roommates spend too much time in the room together. In most of our halls, we have lounges and common areas where you can watch movies and TV, study, or just hang with new friends! We also have a pool table, ping-pong and air hockey on the porch in Memorial Hall that is open to everyone. So get out of the room and get moving—Coker has so much to offer!