What can be more exciting—or daunting–about boarding school life than living with a roommate for the first time, who is most likely a total stranger?
The questions flood your mind. What if he’s the opposite of me? What if he’s an early bird and I’m a night owl? What if he sleeps with a nightlight? What if she gets up to use the bathroom ten times a night? What if she snores? What if he hates my hard rock music, and I can’t stand his country music? What if he’s an international student who doesn’t speak any English? What if he’s a jock? What if she’s a cheerleader? What if he’s a nerd? What if she hates my pink and loves that ugly green color that’s in fashion? What if…what if…what if…
What if scenarios are fun. I could go on all day. But I suppose you’d like some helpful information. So, once again from our dorm supervisors, commandant, and director of residential life, here are some key pearls of wisdom:
1. First of all, introduce yourself to the roommate and his or her parents. Be the friendly one.
2. Strike up a conversation and find out if there is anything you are both interested in. Do this almost as soon as you meet. Chances are you have something in common, because most boarding schools look at the student applications and try to put together roommates who have something in common. Sports, music, classes, interests…talk about it all.
3. Be willing to share–be honest about yourself–in your conversations.
4. Be willing to share your stuff. Sharing your stuff doesn’t mean what’s mine is yours–the items that belong to you are yours and the items that belong to him are his, so be courteous to your roommate and do not touch each others’ stuff. However, you should be considerate of your roommate’s needs. Let her borrow a pen or have a cookie. If his computer crashes and he has a paper due the next day, help him out.
5. Speaking of stuff…look after your roommates things like they were your own.
6. Discuss such things as expectations, pet peeves, and jobs within the room to ensure cleanliness and standards. Set up a cleaning schedule for which each of you are to keep clean in the room i.e.: sink, mirror, door glass, floor and under bunk. When we talk of a room inspection that means the whole room, not just your side. Teamwork goes a long way.
This got way too long, so I broke it up. The rest will be posted in the next blog…