That ol’ Carman view

So you’re living with a stranger now.  Maybe it’s the first time you’ve shared a room or maybe you’ve been bunking with you sister since birth, but this whole “college” thing is still a new experience.  To that end, Bwog’s editor and her roommate of going-on four years, who were randomly paired in Carman back in the day, want to shed some wisdom on how to be a reasonable human being good roommate.  If you have any specific questions, email

Being a good roommate is all about equal give-and-take.  You’re stuck with this person in 150 sq. ft. for the next 10 months, so just be nice, aware of your actions, and non-obtrusive.  If that’s too general, here are some tenets we’ve learned over the years from our own experiences and those of our friends:

  • Don’t judge based on those overly-excited, overtly-polite Facebook messages you exchanged. Do feel free to make fun of yourselves in six months, though.
  • Upon arrival, do not judge based on embarrassing furnishings.  Maybe that PEACE-LOVE-SHOES pillow was just the least-offensive one your roommate could find when her mom dragged her to KMart.
  • Also: your room furnishing color-coordination will never work, nor will it be worth it.
  • Equalize the space you take up.  If one gets the good closet, one must also take the bed next to the radiator.
  • Don’t leave puke in the bathroom.  That shit’s not cute.
  • Learn to balance your fears.  If one of you can handle cockroaches, the other has to handle mice.
  • Don’t be fucking racist/homophobic/classist/rude.
  • Learn to sexile in advance.  Don’t just inform your roommate that sex is presently happening and it is in his best interest to stay clear.
  • Similarly, accept your sexile with enthusiasm and grace.  Unless your roommate’s doing it on a mad-excessive rate, in which case you have to tell him/her that it’s your room, too, and sleeping in your own bed rather than the lounge couch would make you less likely to mark your territory.
  • Hangover in harmony (not the dorm).  Saturday brunch in your sweats in Ferris is your new best friend.

  • Just make sure you’re at least clean, if not particularly neat.
  • Be responsive when your roommate is writing a paper and mumbles “what’s that word that’s like… ?”
  • Don’t spoil Game of Thrones/Girls/Mad Men (And accept the inevitable gasps, laughs, and nail-biting as your roommate watches the new episode.)
  • Don’t judge your roomie’s cooking experiments. Cooking is hard bro.
  • Keep grubHub delivery races to a tasteful minimum. [On that note: sign up for grubHub AND download the app.]
  • When Christmastime comes, help duct tape that wimpy string of lights.
  • Passive aggressive notes are useful but ultimately for chickens.
  • Don’t sell drugs out of the house.
  • Don’t disturb him/her while he/she is finishing an assignment last minute.
  • Addendum: no talking during the crunch time half hour before an exam.
  • Ask before you play music without headphones (unless it’s Buy U A Drank, in which case go crazy).  However, if you’re cleaning the room, you have the right to play music without headphones.
  • When your roommate comes home in the morning, ensure it’s a stride of pride and not a walk of shame (i.e., don’t judge).
  • To that point: if your roommate’s missing for longer than expected, check in, make sure everything’s OK, and take a little bit of responsibility for them–you’re the first one who knows if they don’t make it home, so be aware.
  • Ask before: smoking out the window, having a friend stay over, throwing a party of any size, eating their food, and using their possessions.
  • That said, there should be certain possessions you agree on sharing (big stuff like fridge, microwave, TV, little stuff like water boilers, Nintendo games,  bath mats)
  • Gossip stays in the room.
  • If your neighbor repeats the same song for hours, take it in stride and make it your anthem.
  • Have some fun, be goofy, be friendly, don’t be quick to judge on any basis, don’t be competitive, learn from each other, don’t expect this person to be your immediate BFFAEAEAEAE, and do your laundry.