3 women in a Claudette Millar Hall double room talking. One women is sitting on the bed, another standing to her left, and then one in front of her.

How to be a good roommate

Your university experience can be a significant time in your life when you will face challenges and learn more about your personal identity. Living in residence is a great way to expand your perspective as you’ll navigate making new friends, managing your academics, and settling into a new living environment. This transition away from your home comforts and the adjustment to living with others can be overwhelming. 

First, roommate relationships 101 is a great place to start with 4 tips shared from a student’s perspective. Our Campus Housing team would like to support your success by providing you a few more tips on how to be a good roommate. We hope that these guides will help you make the most out of this aspect of your student experience. 

Get to know one another

Start by getting to know one another in the first few weeks of the term; have dinner together, explore campus buildings, or find an activity that you both enjoy. Having conversations about lifestyles and habits are easier when you have a better understanding of who your roommates are and this can help create strong relationships which will help you navigate any challenges you face together. While you dont need to become best friends with your roommates it helps if you can spend some time early in the term getting to know one another. 

Ask your Don for additional support

Your Residence Life Don can help you and your roommates connect if you need support developing a common understanding of each other’s lifestyles. While your Don can help facilitate a roommate agreement it is important to recognize that living in a shared living environment is all about compromise and coming to a common understanding of what each roommate needs to be successful. 

Create a roommate agreement

A roommate agreement can be a tool to help you and your roommates understand each other’s preferences and work towards a cohesive plan. A roommate agreement can help get everyone on the same page about topics like socializing, noise, cleanliness, habits, and other important lifestyle choices. Creating this baseline understanding of what each of you are going to do will help towards ensuring your entire suite has a positive residence experience.

Compromise is key

You and your roommates will likely have different and similar preferences on your living spaces. Disagreements are normal. While you may have a clear understanding of what you want and need out of your residence experience, recognize that youll be living with other people who might have other needs and wants. Compromise will be key to helping everyone stay on the same page and will help all of your roommates feel like you're all contributing to each others success. 

Communication is essential

When it comes to little things its best to address them early. Don't let things build up because thats when things can get negative. Instead, talk about things when you notice them! If you notice that your roommate isn't cleaning the kitchen on their scheduled dates, have a chat with them to make sure things are OK and the schedule still works for them. If your roommate is making a lot of noise during quiet hours for a couple days in a row, check in with them. Be open-minded and be willing to share and learn to grow together. 

Roommate FAQ

I'm having a hard time getting to know my roommate, what should I do?

Spend time with them! Invite them to go to dinner at the cafeteria with you, set up a study group with them, chat about your favourite music, books or TV shows, or attend a residence event together. Inviting your roommates to spend time with you socially is the best way to get to know them. 

My roommate is messier than I am and it's bothering me. What options do I have?

The best thing to do would be to have a conversation with them about what’s worrying you. Establish what concerns you have, what the impact of those concerns are on your experience, and what you hope they can do. Approach the conversation non-judgmentally and to understand their perspective. Also: be prepared to compromise and help them understand your perspective. Try and end the conversation with everyone on the same page about what’s going to happen moving forward. 

I don't like my roommate and I want a room change. What can I do?

It can take time to get comfortable living with someone and we encourage you and your roommates to complete Roommate Agreements or ask your Don for their support in mediating a conversation. Residence Life staff require active participation from all roommates to resolve roommate conflicts or suite concerns. Communication is key to effectively address concerns, so Roommate Agreements and Mediations require everyone to have the opportunity to voice concerns, contribute ideas, and communicate a resolution. Residence Life staff will provide support along the way. We understand you and your roommate may not become lifelong friends, and that's okay! Room changes are only reserved for extenuating circumstances.