Two students sitting in a residence hall room reading books together

Having a roommate(s) goes beyond merely sharing a living space. Building a workable roommate situation requires open communication, honesty, and commitment. This may take time and effort, but it will also be one of your most valuable educational experiences beyond the classroom. The responsibility for developing a living environment compatible to all individuals belongs to each roommate.

While you and your roommate are bound to have some things in common, you will also have many differences. In order to learn from these differences, make an effort to learn about your roommate's background and to share a bit of yours as well.

Topics for discussion

Sharing a room requires flexibility and equal consideration. Many decisions will involve compromise, from arranging the room to figuring out study situations. Discussing the following topics with your roommate will help you and your roommate(s) reach an understanding and establish a comfortable environment.

  • Is neatness important to your roommate(s)?
  • How do you feel about borrowing or sharing things (refrigerator, stereo, television etc.)?
  • What is okay to borrow, what is not?
  • Will you both have equal access to the computer, stereo, television, etc., no matter who brought them?
  • Will you both use the same alarm clock?
  • What abut the snooze button?
  • Are there limits to how often the snooze button is used?
  • Are there times when talking to my family and friends on the telephone or Skype are not appropriate?
  • The bulk of my studying occurs when?
  • I am not able to study in this type of environment... I enjoy this type of music (at what level)... When I sleep I enjoy this type of environment (music playing, window open, lights on, etc.,)
  • Are overnight guests acceptable?
  • What are our expectations regarding overnight guests?
  • What is an appropriate time frame for overnight guests to visit (weekends, weekdays, time limits)?
  • If people drop in while one roommate is studying, how will you handle it?
  • What are you looking forward to at Mount Holyoke College?
  • Is there anything that you are nervous about?
  • Have you ever shared a room with someone before?
    If so, what was it like for you?
  • Do you know what your major will be?
    If so, what do you hope to do with it?
  • What types of things are you hoping to get involved in this year?