Roommates. Where to begin. We all have stories of delicate situations that turned to mayhem or rivalries that turned into friendships (or something in between) to tell about roommates. However, knowing oneself is the key to a peaceful living situation with a roommate. Firstly, if you have the choice of a roommate, choose wisely. We all have our quirks and what you may find endearing in a friend in limited fashion may be irritating or downright unbearable in close, consistent quarters. For example, my freshman year there were two guys who were similar in personality and close friends but they had different roommates to start the school year. They were twinnies: cool, 'hood thoughtful' brothas from gritty East Coast cities; guys with swag and a backstory. They eventually demanded the RA switch their room assignments for the second semester so that they could be roommates. Well, there’s something about living with a person, right? By the end of the semester they were at each other’s throats, all dissimilarities revealed and highlighted, and they even got each other in trouble in the dorm. It was a classic example of the two students a grade school teacher would never let sit together in class turned adult roommates.
All told, compatibility is important but knowledge of self is key. If you are fortunate enough to choose roommates, be honest in your self assessment: know your “go’s”, “no’s” and “hell no’s.” If you choose a friend, try to lay out ground rules early and hold each other accountable. Furthermore, a friendly moderator can solve many problems: a fair friend who can judge disputes is great. However, if you are assigned a roommate, just do your best. That is a minefield, honestly. If there’s no hope with them, try to be sharp enough to ask for a reassignment, albeit to better results than the friends I mentioned. No matter what, bring your best self to the table and hopefully something good will grow.