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Shared Living


Learning to live in close quarters and with a person you do not know very well presents a challenge. In order to create an atmosphere that permits studying to get done, relaxation and sleeping to occur, privacy needs to be met, and perhaps even a deep friendship to develop. All of the above are more likely to happen if the two of you communicate openly and listen willingly. Start by becoming acquainted with each other’s background, attitudes, habits, and moods so you know what to expect of each other. The following questions will help facilitate sharing. Keep in mind that your roommate is not going to be a carbon copy of you. There will be differences. You both need to adjust, accommodate, and compromise. Just give it a try!

Questions To Ask Each Other

  • Begin by getting to know your roommate as a person: Hometown? Career goals? Talents? Hobbies? Likes? Dislikes? • What about guests dropping by? How often? How late? Weekend visitors?
  • What time do you go to sleep? What time do you get up? Are you a heavy or light sleeper? Do you snore?
  • How much do you study? When do you study? How quiet does the room have to be for you to study?
  • At what temperature do you like to keep the room?
  • What kind of music do you prefer? How loud? Can you use headphones?
  • How clean and neat do you want the room? How do we decide who cleans what and when in the room?
  • Which items of property are OK to borrow? Which items are off-limits? How will we set up the room? What about food in the room? Do we share?

The Roommate Bill Of Rights

  • The right to sleep and study free from undue interference in one’s room. Unreasonable noise, guests, and other distractions inhibit the exercise of this right.
  • The right to expect that a roommate will respect one’s personal belongings.
  • The right to a clean environment in which to live.
  • The right to free access of one’s room and facilities without pressure from a roommate.
  • The right to privacy.
  • The right to be free from fear of intimidation, physical and/or emotional harm.
  • The right to host guests with the understanding those guests are to respect the rights of your roommate or apartment-mates and the rights of other residents in the building.
  • The right to readdress grievances. Residential Life staff members are available for assistance in settling conflicts.

Shared Living Agreements

If you find that you and your roommate could use some help getting a discussion of issues started, your RA can help. He or she can provide you with assistance in creating a “Shared Living Agreement.” This agreement will focus your discussion on areas of potential conflicts and help you and your roommate come to mutual solutions.

Survival Tips

  • Discuss “Questions to ask each other” as soon as possible.
  • Be realistic: Don’t expect your roommate to be your best friend and constant companion.
  • Continuous close contact can strain even the best of friendships.
  • Keep the lines of communication open.
  • Discuss potential areas of conflict. Be open to compromises.
  • If your roommate is doing something you don’t like don’t repress your feelings. It’s usually better to air gripes immediately rather than to store up a lot of petty grievances until you have a major blowup.
  • Be considerate of your roommate’s privacy.
  • Never assume your roommate is just like you. You are both individuals Always ask permission when borrowing items. Even if you think it might be OK.
  • Appreciate your roommate. Praise, respect and courtesy are the foundations for any positive relationship. Never take your roommate for granted. Avoid being judgmental. You are not your roommate’s keeper.
  • Be honest, assertive and stand up for yourself.
  • Ask your Area Coordinator for advice. He/she is trained to help mediate conflicts.

Your room/apartment/suite must be shared equally with all residents assigned to that specific room/apartment/suite. This includes furniture, its configuration and how the space is shared in the room. The Office of Residential Life will work with student to ensure that all students have an equal and appropriate amount of space in their room/apartment/suite. The Office of Residential Life would prefer that students make this determination on their own, however, if necessary, each student will be assigned an equal portion or “half” of the room to be utilized.