Dorm room filled with decorations.

Photo by Nataly A via Flickr.
A dorm room is decorated with various knick knacks and photos.

School is officially back in session and with a new semester comes new roommates.

Whether you’re going into senior year, or just moved into the dorms, you probably have a roommate. If you’re an independent person that lives alone, we salute your bravery to being the only person around to kill the spiders you find in the shower.

Learning to live with other people isn’t easy. One thing is certain—if everyone was a better roommate, there wouldn’t be any issues with living with other people. Either way, you should try your best to be courteous to get through the year.

Differences and issues can start small before they evolve into knockout, dragged-out fights. You have the standard offenses like your roommate refusing to refill the Brita pitcher or forgetting to shut the lights off.

You also have the extreme offenses like your roommate bringing someone home as you’re trying to study for midterms or eating the slice of cheesecake you clearly marked with your name.

The key to overcoming these issues is through clear communication.

On their website, University of Nevada, Reno, Housing says to “Listen respectfully to your roommate when they bring up concerns. Together, try to find a solution that will work for both or all of you.”

Even though it might be awkward to tell someone you just met how you feel, it’ll be better in the long run if you and your roommates are honest.

Sometimes there’s no way to avoid it and you get stuck with a terrible roommate. Not someone who is a “terrible” roommate because they accidentally used the last of your milk because they were running late. No, I’m talking about a roommate who you Venmo charged six times for WiFi and they still haven’t paid it.

Maybe it was a random set up, or maybe it’s your best friend (or who was your best friend until you decided to live together) either way, it’s a bad situation to be in.

It’s upsetting to imagine living with someone you don’t like, but if there’s no way to avoid it, you can learn from it. It sounds cliche, but college truly is the best time to grow and find yourself.

It’s not easy to find a new place to live or break a lease, so usually, you’re forced to stick it out with your horrible roommate until the end of the school year. That’s okay because during this time you have the chance to figure out who you are without being a homebody.

It’s easy to hide out in the place that’s most familiar and safe, which is usually your home, more specifically your room. Your room is the place where your most treasured items stay, where you sleep at night, and where you feel comfortable. It’s meant to be this way which is why people resort to staying in instead of going out.

When you have an unbearable roommate, the choice is made for you. You want to leave and do things outside of your home because your “home” doesn’t feel like a home should feel. You do whatever you can to make sure you don’t have to go home.

Sometimes it’s in the form of watching Netflix in the Knowledge Center for three hours. Other times, it’s your bank statement looking like a Yelp list of food suggestions because you refuse to cook dinner where you live.

Take the time you need to figure out what you like. Maybe you find a special spot in town comforting. Maybe this new change inspires you to be more assertive with what you want. The more you figure out about yourself, the more possibilities that are open. You might just want to remedy things with your roommate, or you might never want to speak to them again. Either way, you’ll know what you want.

Not all roommates are best friends. Some roommates live together simply because their lifestyles are similar and they can count on each other. Not every living situation has to have a romantic comedy-esque set up, and not every roommate situation has to look like an episode of New Girl. Figure out what works for you, and run full speed ahead … hopefully, by senior year you’ll have it all figured out.

Jacey Gonzalez can be reached at and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.