How To Lose a Roommate in 4 Months

College roommates are tricky, especially in New York where space is limited, buildings are old, and once you’re off campus you’re living in a real world environment with real adults. As I approach 2 years in New York, I look back on all 4 of my roommates and wonder where it went wrong and where it went right.


1. Rooms Don’t Clean Themselves

As cool as it would be to sing a little tune and watch the cockroaches scattered about your apartment team up to tidy up à la Enchanted, this has yet to happen to me and boy have I tried. Freshman year, the cleaning in my suite was wistful thinking. Piles of dishes in the sink and beyond sported food remnants caked on like it had grown there. The stench was rivaled only by the trash, which filled every empty trash-looking container we had. A pile of unclaimed broken glass lasted over a week in a corner. The K-Mart Brand Swiffer was the only thing not dirty, it stood untouched next to the kitchen as a woeful reminder. I don’t really blame our suite of six girls – we were busier than ever, more independent than ever, and I guess more content to live in filth than I ever will be again. Early on we all claimed ourselves as clean people and concluded that there was no further need to discuss how we were going to keep each other honest and it spiraled from there. So my advice to you? Set up expectations and a cleaning schedule. Go buy cleaning supplies before you need them. And though we all have that laundry chair, just make sure there isn’t rotting food under all those clothes.


2. Talk in Person

The digital age makes communication much more accessible, but when it come to the person sleeping in the same room as you, it’s best to address things about your shared living space in your shared living space. Sure the occasional “Can you make sure my straightener is off?” isn’t going to do you any harm. But when you are sitting 12 feet from each other all afternoon, you shouldn’t receive a text about how they would prefer if you didn’t have people over on Wednesdays 2 minutes after you walk out the door. As someone who spent a semester living with that person, I would find myself falling into a trap of replying to these long texts about things that made her uncomfortable instead of bringing it up face to face. Learning to stand up for yourself or addressing a situation in person can be hard, but it’s always the best route to go. Otherwise, four months into living with someone you’ll get a text as you walk out the door saying that this living situation is no longer working for them, and you never see them again.


3. You Deserve Your Space Too

Maybe you’ve been graced with the perfect roommate whose schedule and friends fit perfectly with yours. I was not that lucky. One of my roommates was so adamant about never having people over to our apartment that on the occasional Saturday I did, she’d shut herself in her room despite my attempts to be friendly and socialize. There’s a difference between being a good roommate and a huge pushover. As much as I wanted to respect her space, I also felt I deserved to hang out in my own apartment every once in a while. Of course, there are times where it’s okay to request space from your roommate and all their friends, as long as this isn’t 100% of the time. It would have been unrealistic for me to be paying for an apartment that I was never in because my roommate didn’t allow people over. Living the early 20s adult life is all about learning to compromise and respect peoples living spaces on both sides.


4. Make a Friend

After you’ve sorted through the kinks of living with someone, it’s important to think about how you get along as people. A roommate can be just some person you share a living space with, or they can be someone you think of as a part of your home. Despite your own busy life, don’t forget to take a moment to talk to your roommate at the end of the day or even make plans with them every once in a while. The person you’re living with can have a drastic effect on how comfortable you are in your own home, and friendly conversation can bring things to a whole different level.


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By Caroline Flynn

Caroline Flynn is a Sales and Publishing Intern at the Campus Clipper studying Theatre at NYU Tisch. Caroline is passionate about the arts and dedicated to using her voice to make other people smile. As she heads into her Junior year, she is excited to be writing about how relationships have shaped her life while she takes on summer in the city for the first time. Check out her Instagram for more witty and heartfelt content on her life. 

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