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Let’s Talk! Conversations to Have with Your Roommate

August 24, 2023

By Sophia Raspanti

Welcome to campus Tar Heels! Now that you’re all moved-in, settle in for the semester! The adventure begins, and getting to know your roommate is an important step. There’s a lot to talk about, so settle in and take a look at some suggestions I’ve compiled that can make your experience smooth sailing!

Once you’ve introduced yourselves to each other, set some time aside to learn each other’s habits, interests, and schedules. It’s important to set expectations for each other as a framework for how you will create a positive and safe environment. But what questions should you ask? Don’t worry, after four years of experience sharing a space with my roommate, these were our most important questions:

  • Create a Bathroom & Bedtime Schedule

Are you a night-owl or a morning lark? Do you have an 8am class and need to set multiple alarms? What about your roommate?

We all need sleep, especially when college is packed full of classes that require full brain power. Discuss what times you typically go to bed and when you plan to wake up. If you set alarms, make sure to let your roommate know when your earliest alarm will set off. If you and your roommate have different sleep/wake schedules, create a plan in advance that will allow each of you to rest and refresh. Lack of sleep can be a recipe for stress and tension, so take time to create a meaningful plan.

Additionally, take time to create a bathroom schedule. This is mainly important if you live in a suite with a shared bathroom, as it may take additional planning to ensure each of your suitemates can take showers and get ready in the morning (or evening). Discuss expectations and personal preferences. While things may change over the course of the semester, it’s important to have an open line of communication so that potential problems can be solved easily and amicably.

(Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)
  • Discuss Class Schedules and Study Habits

In the post-COVID-19 era, we are moving further and further away from Zoom courses, but some professors still choose to offer remote options for students. Additionally, some projects, clubs, and other events outside of lecture may utilize remote technology. Discuss your class schedule with your roommate and create a plan so that each of you can get the most out of class! Additionally, discuss your study habits. Do you prefer to study in the room? The library? At night? During the day? Make a plan: maybe you will choose to have special quiet hours or something else! It’s the name of the game when sharing a space with someone else: communication, communication, communication!

  • Create a Cleaning schedule & Delegate Responsibilities

Keeping your space clean can help relieve stress during the semester. In a shared space, many cleaning responsibilities like sweeping and taking the trash/recycling out are shared tasks. Set expectations of cleanliness and divide tasks! Not only will this open your line of communication, but it inspires teambuilding and friendship.

(Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)
  • Shared vs. Non-Shared Items

Creating a shared space often means having shared items. Often, you and your roommate may share larger appliances, such as a mini-fridge, microwave, or futon. Make sure to discuss expectations of not only larger shared items, but additional items as well. My roommate and I were very close friends and eventually shared pretty much everything, but each roommate situation is different. Be clear with your boundaries to remove confusion, and if in doubt: always ask!

  • Discuss Rules about Visitors

Having friends (or a romantic partner) over is great… except when your roommate (or yourself) isn’t too happy about it. Discussing and creating a guest policy with your roommate is a great way to plan and alleviate concerns and potential stress. Discuss hours when guests may visit, as well as open a line of communication for discussing unique situations and handling them as you see fit. I know I’ve said it many times, but communicating openly with your roommate is essential!

In Conclusion

Your relationship with your roommate is unique, but that doesn’t mean it will be difficult! My roommate and I became incredibly close friends and lived together for multiple years. She was a part of nearly all my favorite college memories, and I can’t imagine what my experience would have been without her! Getting to know your roommate is only the first step in creating a lasting friendship, filled with awesome and exciting memories that will stay with you for decades to come. Take photos, explore campus and Franklin Street, study together in the libraries, and enjoy the year to come!

(Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Carolina Housing updates policies and protocols regularly. Information found within this blog may not reflect our current standards and procedures. If you have any questions, please contact Carolina Housing at for the most up to date information.

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