Roommate advice from a bad roommate

Gage Counts

One of the most exciting – and terrifying – things about going away to college is the rooming situation. While I got lucky with the roommate draw, my roommates didn’t. Based on my experience of being a bad roommate, here’s some advice on how not to lose a roommate.
Bathroom Hog

It’s 8:45; your class starts in 15 minutes, and your roommate has been doing God knows what in the bathroom for the past hour.

Do you go to class without brushing your teeth or do you beat down the door until your roommate is forced to come out?

Don’t allow your roommate to abuse his or her time in the bathroom. Create a schedule so everyone has a chance to look beautiful.



Unless you’re living by yourself or with people who all smoke as often as you do, it’s very disrespectful to make your roommates come home to a room that smells like smoke from all the way down the hall. Even if you’re comfortable with the risk of being caught doing something that is banned in the dorm and on-campus, your roommates might not be. Do not put them in the position to where they might have to answer to a resident assistant or LUPD.

If you discover that your roommates have been blazing it in your room, and you’re uncomfortable with it, put an end to that immediately. Let them know that’s not OK, and if they don’t listen to you, there’s always an RA you can call – though it’s better for everyone if you leave that as the last resort.

Noise level

Noise levels can be difficult to gauge, but if your roommate is trying to sleep, keep it down. It’s OK to be reasonably loud during the weekend, but during the week, some people are trying to sleep so they can wake up for class the next day. Thursday is not part of the weekend.

If you need sleep, and your roommates – or neighbors – are keeping you awake, don’t be shy in telling them. You will not be a square if you do. Even the most hardened partiers will have nights where they need peace and quiet.


Clean. Your. Room. This is the one thing that I’m the good roommate on, and I can tell you, one of the most annoying things is needing to wash your hands and not being able to fit them under the faucet because there are too many dirty dishes in the sink. Take out the trash when the trash can is full; don’t just keep putting garbage on it. Don’t leave food out overnight. And for Christ’s sake, flush the toilet. Courtesy flushes are too often forgotten in the roommate 101 guides your parents buy you before you leave for school.

If you are the clean one and your roommates are slobs, feel free to retaliate. I can’t remember how many times I got so tired of not being able to wash my hands that I just hurled the dirty dishes onto the main culprit’s bed. Try talking to them before you take it as far as I did, though.

Hopefully you can see the reccurring theme. Respect your roommates’ space, and if they don’t respect yours, assert yourself. These can be challenging things for young college students to get used to, but it’s a necessary part of growing up. If you make friends with your roommates, give them respect and earn theirs. Living with strangers in college can be one of the highest points in your life.