Cultural Experience | Colorado

A Guide to Living with Roommates

It Won’t Always Go Perfectly But With Communication You’ll Hit Your Stride.

By Jocelyn Rosenthal, University of Colorado
College Tourist Ambassador

College is a time where you meet many people, some like you and many from different backgrounds. My sophomore year I lived by myself which has its positives and negatives, but ultimately for my junior and now senior year I decided to live with 5 other girls in a house. The first year, as with any group of people living together we went through our ups and downs now in our second year of living together we have hit our stride.

Set Guidelines

Some people love going to bed late and waking up late, others like to hit the sack early and wake up early to start their day. When you are living with someone who is on a different schedule with you things can get difficult. One simple way to avoid issues with this is to sit down with your roommate and discuss guidelines for living. Great topics to discuss are when people are allowed over until, significant others who may be staying over or other friends, and what you feel comfortable with going on in your room. Setting clear expectations with your roommates is a great way to prevent many tensions that can arise throughout the year.

Set Boundaries and Compromises

Some people are of the mindset “whats mine is yours” others are people are not so keen on sharing their belongings. When you are living with someone you are bound to want to borrow a shirt, use their make up or borrow something of your roommates. Talk with your roommates about this, are they ok with you borrowing something or is that something they really don’t like.

Another big issue that can arise between roommates is cleanliness, some people throw their things everywhere and others have a room that looks like it could be in a magazine. It is important to know which side of the spectrum you and your roommates fall in to. One way to find a happy medium is setting times to clean your communal spaces, so that everyone can feel comfortable in your living space.  Setting personal boundaries with your roommates early is key to successful living.

Make Your House or Dorm Homey

An important part of anywhere you live is making it a haven for you to relax, entertain, and sleep in. The more personal you make your space the happier you will be in it. A great way to bond with your roommates is doing DIY crafts like embellishing cork boards, painting pictures, making photo boards and anything that makes your shared space unique to you and your roommates. In my personal experience, making your space more homey makes all those who live there want to keep it tidier and kept. This is also a great way to bond and learn more about your roommates, and who doesn’t love making arts & crafts?


In my house with 6 girls living together it is hard to find a time where all of us are there at once. We tried doing group texts to help, but some people didn’t respond etc. What has worked best for our house is hanging a dry-erase board for everyone to leave notes for the girls in our house. On this board we put our bills, reminders, and other notes. It has been extremely helpful to draw attention to little issues, such as leaving dirty dishes around, without being confrontational, and has been extremely successful since we started using it in our house.

Make Special Roommate Nights

In college everyone is busy between classes, jobs, and extracurriculars. It’s easy to omit time with your roommates in order for you to fit everything in to your schedule. My roommates have found that with all our commitments it nice to find a time ideally once a week to all spend time together and take a load off. These activities can include making dinner together, movie nights, crafts or anything that you can all do together. Spending quality time with your roommates learning more about each other is one of the best ways to promote amicable living!

These are just some ideas how to have the best year with your roommates. Think of your own ways to make living with your roommates the best way possible and remember things won’t always go perfectly. Always use communication to work through the issues that arise, and step back from situations and put yourself in their shoes, because everyone comes from different backgrounds and lifestyles. These are some of the best years of our lives so enjoy them and have a great time with your roommates!

Jocelyn Rosenthal

University of Colorado at Boulder | 9 stories

I am originally from New Jersey, but traded my bathing suit and road rage for skiing and hikes with my dog Rufus in the Rocky Mountains. I love running, arts & crafts and visiting wacky roadside attractions.

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