THE ROOMMATE CHECKLIST

I think it was Forrest Gump who wisely said, “roommates are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get” and I couldn’t agree more. Some of my greatest friends started out as roommates …..but so did some of my greatest foes.

Celebrating Saint Patricks Day with my roommates…
…or should i say, best friends

Every time you move in with people you take a chance that you will either have the best or worst living experience of your life. That being said, there is nothing more wonderful than growing together with a group of people and becoming best friends – and so for me, the gain is always worth the risk.

After having lived with 31 different roommates, I made the checklist below based on my experiences. If anything, these questions serve as food for thought before picking your future roommates…

Do they have pets?  

Will they consistently clean up after their pet? Does their pet shed? How big is their pet and will it be a ginormous addition to your already small apartment? 

You may quickly become irritated that someone else’s animal is roaming around the house, getting in the way. Also, because the pet is not your own, you may not feel a connection or interest in it and may instead just become annoyed.

Do they smoke?

WHAT do they smoke? How often do they smoke? Are they open to smoking outside only?

If you are a non-smoker, I would not recommend living with a smoker. Constantly breathing in polluted air when you’re not used to it is hard on your lungs and affects the way your food tastes. I always find myself leaving the room when my roommates smoke inside which is really inconvenient.

Do they listen to music out loud often?

How many hours a day will they play music out loud? Will they play music out loud at night?

If you are a person that likes to get 8 hours of shuteye in before class or work, living with a night owl won’t work. Even more so a night owl that likes to listen to music loud and late at night. You’ll find yourself wide awake late at night asking yourself why you didn’t take this question on my checklist seriously!

How do they usually spend their weeknights? 

Do they often have friends over on weeknights? Do they like to go out on weeknights? Are they quiet late in the evening on weeknights? Will they prevent you from being able to get a good 8 hours of sleep in?

Again, if you are a person that like to go home and relax on weeknights it may not work to live with people that like to go out or have friends over every weeknights. You’ll find you never really have a moment to yourself to relax before taking on tomorrow.

My current roomie and I
…enjoying french food and wine on this particular weeknight!

Do they have a partner?

If so, will their partner visit and stay at the apartment? How often?

I cant express how annoying it can be to wake up in the morning and want to take a shower only to find that your roommates boyfriend beat you to it and doesn’t plan on giving up the bathroom any time soon – or worse, he has already taken a really long shower and drained all the hot water!

Are they clean?

Do they often clean up after themselves? Do they help clean the communal areas of the apartment?

My roommate pet peeves :

  1. Dirty dishes EVERYWHERE! Not only is it an eyesore, but you often end up having to do their dishes for them in order to use the cooking utensils you need.
  2. Walking in to the bathroom after a boy has shaved all over the sink and realizing that their facial hair has found its way into your toothbrushes and makeup.

If you keep a tight and clean ship, you’re going to run into some problems if your roommates dont feel the same.

What are their interests?

What do they do in their spare time?  What do they like to do on their  weekends? Do they like to go out and party? Do they abstain from alcohol?

While I think it can be really interesting to live with people with different interest and lifestyles from you, there should be somewhat of a common ground in order to be able to respect each others needs. For example, it may not be in the best interest of a very loud and outgoing person to move in with a roommate that prefers solitude and calm.

I can’t say Im particularly interested in football…
But my second year roomies definitely got me into the spirit!

What are their expectations from living with roommates?

Are they interested in hanging out together? In cooking meals or grocery shopping together?

Personally, I really like to spend time with my roommates either cooking, playing boardgames, having movie nights, etc.. But this may not be everyones cup of tea! If you’re a social person, you may want to seek out social roommates.

Most importantly… 
are they ready to drink sangria and play boardgames with you?

What are they studying?

Does their program require that they do a lot of work in silence? Does their work require creativity and exchange or solitude and concentration?

Through doing my Masters Degree in a foreign language and an intensive reading and writing program, I find that when I come home I like to have peace and quiet to work. My roommates on the other hand, are both studying art and need music blasting to get the creative juices flowing. These divergin programs of study are often a source of conflict at home…

What languages do they speak?

Are they able to communicate in the same language as you? 

Living with people you have no way of communicate with can make for a very lonely experience. Especially if you are the odd man out and are the only roommate that doesn’t speak the same language as everyone else.

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