Stomping the Yard

The State of College Roomate Relations

Calling all college students! Our weekly column, Stomping the Yard, aims to help undergrads excel in their studies and social lives.’s team of experts will show you how to get it done, from the day you move into the dorms to the minute you step off campus for that first job. Submit questions and feedback for Stomping the Yard via

Ensuring that student voices are heard, I love to feature the work and perspectives of current college students, and so this week instead of sharing my 15-year-old college roommate sagas, I’m sharing tips from current University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill freshman Idalis Payne. Below, she shares some excellent tips for navigating college life with a roommate.

Idalis Payne (1)

Living on a college campus is a huge adjustment–one that no student is truly prepared to make. For many students, it’s our first time away from our parents for an extended period and, more likely than not, our first time sharing a room with someone we barely even know. That’s right, I am talking about roommates. Unless you and your family are willing to shell out some extra dollars for a solo suite, you are most likely going to be living with someone else for an entire school year.

Reach out to your roomie

Depending on the college you attend, you may have the option to choose your roommate. If not, you will most likely be prompted to fill out a roommate survey through your school’s department of housing and from there they will match you with someone who has similar living standards as you. Once you find out who your roommate is, take advantage of today’s technology and add them as a friend on Facebook, if they have one. Connecting with your roommate through social media may help take the edge off of meeting someone for the first time, especially if you’re unable to meet your roommate before move-in day.

Establish the rules of engagement

Once you’ve met, it’s important to lay some “ground rules” down before you get too far in the semester as having boundaries will help you avoid possible confrontations and misunderstandings. If you don’t get along with your roommate right away, don’t worry! It takes time to adjust to new surroundings and living with someone you barely know. If you really want to bond with your roomie, I suggest going to eat in the dining hall together and attending various events around campus with them. It’s an easy and free way to get to know each other better, and who knows, you might have more in common than you originally thought.

Utilize your Resident Advisor

Now, if you and your roommate aren’t getting along, I suggest talking to your Resident Advisor and seeing what options you and your roommate have. If things are going terribly wrong, you may have the option to switch roommates, but let’s leave that to being a last resort and something that no one really wants to go through. Roommates are an essential piece to the college puzzle and while you don’t have to be best friends with your roomie, you must be able to remain civil with one another.

Learning life lessons

Hopefully, you and your roommate do get along and end up sharing some great memories together! Living with someone else is never easy, but with good communication, you should be just fine. College is a time for new experiences and living with a roommate definitely makes that list.


About Kelly Fair

Kelly Fair


Kelly Fair is the founder of the highly successful Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program that  has served more than 700 girls, aged seven to 17 years old, to be effective communicators, and career and community conscious leaders! This work has been supported by a network of 300+ volunteers from the Chicagoland community and area businesses such as Bloomingdale’s, Microsoft, ThoughtWorks and many more. You can follow Kelly on her blog and on Twitter at @KFairtheMentor.