Department of Residential Life

Welcome to Your New Home!

So this is it. You’ve picked up your room key, you have all your free swag, you’ve moved your things in, said goodbye to your loved ones…and you’re staring in the face of a total stranger.

Don’t panic! We know that living with another person, especially when you’ve never lived with someone before, may seem stressful. However, we have a couple of tips that may make the roommate situation even better.  These can also apply to wing neighbors (we see you, those in single rooms!), or apartment and suitemates (here’s looking at you, South!), or even roommate who you’ve known in the past (even friends since kindergarden and you promise to never, ever fight as roommates? Yeah, this applies to you, too!).

harry potter stranger
simply a look

Communicate: Because you’re going to be living with this person for a while, it’s probably a good idea to talk about the important details that will make living together easier (etc: when will you both wake up? Do you both need to set up a cleaning schedule? Decorations, or no?). A great way to do set up boundaries is to fill out the roommate agreement form in the beginning of the year. This isn’t just something we talk about to sound all cool. It’s actually a great tool for communication and to potentially curb future arguments.

Express your feelings, but don’t be petty: It’s totally fine to have a super-adult conversation about how you’re frustrated because they ate all your microwave pizza. It’s not okay to retaliate by intentionally waking them up two hours before their set alarm time. Unless you and your roommate are 157% perfect all the time, it’s natural to potentially get annoyed with your living partner. Just make sure to give them grace, and figure out a civil way to bring up any potential issues.

Respect! Respect your roommate’s belongings (etc. maybe you shouldn’t have eaten your roommate’s pizza in the last scenarios, Fake Roommate #1. Now you both have bad blood, and they’re planning to wake you up early on purpose). Unless you both set up an “everything in this room is fair game” pact, always, always, always ask before you borrow something. Respect also applies to sharing the room, whether that means an equitable division of room space or designating a common area space and taking care of it together.


Be open to change: Sometimes, people change during the course of the year. And that’s perfectly fine–college is a great time to learn and grow. Allow yourself to be open and flexible, and to revisit boundaries and agreements if necessary.

best friends

Fun things to do with your roommate: Although there is no unspoken rule that you need to constantly joined at the hip with one another (although, let’s be honest: what’s more awesome than living with a good friend?), it is fun to do some activities with your roommate, at least during the first couple of weeks. It’s great to find common activities and do them together. If you both are drawing a blank, we’ve compiled a list to start:
Eat a meal together: You have to eat. They have to eat. Why not increase potential roommate bonding time by eating together?

Attend an RHC meeting together: This is great if you both want to be super-involved and have a say in what programs you see in your hall. For more information, check out the RHC’s webpage.
Go to New Student Orientation (NSO) together: There is going to be an ice cream social. Ice cream. What better way to get to know someone? For the complete list, see NSO’s site.
Have a Netflix movie night: We all know that the first week of school is magical and fantastic, but we definitely need some down time to recharge. If you were planning on staying in and watching Mean Girls for the fiftieth time, and your roommate is there anyway…why not make it a movie night?

Hopefully these tips make living with a roommate more fun, or at least less terrifying. If you all have other tips, or want to post pictures of you and your roommate doing awesome things, tweet or Instagram us at @PLUResLife !

Residence Halls

Learn about the many different residence halls on campus.

Arriving On Campus

What you need to know when you get to PLU!

At Home or On Campus?

Can't decide? Then this is the link for you!