Hey y’all! We’re Laura Scott Cary (‘22) and Meredith Lloyd (‘22), and we were freshman year roommates and are still best friends! We didn’t know each other before we decided to become roommates, but we really lucked out and ended up having the best time living together. However, it wasn’t all luck: our almost-instant friendship came from good communication, shared interests, and similar living habits. So today we thought we’d share some tips with you on how to communicate with potential roommates in order to figure out if you’d be compatible living together! Or, if you’re going random, this can still be helpful to maintain a healthy relationship with whoever you end up with!
Don’t be afraid to reach out!
LS: I actually wasn’t looking for a roommate, because my sister lucked out with a random roommate when she was in college and I was nervous about the whole process of looking for one through Facebook. But when Meredith reached out, she seemed really interested in getting to know me even after I told her I wasn’t looking for a roommate. When I realized we had incredibly similar interests, I decided that Meredith was exactly the kind of roommate I was hoping to get through the random roommate process, and I knew I had to reach out again.
M: We met on the admitted students Facebook page, and I just DM’ed Laura Scott on Instagram asking her if she was looking for a roommate. She wasn’t, like she said, but I kept talking to her in hopes that we would become friends once we got onto campus! We ended up chatting for about a week and realized we were into a lot of the same things. She came crawling back and asked if I was still looking for a roommate (I was). We decided to room together, and the rest is history!
Find out what you have in common.
LS: One of the first things Meredith and I did when getting to know each other was ask a lot of questions. We started by talking about basic information, (“What’s your major?” “Do you have siblings?”) then dove into more specific interests and hobbies. I would recommend asking each other about things that really matter to you – I’m passionate about good food and music, so I was really curious to know what Meredith liked to eat and listen to. If religious or political beliefs are important to you, consider discussing those topics with your potential roommate. You don’t have to agree on everything, but having some common ground will make living together a lot easier.
Talk about your decorating styles.
M: To some people, having a matching room isn’t super important. To me, though, I really wanted something that felt cohesive and homey! LS and I agreed on a color scheme and a general layout, and she kind of gave me the reins from there. When I found something I liked, I would send it to her to see if she liked it, too. However, if you and your roommate have conflicting styles, it might be good to discuss doing your own things. We went for a light, cozy feel with lots of soft textures. We both decorated our own walls with pictures, posters, and tapestries that we chose on our own. The most important thing with coordinating room efforts, though, is creating a space that you can both feel comfortable in. Try to work with your roommate to make sure they feel heard and at home in your new shared space. Also! Check out how our room ended up:
Discuss living habits.
LS: Before Meredith and I fully committed to being roommates, we planned a FaceTime call where we would discuss our personal living preferences and boundaries. We talked about bedtimes, cleanliness, studying habits – even the temperature we would want the room to be at! Finding out if your living styles are compatible is really important to your future happiness as roommates, and if it seems like you have completely different priorities (for example if they love to stay out late and you go to bed really early), you might want to reconsider living with that person.
M: It’s also good to talk about how much you want to share. LS and I shared clothes, food, and basically anything in the room, but we always asked permission first. Also, talking about how clean you want the room is smart. While we both might have overexaggerated our levels of tidiness, we managed to find time to clean at least once a week. Having an honest conversation about what works best for you and finding a middle ground is best practice for a healthy relationship.
What kind of dorm do you want to live in?
M: At SMU, there’s two different dorms types you can preference in the room selection process: community style and suite style. In a community style dorm, you and your roommate will share a bathroom with people on your hall. Those bathrooms get cleaned daily, and they’re a really good way to meet people. In a suite style bathroom, you and your roommate will share a bathroom adjacent to your room with another set of roommates. These bathrooms get cleaned once a week, and it’s a cool way to get really close with the other set of roommates you share with. Laura Scott and I preferenced a suite, and that’s what we ended up with. We liked the idea of having our own space to be responsible for, but our friends in community style swear they would never do anything different. Talk to your future roommate about what style you guys would want! Both are great options.
M: It’s important to remember that living with someone is a challenge even for the most accommodating of people. The most important thing to remember is communication is key. Being honest with your likes and dislikes from the very beginning will ensure that you and your roommate are compatible.
LS: We happened to be incredibly compatible as roommates and as friends, but know that it’s okay if you and your future roomie aren’t as close – college is all about individual experiences, and we each spent a lot of our freshman years cultivating our own separate interests in addition to spending time together. When we didn’t get to room together sophomore year because Meredith became an RA, we were both bummed. But since we both had friends and support systems outside of our roommate bubble, not living together didn’t put a strain on our SMU experiences! We encourage you to make friends and find hobbies separate from your roommate, even if you are close. Find the things that make you happy, and you’ll have an amazing time at SMU.