Living in a dorm room is definitely a unique experience, especially when you are thousands of miles away from home. At EF Academy New York, 98% of the students live in the dormitory with their roommates, often from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds. Including myself, many students arrive in the hallway with thousands of questions: What if my roommate and I don’t get along? What if he/she snores? Is this REALLY a good idea? Although sharing a room with a new friend can be intimidating at first, here are some ways to take full advantage of this special experience:
Organize the living space
The first rule of being a great roommate is to keep a tidy space. It doesn’t mean you have to make your bed every morning or vacuum the carpet each night; simply make sure to keep your personal belongings organized. For example, my roommates and I clean the bathroom counters after taking a shower. Leaving your shampoo, body wash, lotion, and hair products everywhere will bring chaos in the morning. Organization also saves a lot of time and space. If you are worried that your room does not have enough space for everything, talk to your roommate to decide how to divide up the shared space. Get into the habit of assigning a place for each item and putting it back immediately after use. You would be surprised how much space you have in your closet!
Decorate the walls
One of the best ways to make your room feel like a home is to add personal touches. From pictures with your best friends to postcards from your home country, anything can make your room unique and special to you. Don’t be afraid to get creative with what you have: polaroid pictures, colorful posters, or even concert tickets from two years ago can be a nice addition to the room. Sharing these memories is also a great way to get closer to your roommates. After all, EF Academy will be your second home for the rest of the year.
Communicate with your roommates
Communication is the key for having a good relationship with your roommates. Always keep in mind that no one understands your feelings or thoughts if you don’t share them with others. In the beginning of the year, you should talk to your roommates about your preferences; When do you usually get up? Do you study in a quiet environment or are you comfortable with a bit of noise? What time do you go to bed? Is it ok to eat in the room? Talking with your roommate can be uncomfortable at first, but it will make your life easier in the long run. Whenever you have any problems, tell your roommate directly. Complaining about your situation to other friends will only make the problem worse.
Sharing a room with someone often requires a certain level of compromise and effort. However, there is so much more to gain from it once you get familiar with your roommates. With open communication and consideration for each other, living in a dormitory at high school will make you grow as a person and teach you important life skills.