Harmonious living: the keys to compromise; Hygiene and room selection factor in

(Illustration by Keryn Brenzel)

In the beginning of your on-campus living career, the College attempted to pair you with someone you wouldn’t strangle. You completed a survey to assess potential compatibility — Are you a morning person? Are you a smoker? How do you feel about your roommate using intravenous narcotics while blasting Tupac at 2 a.m.? These surveys seem to lack some crucial questions. Luckily after this first year, you’re granted the freedom to choose with whom you share living space. But even then, problems can arise.

Living with one person requires a relative compromise of lifestyles. You learn to adapt to each other’s personalities, schedules, morning rituals, etc. When more people are added to this equation, harmony is harder to accomplish.

I’d like to take a more optimistic view of “people” than Sartre, but the reality is: No matter how lovely your housemates may be, your place of residence isn’t a utopia. It can’t be. Off-campus living, in all its “I’m an independent woman/man!” glory, has its hellish moments. The causes vary, of course, but differing schedules and study habits can be cause for conflict. Don’t wait until you find yourself, silent and sleepless, in a cycle of infinite insomnia, with no exit in sight.

Whether you are a social butterfly, a hermit, a party animal or just inclined to behave like a grandma when it comes to noise, it’s essential that you identify how you and your housemates will interact. If you are the stay in your room — be it for studious or Facebook stalking purposes — type, make sure you strategically select your room before moving in. Which space has the most party-potential? Sleep in the farthest room from this place. Talk to your housemates and voice your concern. Explain your propensity as a buzzkill, and they will likely agree it’s for the best.

If and when your social activity (or lack thereof) conflicts with your housemates’ respective schedules, be respectful. When noise is preventing you from sleeping or studying, request that they bring it down a notch. Explain your circumstance and be polite. There’s no need to make demands (unless it persists). Sometimes passive aggressiveness and self-sound-suffocation via pillow just doesn’t cut it. Conversely, if your housemate needs to wake up for an 8 a.m. class, ignore the fact that it’s “Tuesday booze-day,” and try to keep your guests at a reasonable volume. College students don’t just need beauty sleep; they need recuperative hours from mental and bodily destruction.?Being civil and conscientious about each other’s schedules can prevent matters from

getting ugly.

Also to be considered are hygiene schedules. To avoid brawls over the shower, learn each other’s morning schedules. Discuss what time your housemates plan to wake up and work out who gets first dibs. Don’t wait for a cacophonic chorus of simultaneous alarm settings and a subsequent race to the bathroom. If you are particularly concerned about showering in time for class (and perhaps, slightly psychotic — guilty), learn who takes what my father refers to as “Hollywood showers,” and plan to snag shower time before this person. This will likely require waking up earlier, so decide which is more important — sleep or social interaction. If the former, you can also always wear your dishevelment like a rebellious testimony to your alternativeness. Just invest in some scarves and fake glasses. BAM, instant hipster. As for social interaction, just pretend that you’re better than everyone. Someone’s bound to believe it.

Katie Brenzel can be reached at brenzel2@tcnj.edu.