Sometimes (all the time for freshmen) you don’t get the final say on whom you room with. But alas, if you must live with them for the next several months, you should put your best foot forward. You may not know them very well or you may not even like them all too much when getting to know them, but here are some tips that will help improve the room/suite dynamics.
- Have a weekly meal
There is a reason why dinner on Sunday is called “family dinner.” Take advantage of this opportunity when everyone is forced to eat in their residential college and that one suitemate can’t sneak away to luxuriate in the Stiles dining hall. If conflicting schedules intervene, as they always do, settle for a quick early brunch. Eating in the dining hall is the best low-key way to get to know someone, because you can fill the awkwardness by eating or getting up for another plate of cheesecake brownies. It’s also great for winding down from the week or winding up for the weekend.
Perhaps eat more gracefully than Ron
2. Do a jigsaw puzzle together
Okay, it doesn’t have to be a literal jigsaw puzzle, although doing a jigsaw puzzle can be very therapeutic and impressive to any suite visitors. Find activities, like a jigsaw puzzle or board games, that require low commitment and can stretch out for any period of time. It’s also particularly fun when everyone is awake (and perhaps not sober) at 1 AM on a Saturday and not quite ready to end the night. If there is a final product at the end, it can be a piece of decor and part of the collective suite space.
A low-key bonding activity
3. Celebrate each other’s achievements
Maybe I’m just always looking for a reason to celebrate, but a roommate’s success is as good as any. If someone just finished a midterm, go out for Free Topping Tuesday froyo. Or if everyone has gotten over a particularly heavy-loaded first half of the week, celebrate with a night of Woad’s. To do something with less effort, pleasantly surprise your roommate by taping her first YDN article onto the bedroom door. Even small gestures can easily bring positivity into the suite dynamic.
4. Attend each other’s events
Your suitemates will inevitably be involved with interesting extracurriculars that you didn’t even know were a thing, be it experimental theater or varsity squash. Show up to a performance or a game not only to support your suitemate, but also to attend something that you wouldn’t have otherwise known about. You also get to see them in their “zone,” doing something that they’re totally into. Extra perks if your suitemate is involved in a cultural community, and there’s free food at every event.
Everyone at Yale
5. Have the talk
Yes, this advice gets passed along quite a bit, and it is common sense to talk about house rules when just moving in with other people. However, the unexpected trick to this is to have the talk (again) after about a month of living together, when you know who is actually the messy one and how often the trash really needs to be taken out. From there, you can fix the flaws in your cleaning system or entirely restructure your sexiling policy if necessary. Have group discussions with 100% attendance and be up-front, to ensure there is no passive-aggressive tension, and everyone can work to compromise.
Don't be like this
6. Have mini dance parties
Because there is nothing like an entire suite breaking out into a High-School-Musical-esque jam session when Queen’s “Somebody to Love” comes on. Your music tastes may not align or even intersect at all, but there are certain hits that everyone has come to love, or will invariably bob their heads to. For the length of a song, take a break from the Sunday night cramming, and embrace each other’s awkward dancing and off-pitch bellowing.
Rock those moves!