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For many students, college is the first time he or she has ever had a roommate. This new experience of living with a roommate is clearly different from your experience at home. Managing the expectation to share space with a total stranger, who may have a totally different background, lifestyle, and personal habits can be intimidating or difficult at best. But in the back of your mind you know this experience will reward you with great things like "interpersonal skills" that will help you out long after you've turned in your key and received your degree.

You and your roommate can be very different and still have a successful roommate relationship. It is important that your expectations are realistic or you may be disappointed. Don't expect your roommate to be just like you or your friends from home. It's normal to encounter some problems. After all, it's unrealistic to expect two strangers who share a small space to agree all the time. Basically, getting along with a roommate involves 3 Cs: courtesy, communication, and compromise.

Conflict with roommates is one of the greatest contributors to dissatisfaction. Because of the relatively transitional nature of “the college years,” residents come into continual contact with values & attitudes different from their own. One way to avoid conflict due to differing expectations is for roommates to negotiate what is going to happen in the room/apartment and to make a contract concerning what behavior is appropriate. Talking about expectations early will eliminate a lot of misunderstandings in the future.

The following are examples of issues which roommates may want to negotiate early in the year:
1.     Study time
2.     Sleeping & personal grooming schedules
3.     Cleaning
4.     Television & stereo use (noise control)
5.     Use of personal property (lending & borrowing)
6.     Non-use of alcoholic beverages &/or drugs
7.     Food (sharing)
8.     Morning & evening schedules
9.     Communication styles (How do I express that you are bugging me & not hurt your feelings?
         How do I tell you I’m not happy?)
10.   Flexibility
11.   Locking the room/apartment doors
12.   Guests (when are they ok?)
13.   Sharing expenses (cleaning supplies, toilet paper, etc.)


Roommate Agreements
In an effort to encourage students who live on-campus at South Alabama to take ownership & responsibility for their living community, Housing & Dining incorporates Roommate Agreements as a foundation for successful roommate partnerships. A Roommate Agreement is a document that room or apartment members negotiate together at the beginning of each year/semester (or as needed). This tool is intended to promote dialogue & consensus about matters pertaining to living as roommates including, but not limited to:

•  Respect of personal space & property
•  Guests & visitation
•  Cleanliness & "chores"
•  Study needs
•  Socialization

How this process works: As a room or apartment, residents convene &, using the Roommate Agreement obtained online, develop a set of value-based criteria by which each person in the apartment will agree to live. Additionally, the Roommate Agreement can be revisited at any time to allow for adjustments & changes. As each member of the room/apartment will sign the Roommate Agreement, each member will be held accountable for the contents of the document they had part in developing.

Note: All decisions must be consistent with the USA Housing & Dining Community Standards, the Residence Hall Contract, & the Student Code of Conduct.