Before coming to Yale my freshman year, I was a little nervous about my suitemates.ÊMy roommates were from a pretty diverse group of places — Miami, Tennessee, Chicago, Toronto, and Singapore, and me, from New York City. There were two Muslims, two Jews, and a Southerner, along with the afore-mentioned Singaporean — a combination that my family said would probably be “interesting.”
Living with other people in a dorm room can be difficult. It’s the first time most people have lived away from home, and that can lead to some friction between roommates. (A quick hint: wait a week or so before “sexiling”your roommate for the first time, even if the opportunity presents itself earlier. It’ll make the rest of your year much more harmonious.) Be considerate towards your roommate — talk about bedtimes, musical preferences, etc.
Yale does a great job of matching up people from diverse backgrounds and getting them to live together in harmony. The six of us found we had a lot in common, despite our diverse backgrounds. The holy war anticipated by my family never materialized, and although cross-border skirmishes culminated in a wall of anti-Canadian propaganda, for the most part we all got along very well. We all had something to add to the suite, and quickly learned what we had in common. My roommate and I often stayed up late talking about everything from politics to religion to the Knicks-Heat rivalry.
Sure, our suite had its issues, especially when one suitemate exhibited what can only be described as “poor urine control” — he had a hard time hitting the bull’s eye. Another tip: set up a cleaning schedule early on and stick to it. Get a football player to enforce the rules if necessarily.
Make sure you work out a communication system between you and your suitemates.ÊThere’s nothing worse than walking in on your roommate while they’re, ahem, “studying physics” with their “lab partner,” except perhaps having it happen repeatedly.ÊA sock on the handle, or a message saying “your sister called” works well, (well only if your roommate doesn’t have a sister.)
It’s also useful to come up with ground rules for borrowing and sharing stuff. There are few things more annoying, as one of my friends learned last year, than running into your roommate at Beta Late Night wearing your favorite tank top with a big beer stain on the front.
I’m living with two of the same guys this year as last, and, despite their occasional efforts to declare our suite a Muslim state, and force me to pay the Muslim tax via bagels and cream cheese, things are great. It’s good to become close with at least one suitemate, even if you don’t think any of them will become your best friend. Your suite is definitely your home and it’s important that you feel comfortable there.ÊIt never hurts to have someone to talk to, or eat dinner with — or someone willing to drag you to University Health Services after a rough night at Miya’s.
Oh yeah, and one more thing — try to find yourself a suitemate who doesn’t repeatedly lock himself in his room. (Sorry Alim.)
Daniel Goff is a junior in Ezra Stiles College.