The Roommate Experience: Living and Learning Together
Whether you have one, two, or three additional roommates and/or suite mates, you are bound to have a great experience living in the residence halls at UMass Amherst! One of the most important experiences of residents' time on campus is living with a roommate.
Roommates can be the source of anywhere from deep friendship to chronic aggravation, depending on the relationship they form. Having a good relationship between roommates, as in any relationship, takes some conscious effort. The Office of Residential Life at UMass Amherst has developed an Online Roommate Agreement to help you and your roommate(s) negotiate living and learning together. On this page you will find some information about the Online Roommate Agreement which you and your roommate(s) can complete.
Additionally, you will find (above) an electronic version of The Roommate Experience: Living and Learning Together publication which contains more detailed information. Familiarize yourself with its contents, it will be a help to you as you begin the experience of living with your roommate(s).
Beyond these resources, you also have Resident Assistants/Apartment Living Advisors, Assistant Residence Director(s), and Residence Directors who are available and can provide advice and support to help you effectively navigate your roommate relationship.
Take some time to have conversations with your roommate(s). Learn about shared interests, share your expectations, and talk about your personal needs. We have found that when students make an effort to work on this important relationship, they are more likely to have a successful roommate experience. And when conflicts arise (as in any relationship) you and your roommate(s) will be better prepared to effectively address them!
Process for Completing the Online Roommate Agreement
Step 1: Take some time to meet and get to know your roommate(s). Where are they from? What is their academic major? Common interests and hobbies? If you both live in a RAP, why did you choose to live there? What are you hoping to get out of this experience?
Step 2: Next, think about your ideal living style and what your expectations are for sharing a room. The more upfront and direct you can be about your style, the better able you will be to articulate your needs if situations arise.
Step 3: Sit down and talk to your roommate(s), before you and your roommate(s) put anything down on the agreement. Go through each section and decide what you are comfortable with. As you fill out the agreement, be as specific as possible. It will help make it less awkward to resolve conflicts that may arise as the year goes on.
Step 4: Go online to the Residential Life Roommate Agreement Form and complete the roommate agreement. Follow the directions on the site. Once you have completed the Roommate Agreement, a copy of the document will be sent to you, your roommate(s), and your cluster's office.
Questions to Consider Before Completing an Online Roommate Agreement
To help you think about your personal needs, we have developed the following questions for you and your roommate(s) to consider:
Cleanliness: How do you like your room to appear? Clean and tidy? Decent but not spotless?
Study Environment: Do you need a quiet environment to study? When do you study?
Use of your Possessions: Are you okay with someone borrowing your things? What things are you willing to share?
Phone Use: Do you talk on the phone a lot? How long do you usually spend on a phone call? Will you want messages taken for you? Are you willing to do the same?
TV/Music: When do you watch TV? Listen to the stereo? What type of music do you listen to? Are there any shows you watch regularly?
Communication Style: When you are stressed how do you respond? What do you need when you are upset? Are you comfortable with approaching those with whom you disagree? How do you approach that person?
Socializing: How often do you go out? Are you going to be around on the weekends? What do you like to do for fun?
Guests and Visitors: Will you have overnight guests? How comfortable are you with your roommate having overnight guests? When? How often? What gender of overnight guests are you comfortable with?
Sleeping: When do you go to sleep? When do you get up? Are you a light or heavy sleeper? What is OK for your roommate to do when you are sleeping in the room? What is not okay?
Room Temperature: Do you like the room hot/cold? Do you like the window open?
Safety & Security: What are some important considerations you have when thinking about the safety and security of your self and your belongings (I.e. locking your door when you are not in your room, not having people in your room when you are not home, etc.)?
**Remember these are just a few of the questions that may be important. There may be others that you want to think about?