In the first year of college, everyone gets placed in a room with someone who is more or less a stranger. It’s not the worst thing that can happen, most people are civil, but there are a few points that should be covered before you wind up getting into a sticky, undesirable situation.
You may be able to meet your roommate prior to going to college via the internet, email, or Facebook. This will give you a chance to feel one another out, but for the most part, communication through the internet will help you know what each of you is bringing to the room, i.e. trash cans, alarm clocks, chairs, extra mirrors, things of that sort. Most supplies and appliances you bring will be personal, but some times you’ll bring extras that you’ll be open to sharing. This is something you’ll want to discuss.
Which brings us to our next important point: setting up boundaries. Once you both meet one another in person, you’ll want to map out personal boundaries: eating in the room, bringing people to the room, cleanliness, what is for sharing and what is not. Making a list of rules and relative expectations will help you avoid any kind of problems or miscommunications.
When studying in the USA, it’s also good to be clear on quiet hours and sleeping schedules. You can always go to the library to study, but if you like to do this in the comfort of your own room, you’ll most certainly want to discuss your individual schedules and habits. If you can be clear on when you like to get to sleep or when you like to study, you’ll sidestep a good amount of conflict, especially if you have a roommate who likes to entertain company.
Another point to remember, if something makes you uncomfortable, be sure to let your roommate know. If you let it slide, let it slide forever, otherwise you need to say something within a reasonable timeframe, like a day or two. If you confront an uncomfortable situation right away, you’ll both be much more thankful in the long run.
Also, don’t worry if you and your roommate turn out to be less than best friends. It is more important to be compatible roommates, if you wind up being good friends, that’s icing on the cake.