Sharing a Space

Although college is a place of learning, the classroom is not the only place where you will have the opportunity to interact with your classmates. Those who live in your residence hall, and especially your freshman year roommate, will provide much of the social atmosphere of your first year at Saint John's. Living with a roommate will provide its own challenges and rewards, and it may be helpful to give some thought to what you want out of your relationship with your roommate, what guidelines you may want to follow, and what problems may be anticipated before you move in.

Your Room

Although your room will be primarily a living space , it can be much more. It may be your study area, a social center, or a haven from the pressures of school. Whatever shape your room takes on, the quality of life in your room will depend on the relationship between you and your roommate(s).


Even though we try to match students with similar interests and likes/dislikes, roommates may often differ in the following areas.

  • Family - The way you were brought up, your socio-economic class, and your personal values all relate to your family background.
  • Geographic Background - You may be from rural, urban, suburban or foreign countries.
  • Religious Views - Although the student body of Saint John's is predominately Catholic, students of all denominations are welcomed and encountered on our campus.
  • Cultural/Ethnic Differences - Saint John's promotes ethnic diversity, and stresses respect for the unique backgrounds of every member of the student body. All members of our community must strive to understand social and cultural differences of those around us, and develop respect towards everyone.
    Saint John's University is committed to maintaining a humane atmosphere in which the race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental handicap, or veteran status of an individual or group, are respected and not disparaged. Allegations of discrimination will be promptly investigated.

Common Roommate Problems

  • Sharing - The concept of sharing is important in any group living situation. Sharing requires cooperation , and it is important to find out your roommate's feelings about sharing his belongings, such as clothes, money, computer, car, etc. Some roommates may not mind sharing their belongings, others may. Ask! Find out how your roommate feels and make sure he knows how you feel.
  • Housekeeping - Different people have different housekeeping standards. Come to an agreement with your roommate about who is responsible for cleaning and how often it should be done.
  • Your Room or Grand Central? - Some people want to use their room as a study area, some may want to socialize. Exam times may make for different standards of how busy your room should be. Consideration is the key; recognize that your roommate and you both need to live comfortably in your room.
  • The Roommate Bond - Although roommates often become good friends, watch out for becoming too dependent on your roommate for friendship. Remember that it is natural for good friendships to develop between students who are not roommates.
  • Study Habits - Some people study in their rooms, others study elsewhere. Some students prefer to study with music, and others require complete silence. Some study early in the morning, and others late into the night. Find out your roommate's preferences, and expect differences. Talk about these differences right away so you can make adjustments.

Some Basic Strategies

Talking can help prevent small differences from being blown out of proportion. Often small problems require a degree of flexibility on the part of you and your roommate in order to be resolved successfully. Living with another often requires cooperation to make the roommate relationship work. Communal living offers the advantage of new ideas and approaches. Experimenting will add much to your educational experience. Your relationship with your roommate does not require that you neither agree with everything he suggests, nor that you are so disagreeable that you always get your own way. Development of this independence also means developing outside interests and friendships. If you need assistance in solving a problem involving your roommate , you may call upon your Resident Assistant (RA) or Faculty Resident (FR). They will assist you in finding a solution or will intervene if a problem cannot be solved between roommates.

Soon after you become acquainted with your roommate, some questions should be answered between the two of you, including:

  • When do I need to sleep? When do I need to study?
  • How clean does the room need to be ? Who does the cleaning?
  • Do I use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs?
  • Am I going to obey the rules and regulations of the residence hall?
  • What can I borrow and what would you prefer be left alone?
  • When can I have guests in our room?
  • How will I know if I've done something to upset you?
  • When can my friends call me?
  • Are you concerned about having me as a roommate?