What are some ways that I can bond with my new roommates in my apartment near the University of Central Florida campus to avoid an awkward start?

Move-in date is approaching quicker than some of us would hope.  Moving in usually means a fresh start for students, especially those who are moving into off-campus apartments. While many University of Central Florida apartments have roommate matching systems that rarely fail, it still can be a nerve-wracking experience. Here are some guidelines to remember when meeting your new roommate.

Getting To Know Them 

It is easy to become consumed with the anxiety of getting to know someone, mainly when they will be your roommate for the next year. To set foot in the right direction, you must be able to sit down with your roommate, allowing the natural time to get to know each other. Something as simple as talking over lunch can dig up common interests, fears, and dreams. Most of the time, roommate matching systems groups people of the same age and majors, so it's easy to find something you can both relate with. In this process, you can also set boundaries on what you're comfortable with and what you expect from a roommate. Cleaning tends to be a subject that leads to all, if not most roommate arguments, so be sure to include a talk about cleaning expectations as well as personal space. Having boundaries set early on can eliminate future discussions.   

Getting to know a roommate can take a while, but first impressions do matter. Once you have sat down and had a talk, many doubts will clear about who they are as a person and can begin the journey of getting to know them better.

Start Activities Together  

Before classes begin, be sure to set aside a day to hang out with your roommate. One of the most significant forms of bonding can be by starting something new together. Many new roommates start a hobby together, whether it be a Netflix show or taking a class at the UCF gym. College is a time to learn about the world around you and introducing new shows, foods and hobbies to each other can initiate that roommate bond and allow for it to grow.  

Another form of bonding with a new roommate is to plan an event where team building is required. It doesn't necessarily have to be an extreme activity; a simple meal can showcase each other's skills and personalities. From grocery shopping to prepping the ingredients, cooking a dish together can show who you are.  Remember that this is the person you can test those Buzzfeed one-pot recipes with or even to make absurd desserts at 3 a.m. Take advantage of the first month of college where school work is not as harsh to cool off the summer heat at your apartment's pool with your roommate as well.  

An often-forgotten way to bond is to decorate your space. Three and four-bedroom apartments typically have huge shared common area spaces that are much more fun with décor! Decorating your UCF apartment is the real roommate test that focuses on compromise. Personalizing your living area can also make your apartment feel less like an IKEA display and more like home. Planning out what you want to do can serve as great bonding time for each other. 

Depend On Each Other  

Moving away from home can be tough, especially if you come from a close-knit family whom you depended on. Having someone you can trust is essential during the college transition period because stress, work, and college can pile up quickly. Your roommate is always going to be there, and establishing a relationship where you can trust and rely on each other can facilitate your experience. 

Share each other's work and class schedules so you can have a good sense of their day and in case of emergencies where to find them. Know that changes in college are inevitable, and some digest it better than others, so being there for your roommate can help them as well.  In addition to that, don't be afraid to share your contact information as communicating with your roommate is the number one rule on maintaining a friendship. 

Becoming Friends  

It is not a must to be friends with your roommate, but boy does it make life easier. Don't rush the process of getting to know someone, allow for that friendship to blossom naturally. Forcefully, trying to befriend someone never really ends up working out, so focus on slowly forming a bond with them. Follow up with them occasionally, to keep them updated on your life and be sure to do the same with them.   

College is not a smooth transition between balancing life, school, and stress; it can take a toll on you. However, having someone, you can come home to and feel comfortable can make that transition smoother. There are going to be bumps on the road in forming a bond with your roommate. However, focusing on the good things that this experience will bring can make small steps feel significant.  If you do find yourself struggling to make the first move, be sure to follow these EF's twelve tips on how to get along with a roommate.   

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