Ask Brookelyn

Ask Brookelyn: July 17, 2017

I’m an only child who’s never had to share a room, and I’m living in Barton Hall with two roommates. Do you have any advice for sharing a room with people?

Having a good experience with your roommates will require all of you to communicate and be considerate toward one another. Since you’ve never shared a room with anyone else, some of your habits might piss off your roommates. Go through your daily routine at home and try to identify these, since I’ll just be covering the basics.

Be conscious of the noise you make, especially if either of your roommates are studying, if it’s late at night, or if they seem generally bothered. Talk about your test schedules and just give them a heads up earlier in the week. If you plan on staying up until 3 am studying in your room with the lights on while your roommate is trying to get some sleep, neither of you is going to end up happy.

Don’t assume your roommates will be okay with your having people stay over. Ask first. Also, don’t have sex while your roommates are in the room, even if you think they’re sleeping. They will be awake and they will definitely be able to hear you. If you want some privacy, just ask your roommates. Establishing a knock-before-you-enter policy right when you get to school definitely wouldn’t hurt.

To try to prevent any issues from arising, set boundaries at the beginning of the year. Talk to each other before you get to school so you know who’s bringing what and what you’re comfortable sharing.

On the other hand, if your roommates are really pissing you off, don’t let the issue simmer. Bring it up right when it bothers you in a direct, but respectful way. If it continues and you can’t tolerate it anymore, bring it up with your RA. Try their suggestions, and if it doesn’t work out, see if you can change roommates. In the meantime, occupy your time outside of your room and try your best to stay sane.

My roommate for the fall and I are both gay. Is it a bad idea to hook up?

I really want to tell you to go for it, but I think you should wait until you’ve been roommates for a couple months. It could be a great experience and you could just end up living with your significant other, but it could also make your room a very hostile environment for you.

Get to know your roommate first. Spend time with them in a completely nonsexual way and see if you enjoy their company. If you find yourself feeling smothered or uncomfortable, or wanting other people much more than your roommate, slowly distance yourself and let them down easy. If you just want a casual, open relationship with your roommate, make that crystal clear before you start hooking up. Also, if you’re ever feeling alone in your sexuality and want to meet new people, don’t be afraid to join Rensselaer Pride Alliance!


Ask Brookelyn is a general advice column written by Contributing Editor Brookelyn Parslow. Be sure to ask your questions at https://poly.rpi.edu/ask.

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