Learning to Live Together

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Roommate selfies (clockwise from top left): Ross Carpentier ’22 and Charlton Schaner ’22, Zoe Gooch ’20 and
Julee Rodgers ’20, Peter Berle ’20 and Davis Anderson ’20, and Grace Carter ’23 and Olivia Short ’23.

By Carina Cole ’22

One of the most important requirements for happiness at boarding school is a good relationship with your roommate, which can affect how you enjoy your leisure time, your social life, and even your classes. Of course, in return, you want to be a good roommate. Every roommate situation has a different perspective of what being a “good” roommate might be, but there are always certain traits that make a roommate the ideal match for you.

For Grace Carter ’23 and Olivia Short ’23, communication is the key to a good roommate relationship. They recommend “being willing to help, share, listen, and be open, as well as not being judgmental.” Finding similar hobbies and interests to relate to and open conversation with your roommate can be helpful. For example, discovering that you like the same music, sports, or clothing can create a deeper connection. Short and Carter agree that “using systems to balance time in the room so we share the space” also helps to be mindful of each other's schedules. 

Being honest and supportive of your roommate can help form a trusting friendship. Roommates since ninth-grade year, Ross Carpentier ’22 and Charlton Schaner ’22 agree that opening up to each other and talking about their different problems strengthened their bond. Carpentier notes that “if we weren’t roommates, we might not have even been friends, but because we connected with each other and made an effort to be friends, the rooming situation worked out so well we decided to room again this year.” Their advice to other roommates would be to keep out of conflict, have a level head, don’t argue about little things, and always be supportive of each other. Schaner adds that “you don’t have to be best friends to room, just have fun and be nice.”

Peter Berle ’20 and Davis Anderson ’20 say they have built their relationship bonding over shared interests, such as watching movies or listening to music. After rooming for three years, this roommate pair agrees they feel like family members. Berle explains that “even if Davis and I are angry at each other, I always know I can still count on Davis for anything.” Anderson and Berle agree that it is good to find someone who balances you out and who’s up for any crazy adventures along the way. Anderson advises, “Give each other space, but also always be there when the other person needs it.”

Four-year roommates Zoe Gooch ’20 and Julee Rodgers ’20 agree that to be good roommates, you must go with the flow and be open-minded. Through four years, they have developed a sister-like bond, to the point where they see one another like family. Zoe says, “We both are crazy but in different ways that balance each other out. We go to each other for advice, dance, blast music, and help each other with school work.” Rodgers notes, “As long as you compromise, you will be fine. Zoe and I have never gotten in a fight.” Gooch adds, “Keeping the energy alive, bonding outside the dorm, creating a playlist to get ready in the morning, and doing school responsibilities together such as being Burgin proctors can help with being a good roommate.”  

When it comes down to it, there really is no “ideal roommate” because every roommate pair is so unique and has its different quirks that make the pairing work. Just remember to always be honest, communicate, balance your time, and be as supportive as possible, and the rest will come easily. To be a good roommate is to compromise with your roommate, and just have fun!

Editor's Note: Carina Cole ’22 is from Boiling Springs, PA. A version of this article first appeared in the Mercersburg News.