Roommates are a pillar of the university lifestyle. Whether it’s your first or fifth year living with someone new, here are things to think about when moving into your new place.

Choosing your own roommates isn’t always in the cards, especially for those living on campus in residence. Unlike the movies, don’t feel pressure to become best friends with your roommates. If it works, great! But if it doesn’t, that’s okay too.

Regardless of if you feel an instant connection, it is worthwhile to get to know your roommates. These are people you may see almost daily for months on end. You’ll see them at their highest and their lowest. You may even see them more than your own family. It’ll make your time together easier, and who knows, you might become friends!

Everyone’s life experiences mean different ways of doing things. So when it comes to living with new people, definitions of ‘clean’ and boundaries are important to discuss.

Something like a roommate agreement can help clearly outline the expectations for living with each other. The agreement is a written document that is signed by each roommate, agreeing to how guidelines about various things that might cause disagreements. Each agreement is unique but can cover anything from noise levels to having guests over to the division of chores.

Open communication is also key to having a good experience with your roommates. Whether that’s a group chat to let them know you’ve locked yourself out of the apartment or a chore chart to keep everyone accountable, staying connected to your roommates helps everything go smoothly.

Being honest and open about things that bother you about your living situation may be uncomfortable but will help everyone in the long run.