College is filled with learning opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom, and as you prepare for the new academic year, the challenge of your first semester classes probably isn’t the only thing on your mind.

If you’ll be living on campus, sharing close quarters with a stranger might be one of the most transformative experiences of your college years. Get an idea of what you might learn while living with your freshman year roommate from these current and former students.

1. How to Set Boundaries

“I learned how to set boundaries and advocate for my needs. I also learned I sometimes had to talk to an RA or someone in the Residential Life Office about disputes and other issues.”
Emma K., Kenyon College, 2017

2. I Missed Out, But Can Make It Up

“As an only child, I learned how much I’d missed by not having siblings all my life. I roomed with a wonderful girl who was my opposite in so many ways, yet our shared values and sense of humor helped us meet halfway every time. I finally got to experience those 2 a.m. heart-to-heart conversations, ‘I woke up like this’ moments and sisterly compromises.”
— Atzela Ellas, George Mason University, 2008

3. There Are Always Options

“I learned it wasn’t worth it for me to live uncomfortably in my own space when my roommates engaged in behavior I didn’t want to be associated with. When my roommate crossed a line, I chose to move out.”
— Jasmine McCain, University of Missouri, 2013

4. How to Embrace Teamwork

“Splitting up the work to be done around the dorm makes things more productive. When we both share the workload, no one feels taken advantage of and we both feel proud of where we live.”
— Kinsey Gibson, University of Kentucky, 2020