Having a roommate is one of the most profound and unique experiences you can have at boarding school, and it teaches you things you never thought you would learn. Having a boarding school roommate challenges you in new ways, brings out your best, and teaches patience, resilience, and empathy. There can certainly be challenges in any roommate relationship, but most can be overcome with good communication and a little help from trusted adults on campus.
Jordyn and Maggie are two twelfth graders at Tabor Academy who have been roommates since their ninth grade year. Maggie is from Barnstable, Massachusetts, and Jordyn is from Atlanta, Georgia. They were paired together, and it has been a wildly successful partnership. These boarding school roommates have done different activities and have only had one class together. They have the same core group of friends, and each has a few other friends outside that group as well. And yet, at the end of the day, they come home to their room and each other. They have become each other’s family and created a feeling of home together.
Moving into their dorm room as ninth graders, Maggie and Jordyn were both excited and nervous but not sure what to expect. There was the usual awkwardness on that first day, but they are a living testament to the fact that the initial awkwardness is normal and it does fade. It often fades pretty quickly! While they don’t necessarily recommend the particular thing that broke the ice as first time roommates (Twizzler fight, anyone!?) they embraced those moments, laughed, and grew from them.
Maggie and Jordyn’s expectations of what it would be like to have a roommate at boarding school were completely overshadowed by the wonderful reality it turned out to be for them. They have a few tips to help make getting along with your boarding school roommate possible for others:
- Invest the time. Being a roommate is about more than just sharing space. Relationships take time and care, even if you do live in the same room together. Maggie and Jordyn recommend taking time to have conversations and find common interests, and even try to spend time together outside the room. Take a walk to Dunkin’, go to a weekend activity together, hit the library, or go for a walk.
- Go into it with a good mindset. Maggie and Jordyn emphasize the importance of being open to the concept of living with another person, and keeping your expectations reasonable. It’s important not to expect to be able to change the other person into your dream roommate, and to be willing to talk with them and learn from them. Maggie and Jordyn didn’t dream of becoming best friends as roommates, and though it happened, they say it isn’t a critical element of being able to live well together.
- Discuss some important points to compromise on. Living with another person involves compromise, and often it is the little things that make the biggest difference. Maggie and Jordyn suggest asking before doing something like turning on a fan or opening the window, turning on lights, inviting over guests, or playing music just to make sure the other person is okay with it. It’s best to ask before making assumptions about another person’s comfort level with small actions. And, likewise, it’s important to be honest about your comfort level. If you and your roommate aren’t on the same page, it’s worth it to make a small compromise rather than risk allowing an unresolved issue to fester and become a bigger problem. And, likewise, it’s important to be honest about your comfort level.
- Use your proctors and dorm parents! You shouldn’t expect to be able to manage your boarding school roommate relationship 100% on your own, without any help. It is a new experience, and new experiences take adjustment. It’s not a sign of failure to need a little guidance. Most proctors will have had roommates before, and most dorm parents will have witnessed many roommate relationships over the years. Maggie and Jordyn suggest using these resources by asking for advice or involvement if needed.
We invited Maggie and Jordyn to join our podcast for a conversation about navigating their roommate relationship. Find out how well they actually do know each other after living together for their entire Tabor career as they take on our roommate quiz at the end of the episode!
We hope you enjoy meeting Jordyn and Maggie, and that their story inspires you.
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