The most important tip I can give any first-time dorm-dweller looking to get along with their roommate is this: Do not live with my first roommate.
Well, that's a bit unfair to [NAME REDACTED]. On paper, she and I should have gotten along great. We both played trombone in our high school bands. We had read and enjoyed some of the same books. Our names even rhymed.
But, as the school year progressed, what could have been a good relationship went downhill. It seemed (to me) that I was the only one who ever took the trash out. She got a series of weird stains on the rug I had bought. She was a night owl, and I had to leave for work at 6 a.m. She ate my food. Once she even started playing trombone at two o'clock in the morning.
I'm sure I wasn't perfect either. I had my boyfriend over a lot. I had trouble working with people around, so instead of studying in the library I studied in our room, which meant I was always there. I left stinky running clothes hanging from the foot of my bed. I had terrible (to her) taste in music.
At the end of the year, we parted ways and have only spoken two or three times since -- and this was at a small school, where we had a lot of opportunities to run into each other. The thing is, I'm sure [NAME REDACTED] was (and probably still is) a perfectly nice person. Heck, I think I'm a perfectly nice person, and I'm sure I was at 18, too. But [NAME REDACTED] and I didn't take some simple steps that would have made living together more bearable and *gasp* maybe even fun.
Learn from my mistakes, young roomies.