The room is divided: one person on the left side and one person on the right side. No one talks except for casual conversation. There is a tension in the air that anyone could see a mile away. Now, skip to the next year: music is blasting and sounds of laughter fill the air as a friendship begins to grow. These two drastic scenarios are the most common in college dorms. It is the college horror story versus the dream come true.

Throughout college it’s likely that people will experience the terror of living with a bad roommate or the privilege of living with a good one. There are many differences between bad roommates vs. good roommates. A good roommate will have respect for you and realize that they are now sharing a room with someone who grew up with a different lifestyle.

Good roommates will learn to adapt to a different lifestyle at school. This means keeping the room clean, being able to compromise and respect what the other person in the room is doing. If you receive a phone call, make sure you go into the hall to talk or the lounge so you don’t disturb your roommate. If they are not working on something then it is appropriate to ask if it’s all right to take the call in the room.

If you want to watch TV or listen to music, invest in a pair of comfortable headphones that are wireless and not loud.  The key to living with another person in such small quarter is to respect one another.

A bad roommate can start out as a friend and end up as an enemy. If students spend too much time together then roommates can become tired of each other. They will find things that annoy one another and they will dwell on those annoyances. The roommates will feel like they do not have separate identities among friends and may start to compete against each other. This will make it difficult to share the same living space with them.

Some roommates never try to get to know their roommates which can lead to tension. A bad roommate may not accept personality differences and isolate the roommate, completely leaving the room to be an uncomfortable place.

The best combination for roommates is to be friends at a distance. Make sure you hang out with each other but also have separate friends. This way you have time apart and yet you are still in tune with each other. This will make for a happy environment for the both of you to live in.

Jenna Cusumano is an NSCS member from Springfield, Illinois studying at Illinois State University. She is a sophomore majoring in Journalism with a minor in Cinema Studies. Follow Jenna on Twitter @Jcus2010.