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This post is part of our 2016 pre-NSOP newsletter series, Required Reading. If you're not subscribed yet, why the hell not? Get essential Columbia and Barnard content delivered straight to you in the build-up to Orientation.

Whether you found your roomie through that intense Res Life pairing quiz or you organized your own match-made-in-MoHi, there are things you should discuss with your first college roommate before you get to campus. (Assuming, that is, that they're not ghosting you…which does happen.)

There are the standard things we won't touch upon here, but still bring them up. You know, stuff like, "Hey you smoke?" or "Yo, you a firm advocate for the philosophy of 'early bird catches the worm?'"

What we're suggesting here are the things we wish brought up before move-in day that people often forget. You know, practical things.

Consider your roommate set-up as a “potluck partnership.”

Who's bringing the fridge? Who's bringing the microwave? You guys gonna split on a rental or splurge on a purchase? Who's bringing Monopoly? Parcheesi? An ivory backgammon set for those inevitably wild Carman Saturday nights? The ouija board?

These are all things we totally forgot to bring up circa 2014 and had to figure out during the stress of move-in day. Have a clear plan on what you guys will need and who's getting what.

Things you should discuss (in order of importance) include:

Fridge (for stolen JJ’s food and eat-when-homesick ice cream.) Microwave (for ramen.) Music speakers for ragers and tea parties (tbh you only need one per room so you guys don’t need to bring one each.) Vacuum cleaner (especially for hair.) Keurigs, crockery, electric kettles, and things like that. Room decor—you know that kind of Tumblr-esque fairy light/wall sticker stuff

(Fan isn't on the list, but please make sure your roommate brings a fan. They will be hot. You will be hot. Do not give them any reason to need to steal yours because they forgot theirs.)

On the subject of fridges and freezers: Here are your options

I'm a big advocate of going halfsies on a fridge at the EcoReps Sale (held usually during move-in weekend in Wien Lounge). mini fridges with freezer compartments usually go for $50. You and your roommate chip in $25 each, and at the end of the year you can either donate it back to Eco Reps or one of you guys can take it with you into sophomore year (and pay $15 to keep it or something if you want.)

There are services that allow you to rent or buy fridges, but the costs are usually way higher and *fridge quality* isn't necessarily going to be dramatically superior.

On the subject of room decor: If you’re that roommate couple, you guys gotta consider ~*Dorm Aesthetic*~

This is just taking that final bullet a bit further and, hey, may not be for everyone. But there are those people (and no judgement, many praise if you're one of them) who want their dorm to look absolutely bomb-ass beautiful. (Btw if your dorm does look bomb-ass beautiful, snap us @CUspectrum because every NSOP, we run a post featuring our fave dorm rooms.)


If you guys want to go all out with wall stickers, rugs, bean bags, posters, fairy lights, disco balls, contact paper wood-paneling, chandeliers, etcetera, etcetera… plan it in advance so you can bring (comparatively cheaper) decor from home.

Also, side note again, if you want to know more about what your dorm may look like, check out dorm info on the Shaft. You'll see the Shaft again in April when you go through the harrowing process of selecting sophomore housing, but for now, you can just use it to learn more about your first-year accommodation.

If there's anything else we've missed that you think incoming first-years need need need to discuss beforehand, throw a comment down below, Facebook message us, or Tweet us, or Snapchat us @CUspectrum. These Required Reading posts are all about helping you, so definitely let us know your ideas.

Sophia Hotung is a junior majoring in English and Poli Sci. Her first-year roommate brought the fridge; she brought the electric tea kettle (#justBritishthings.) You can reach her at

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