How to Get Along with Your Roommate

Chinese & English: Senior UM Reporter Ku Weng Hin & UM Reporter Connie Ren | Photo: Senior UM Reporter Matt Liao, with some provided by the interviewees | ISSUE 116 September My UM

The University of Macau (UM) adopts a model of whole-person education, which consists of discipline-specific education, general education, research and internship education, and community and peer education, and is implemented through the university’s faculties and residential colleges (RC). In terms of community and peer education, UM requires all undergraduate students to live in the RCs in their first year of studies so that they can live and study with students from different disciplines, ages, and cultural backgrounds. As new students enter into a new phase of their lives at UM, the first friends that they make are very likely their roommates. In this article, three UM students share their secrets for getting along with their roommates, explain the ways they support each other, and recount why they eventually became good friends.

Setting Rules for the Room

Wilson Chu, a fourth-year student in the Department of Management and Marketing and a member of Shiu Pong College (SPC), has been the roommate of Luson Lu, a fourth-year student in the Department of Economics, since his freshman year.

Luson Lu (left) and Wilson Chu

When Chu and Lu first shared a room together, Chu often turned off the lights early if he had to attend an early class the next morning, even though Lu was not ready to go to bed, and they were a little distressed about it. Later, Chu bought Lu a small table lamp so that Lu could stay up at night without disturbing Chu. ‘It is important for two roommates to respect each other’s sleeping habit. You may set some rules together, such as taking turns to clean the room. This way you can avoid disputes that might arise later,’ says Chu.

Speaking Up When Necessary

Helen Lei, a fourth-year student in the Department of English, met Tina Lei, a fourth-year student in the Department of Communication, in a sports class during her first year of university. Both being members of Henry Fok Pearl Jubilee College, they gradually got to know more about each other and applied to be roommates in their third year.

Helen Lei (left) and Tina Lei

Living with a good friend can be a lot of fun. But if you are not careful, arguments inevitably arise due to the differences in lifestyle. For example, if Helen does not clean up her hair on the floor in time, Tina, who is the tidier of the two, will grumble. While this may happen, Helen understands that her roommate has high standards for hygiene, so she always cooperates. ‘Tina always teases me when she cleans up with me. The key for two people to live in harmony under the same roof is to speak your mind directly and in a timely manner. Do not keep the problems to yourself. Address them so that the problems can be solved,’ says Helen.

Being Honest with Each Other

Ou Peixin, a fourth-year student in the Department of Psychology and a member of Stanley Ho East Asia College, has been living with Mak Weng Sam, a fourth-year student of pre-primary education, since her first year of university. Ou still remembers the day she met her roommate for the first time. ‘Weng Sam was slow to warm up to me. So I took the initiative and talked to her. Soon we became good friends and even got to know each other’s friends and family members. We have fully integrated into each other’s social circle,’ says Ou.

Ou Peixin (left) and Mak Weng Sam

Having attended boarding school since her days of primary education, Ou has developed an outgoing personality and feels comfortable around strangers. She says that besides respecting each other and compromising with each other, it is also important for two roommates to be honest with each other. ‘To improve the relationship with your roommate, you must value his or her feelings. Weng Sam and I are always honest with each other. We not only confide in each other and give advice for each other, but also accept each other’s shortcomings,’ says Ou.