22 Activities to Bond with Your Roommate in the First Semester of College
Whether you and your college roommate were instant besties or you’re still waiting for those first-day icebreakers to thaw your relationship, the first semester is a great time to grow closer. Having a strong bond with your roommate can make the fun times in college even more fun, and it can make those stressful moments a bit easier to navigate. (Because, let’s be honest, no one goes an entire school year without at least one roommate conflict.)
But how do you actually create and strengthen that bond? As an RA at my school, I’ve watched with pride as my residents made real efforts to do things together and get to know one another — and it’s given me so many ideas I’m excited to share with anyone who wants to follow in their footsteps.
Here’s a list of activities to do with your roommate to find common ground, get to know each other, and make some memories you can look back on for years to come — and maybe even tell your grandkids one day. Of course, not all of these ideas are going to be available in your area (or of interest to you and your roommate); just pick the activities that appeal to you the most, or use this list as a launchpad for a whole new idea!
1. Plan a picnic.
Soaking in the great outdoors *and* enjoying yummy food together? If that doesn’t bring you closer, I don’t know what will. You can put together a charcuterie board or bake a cake — or, if you’re less gifted in the culinary realm, you can pick up your favorite takeout. Also, if it’s cold where you live, there’s no rule against having the picnic indoors!
2. Walk to class together.
Having a friend to walk to class with makes actually getting to class on time much easier. Find a time in your schedules when you both have class in the same area and make it a standing appointment — and for extra credit, you can walk back home together too!
3. Take pictures for Instagram.
4. Go to the dining hall.
Everyone’s gotta eat, so why not do it with your roommate? You can use this time to commiserate over how bad the food at your school’s dining hall is — or, if you’re lucky, rave over how delicious it is.
5. Go grocery shopping.
Grocery shopping is an opportunity to share recipes and recommendations. As you walk through the aisles together, you have the chance to discover each other’s food preferences and culinary skills. You may even find yourselves deciding to make a new meal together.
6. Do your laundry.
Why do laundry alone when you have a roommate to do it with? Amid the humming dryers and the scent of detergent, you just might find some things in common — even if it’s just a penchant for turning your socks pink by mistake.
The most annoying chores can be made a little better when you do them with someone else. You may even find yourself completely rearranging the room’s furniture like my freshman roommate and I did. (Spoiler alert: We had so much fun!)
8. Get ready for the day together.
Whether you help each other put together outfits or simply do your hair alongside one another, the act of getting ready can bring people closer.
9. Make vision boards.
Set goals, talk about your dreams, and maybe even make a plan to do something together! All you have to do is pick up some magazines; cut out words, phrases, and images that inspire you; and glue them onto a board and then you’ll have a vision board to keep you and your roommate inspired all year.
10. Hit the town (or your local hangout spot).
Let loose! Whether you’re hitting up local restaurants or going out dancing, a roommates’ night out pretty much guarantees unforgettable memories.
11. Cook a meal together.
Flex your impressive cooking skills, or share your easiest boxed macaroni and cheese recipe. Who knows? Maybe together you’ll discover your new favorite food.
12. Go to the mall.
I know, malls are so retro. But who doesn’t love a little retail therapy? Even if you buy everything exclusively online these days, the mall is a good place to wind down and take a breather from school as you peruse the shops.
13. Host a Powerpoint party.
This is one TikTok trend I hope never goes away. Each person chooses a topic they’re passionate about (the funnier, the better), and puts together a Powerpoint presentation to share. Feel free to invite your friends and make it a party, or just do it with your roommate on a chill night in. Either way, you’re bound to learn a lot about each other and have a ton of fun.
14. Have a painting night.
You can go to your local pottery painting spot, or for a more DIY option, just pick up some canvases, paints, and brushes from the craft store. You don’t have to be a full-blown artiste, either; regardless of your skill level, it’s fun to explore a creative outlet together.
15. Bake cookies.
Whether you and your roommate are a bake-from-scratch duo or premade dough is more your speed, baking is a simple and fun activity … that hopefully doesn’t leave you with burnt cookies. If you’re living in a dorm without access to a communal oven, you could make a microwave-friendly treat like this mug cake.
16. Wake up early for the sunrise.
This can be at the park, at the top of a parking garage, or even from your bedroom window. Waking up at the crack of dawn to catch the sunrise will be a relaxing experience to help you both start your day off right.
17. Pick up a new shared hobby.
Get out of your comfort zone! Whether it’s rock climbing, extreme couponing, or taking a new class, finding something neither of you have tried before could become your new favorite thing to do together.
18. Go to the beach.
If you live close enough to a beach (and yes, a lake counts too) and can find a way to get there, hit the sand and soak up the sun. Bonus points if you blast some of your favorite songs on the way there and give your roomie a sneak peek of your killer karaoke skills. If you live in a cold climate, you could hit up the mountains instead for a hike or ski session.
19. Go to a museum.
If you live close enough to a museum, take a few days to admire the exhibits and take some pictures together while you’re at it. There are tons of museums that offer free entry, or at least student discounts that’ll help you save some money.
20. Join a new club.
Joining a group can be nerve-wracking, but with your roomie by your side, you both can feel a lot more comfortable. Pick something you’re both interested in, or go out of your way to explore something totally new to you both.
21. Go thrifting.
Who among us doesn’t want to save money? You can model outfits for one another, or find some secondhand decor for your shared space.
22. Study — and take study breaks — together.
Post up in your local coffee shop, the library, or even your shared home. Working together — even if it’s in silence — can be motivating. Be sure to take a break every now and then to grab a snack, stretch your legs, or even just give each other a high-five.