If you鈥檙e headed to college this August and decided to 鈥済o rando鈥 and live with a stranger, you鈥檙e probably freaking out a little bit (okay, a lot). It鈥檚 awkward, meeting someone for the first time on the day you鈥檙e set to spend an entire year together in a dorm room! Here鈥檚 the thing: It鈥檚 going to be okay; we promise. In fact, it鈥檒l probably be more than okay鈥 it鈥檚 going to be great! Living with someone new opens you up to different perspectives, experiences and opportunities you wouldn鈥檛 get by living with a BFF (although, keeping in touch with them is important too)! Plus, it鈥檚 totally fun to decorate with a roommate. We chatted with Dr. Barbara Greenberg, a clinical psychologist and teen/parenting expert, about five easy ways to help you ease any of that inevitable initial discomfort.

Attractive young women are varnishing toenails on the bed at home.

1. Keep it light. Ask your roommate about their class schedule, what their high school was like and where they think you should hang your DIY lettered wall art, but try to keep the boyfriend drama and post-high school existential trauma at a minimum. You may feel a sense of faux-intimacy because you鈥檙e living together, but remember you don鈥檛 actually know this person yet, and you don鈥檛 want to blur boundaries before your first class even begins.

2. Schedule it out. Once you鈥檝e gotten to know each other better, it鈥檚 crucial that you talk openly about ground rules and living expectations, Dr. Greenberg says. You don鈥檛 need to actually set a schedule (unless you want to!), but talking up-front about how much personal time you each need, what your cleaning responsibilities will each be, what your study habits are and what your sleep schedule looks like will make you both feel understood and comfortable.

3. Be open. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to hold in your feelings, Dr. Greenberg says, especially when you have a problem. Whether it鈥檚 a small pet peeve, like your roommate鈥檚 friends sitting on your bed (ew!), or a bigger resentment, like their drunk friends crash in your room every night (ugh!), you have to be honest about how you feel. Otherwise, you鈥檒l end up exploding two months later, inevitably 鈥渂ringing up the kitchen sink,鈥 with your beef鈥 which definitely isn鈥檛 productive.

4. Don鈥檛 rush. 鈥淵ou share a space, not a life,鈥 Dr. Greenberg reminds, so 鈥渄on鈥檛 expect your roomie to be your BFF.鈥 She says that by imposing any sort of expectations, you鈥檙e setting up the relationship for disappointment. 鈥淭here鈥檚 no sense of urgency,鈥 Dr. Greenberg says, and just like any other relationship, this one 鈥渘eeds space and time鈥 to grow organically. Dr. Greenberg suggests going to a couple meals and introducing yourselves to your hall mates together at first; you鈥檒l feel more confident having a buddy for both activities and it will also open you up to meeting new people in the process.

5. Trust your intuition. Ninety-nine percent of the time, even if you and your new roomie don鈥檛 see eye-to-eye on everything, you鈥檒l get through your first year together just fine. Sometimes, though, situations can escalate far beyond what a simple heart-to-heart can fix. If you feel like something shady is going on, Dr. Greenberg says not to hesitate to talk to your resident assistant for back-up. You鈥檙e in school to learn and grow, and a relaxed, safe living situation is critical to your success!

Are you headed to your first year of college this month? Tweet us @BritandCo and tell us what you鈥檙e most excited about!

(Photo via Getty)