As it turns out, trying to Zoom into Spanish class during your roommate’s voice lesson is not the pinnacle of roommate bonding time. Luckily, with the breadth of media and arts available to us, it doesn’t have to be. Even within the confines of your room, there are plenty of ways to spend quality time strengthening your relationship with your roommate. Sharing movies, TV, music and games are all fun and easy ways to pass the time in quarantine and learn a little something about your roommate along the way.


One of the easiest ways to get some low-pressure bonding time with your roommate is to listen to music together. Find the overlap in your music tastes (there’s bound to be some). It often comes from unexpected places — for instance, my roommate and I both have dads who are big 80s rock fans, so there’s quite a bit of Queen in my room. It can also be useful to build a collection of study music you both love. My roommate-approved favorite is “Getz/Gilberto,” an old jazz album mostly in Portuguese. Video game and movie soundtracks also work well.

Recommendations: “Dirty Computer,” Janelle Monáe; “Getz/Gilberto,” Stan Getz and João Gilberto


When you both have a few hours to kill, watching movies and TV make another fun roommate bonding activity. The same principle applies here as with music: Find things everyone likes, but be willing to expand your horizons a little. Also, keep in mind that we’re all under a lot of stress right now. If there was ever a moment for cheesy romantic comedies and mindless action movies, this is it. I, for one, have been watching absolutely ridiculous romantic comedies like The Kissing Booth.

If you’re really feeling the isolation in quarantine, gather up some mutual friends and start a Netflix party so you can both socialize outside of the room. Taking a break from being each other’s only source of human interaction will strengthen your roommate relationship too.

Recommendations: “The Old Guard”; “The Great British Bake Off”


Finally, don’t be afraid to take some time for yourself. Not everything has to be shared. Put your earbuds in and treat yourself to an old favorite. Trade media with your roommate to your hearts’ delights, but it’s alright to keep some things for yourself, too.


klinf1@stolaf.edu