DRINK BEER, EAT PIZZA While we're on the topic of artery-clogging food, accept that there's always going to be beer in the fridge and junk food in the cabinets. Don't turn into a health Nazi and demand that they cut back for fear you might eat some of it. Forget about the carbs and live a little, in moderation — this is college after all, the last carefree years of your life. You'll have plenty of time later to order vodka sodas and pick at salads with the girls.

LIKE IT LOUD One of my roommates is in a noise rock band. We have guitars, a bass, a drum set, amps, a microphone, the whole shebang. Another is a chatterbox with a booming voice, and the other makes loud and clumsy grand entrances when coming home at 2 am. Your guys will probably have high-volume quirks as well. Don't let it annoy you. Instead, embrace all the activity and the liveliness of your house. Maybe even join the band. Sleep is overrated anyway.

DON'T HOOK UP! I cannot stress this one enough. When I hear about failed co-ed living experiences, they usually involve a sloppy hookup between housemates or, worse, a love triangle. If you're attracted to one of your prospective roommates from the start, do not live with him, especially if you have the delusion that living together will lead to you falling madly in love. Think of your roommates as your brothers and remember: This isn't Arkansas.

EMBRACE CLUTTER This could prove the most difficult, since our girly instincts tell us that everything should have a place and rooms should be organized logically and aesthetically. You're going to end up with a lot of stuff in your house simply because it was listed for free on Craigslist: a foosball table, mismatched sofas, half a dozen office chairs, maybe even a tiki bar. Then there are the aforementioned cables and cords, strewn throughout the house. It can be really hard to get used to this mess, but it's worth a try.

PEE WHEN YOU CAN You think your old female roomies used to be real bathroom hogs? The notion that women monopolize the bathroom as they apply makeup and take hour-long showers is totally askew — young men are as bad, if not worse, when it comes to sharing this crucial room. Use it when it's free. As for why they're in there so long . . . it's best not to ask questions.

So there you go. Heed this advice and this school year could very well be the best year of your life. And I say year because as fun and drama-free as it will be, you won't want to sign on for a second one. Trust me.

Ashley Rigazio is working through her control-freak issues with the help of three very delightful, well-mannered, neat-and-clean young men. She can be reached at amrigazio@gmail.com.

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