College students today are much different than their older brothers or sisters as students, and vary vastly from their parents as college students. One of these changes happens to be that a majority of students are now reporting that they have not had to share space with a sibling when living at home. So, for many college students, having a roommate can be a real change of pace. With any adjustment, there are great things and not so great things that can happen.
Housing & Residence Life is well-versed in helping students work through roommate anxiety! We have provided some helpful hints below to making the roommate process a pleasurable one.
Communicate!!! This is the number one root cause of roommate problems and conflicts. You and your roommate should begin from day one to talk about schedules, pet peeves, sleeping habits, guests, privacy, using each other’s stuff, study habits, behavior appropriate for the room, and anything else you think is important to living on campus. Also, be sure to make time to talk about things that are bothering you so that issues that do arise do not go unresolved. Knowing each other’s preferences and opinions, and being able to talk to each other, will begin the roommate relationship and prevent many issues down the road.
Work Out A Cleaning Schedule!!! Whether you are a neat roomie or not-so-neat roomie, everyone needs to clean. Setting a schedule from day one will make everyone in the room accountable for the condition of the room and not leave the work all on one person. Your RA can help you set this up, and we have also provided a sample cleaning schedule in the On-Campus Living Guide.
Also, be open to new and different things. After all, college is a community for learning! The mind is like a parachute, it works better when its open.
Equality!!! Everyone pays the same amount of rent to live in a residence hall. Therefore, no roommate has any right to squash the rights and needs of another. There is no “room boss” and the only people in charge are the RA, Area Coordinator, and other administrators.
Don’t Let Problems Fester and Don’t Make Mountains Out of Mole Hills!!! No matter how much you try and avoid something that has happened between you and your roommate, it does not fully go away until you have talked about it and come to a mutual resolution. It will creep up again, and that frustration that you may have swept under the rug may come out when a totally unrelated issue comes up in the future.
Also, try not to make roommate issues any larger or more complex than they really are. Additional emotion fueling the fire will only serve to put you and your roommate further apart from a resolution.
As always, if you need help in addressing these issues with your roommate, or feel the problem persists despite working through the issue, contact a Housing & Residence Life staff member for assistance.
Despite what you may think after reading the above, the majority of college roommates are already equipped with the knowledge above and live well together. Many end up rooming together throughout their college career and remain friends long after graduation.