The Roommate Conundrum

As you are nearing the midway point of your semester, take a minute and think about your relationship with your roommate. Do you love your roommate, you get along great and you have no issues? Or, like so many students, are you struggling with conflict with your roommate but aren’t sure what your options are? This is the time to truly think about how you feel, especially as you make decisions about roommates for next semester or next year, depending on your university. Don’t feel obligated to stay with someone if it isn’t working for you, and don’t feel like it’s too late for you to get a roommate if you’ve lived alone this semester.

If you lived alone this semester and you’d like a roommate for next year, talk to your RA or landlord. Sometimes just having a conversation can help them keep you in mind the next time someone is looking for an apartment, or your RA can pass on to the housing office that you would like a roommate. Many times throughout the year, residents move in and out of their rooms, and so it’s very likely that you would get a roommate if you remove the “live alone” option.

If you have a roommate now but it’s not working out for you, take stock of the situation. Why are you having these issues? If they are simple issues like they’re eating all your food, constantly having people over, or they aren’t sharing the responsibilities of cleaning equally, then first try talking to your roommate frankly. Explain to them how their behavior affects you, and you just might find that is enough to solve the problem. A lot of times, your roommate is not even aware that you are upset and they can be totally blindsided when you want to move on to another roommate. After you have talked to your roommate, if the situation does not improve that is the time to involve your RA. Don’t let this wait until the end of the year and during finals week start talking about how much you hate your roommate, go to your RA now and explain the situation. They can facilitate a meeting between you and your roommate that might help mediate the situation, and they can involve their supervisor if room changes need to happen.

The important thing to remember with roommates is that this is a learning experience, for you and for them. Depending on the set-up in your residential hall, you could be sharing a room and/or a bathroom with multiple people who all come from different backgrounds and have different viewpoints, and this can create conflict. The key to good roommate relations is communication. Don’t ignore problems as they arise, take the time to talk about them. Along with that, do not shut your roommate out if they come to you to complain about one of your behaviors. Take their complaint seriously and try to make sure your behavior is not creating a hostile environment. College roommates can either be cordial or friends for life, but there is no reason you should have to live in a battleground. Respect and communication will help make your roommate experience a positive one instead of a horror story.

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