Dealing with classes and midterms may be inevitably miserable, but living with a roommate may not have to be.
“It’s common to get frustrated or annoyed with someone you see daily,” said Jill Powell, assistant director of Student Engagement in University Housing. “Typically around midterms, when stress is a little more prevalent, we will see some roommate concerns.”
Almost eight weeks into the school year, roommate issues and concerns may just now be revealing themselves — if they haven’t already.
“Moving in with someone you hardly know can be a transition, but on the other hand, sometimes the person you think will be your best friend will also frustrate you,” Powell said.
She said students should take several steps to help resolve a conflict.
Students should talk to the person while using “I” statements rather than pointing fingers, utilize the roommate or suitemate agreement with the help of your resident assistant and talk to Housing and Residence Life staff, Powell said.
Jesus Vargas, a resident assistant in Wallace, suggests the same points.
“Usually when saying ‘you’ to the roommate, they might get defensive and build more issues,” Vargas said. “Using “I” statements is helpful to get an opinion out, and possibly help resolve issues.”
Issues can sometimes arise between roommates who are just meeting each other, but roommate issues between best friends can be just as common.
Jennifer Skinner, customer relations manager for University Housing, said one of the biggest pieces of advice she offers students is to not choose to live with their best friend.
“It is really hard to maintain a best friend when you’re suddenly living together and sharing the same space,” Skinner said. “You need your best friend to have your back.”
As an alternative to possibly breaking up a friendship because of roommate issues, Skinner suggests living in a room with someone you don’t know well, and having your best friend live close by.
“Then you can get away from your roommate and go talk to your best friend,” Skinner said.
Powell said it is always a good idea to talk to the person directly, and to ask direct questions such as “I seem to be missing my shampoo, do you know where it went?” or “Did you have someone over recently that may have taken my shampoo?” if you suspect your roommate or one of their guests may have taken your belongings.
If students aren’t comfortable approaching their roommate about any issue, or the conversation turns out to be counterproductive, there are still resources to help resolve issues.
In these cases, Skinner said University Housing has a resident assistant mediate a meeting between the two roommates. She said a resident assistant often uses the roommate agreement as a tool to resolve the issue.
“Some students aren’t quite comfortable speaking with their roommate about issues,” Skinner said.
Skinner said it’s important that students share what is happening with someone, even if that person is not a roommate or resident assistant.
With such a wide variety of potential problems arising between roommates, it may seem like a giving up or getting a single room is the way to go. Yet, Vargas said the dorms are well worth it.
“Living in the dorms can be awesome. Sometimes roommates will or won’t get along,” Vargas said. “It is best for roommates to communicate to have less issues, rather than not communicate and have issues build up over the entire school year.”
Powell said sometimes just simply informing or confronting someone can go a long way to resolving a roommate issue.
“Try and work through conflict and do not give up,” Powell said. “… conflict will happen, and that is OK.”
By: Diamond Koloski