Living With Roommates
A roommate can be a valued friend and a lifelong contact. When two people share a room, however, there are typically many adjustments for both individuals. Making those adjustments is an important part of your living and learning experience.
It is important to remember that when minor issues do arise, (loud music, too much or too little conversation, cleanliness, study or sleeping habits, attitudes towards visitation, etc.) the first obligation for each roommate is to discuss the matter with the other before it grows from a minor problem to a gnawing irritation. In those few instances when a difficulty cannot be satisfactorily resolved between the roommates, the residence hall staff is available to assist in working out a solution. Involve your resident advisor (RA) in your discussion. Problems ignored rarely disappear and will stand in the way of study, sleep, relaxation, and a good roommate experience. By discussing these issues and agreeing on how the issues will be handled, you can avoid future problems. More importantly, however, you and your roommate(s) will be establishing a pattern of open communication and mutual understanding.
When you sit down with your roommate(s), be honest with him/her and yourself. If you and your roommate(s) disagree or have different ideas, try to find the middle ground, a compromise with which you both can agree. Be willing to hear your roommate’s needs and desires and recognize that you both will need to adjust to the other for the roommate relationship to work for both of you. Good roommate relations take time; be patient, do not jump to conclusions, keep an open mind, and most of all keep talking to one another.
To help the communication process and avoid problems, here are some questions or ideas you might want to discuss with your roommate(s).
Learning About Each Other
- What are my habits/hobbies?
- How much sleep do I need and when do I need it?
- How do I feel about having friends in the room? (e.g., times, parties, etc.)
- What are my study habits?
- How do I like the room? Who cleans what and when?
- How do I feel about my possessions – what is okay to borrow? Not borrow?
- What has priority? (e.g., studying, sleeping, talking with friends, watching TV, etc.)
- What is my relationship with God?
- How would I describe myself?
- How do I feel about being away from home?
- Feelings about drugs, drinking, dating?
- What is my mood most of the time?
- When do I prefer to be left alone?
- What annoys me? What makes me happy?
What To Do When You Want to Switch Rooms
While our office encourages students to pursue mediation to resolve conflict amongst roommates, we recognize that sometimes situations may not always be reconciled. In any roommate conflict situation, our Residence Life team will recommend that students pursue resolution by doing the following before obtaining a room change:
- First, have a conversation with your roommate(s) to try resolving conflict(s). Reference your roommate agreement if you have one, seek to find compromise, and establish healthy communication to try and find a resolution.
- If your conversation(s) with your roommate(s) are unsuccessful in resolving conflict, we encourage students to then reach out to their RA. RA's are trained in conflict mediation and, as such, are equipped to help students navigate various conflicts among each other. Your RA will schedule a time for all parties to sit down and discuss what has been going and what potential next steps could be.
- At this point in time, if conflict is still present, it is recommended that you reach out to your Area Director either to have another meeting or to begin working on a room change. Please submit a Room Change Request to start the dialogue with your Area Director. Submitting a Room Change Request does not guarantee a room change will occur.
It should be noted that in some situations, a mediation may not be pursued and your Area Director may work to initiate a room change. This is done at the Area Director's discretion.
If your Area Director ultimately initiates a room change for you, know that no specific spaces, room types, or living areas can be promised. At this point in time, the Area Director will reassign you to what is most appropriate and what is available. For example: it is possible that you may move from an apartment space to a residence hall space if that is all that is available.