By Jenise Jackson
Blog Content Contributor
Some people are lucky enough to come to college and become best friends with their roommates. If you are one of those individuals, it makes the experience of living in a dorm a lot of fun. Unfortunately, not every college student has the luxury of having a great roommate. In fact, you might just get one that is straight from the underworld (you know what I am talking about). Trust me, I have been there and it can happen to the best of us. Just in case this might end up being you this semester, I have got some advice to help you make it through.
When I moved into my dorm freshman year, I really had no clue what it was like sharing a room with another person. My younger sister and I had shared a room for a year, but I was the boss so she knew not to step on my toes. So here I was, about to live with another human being who I had never crossed paths with in life. All I knew was her name, age, where she was from and some of her interests. I was scared out of my mind. All my friends had already moved into their dorms at other campuses and seemed to be settling in well with their roommates, so I was reassured that everything would be okay– and everything was, for the first couple of weeks. We watched TV together, ate dinner together, worked out together and even found our way into a couple of parties. Life seemed to be going good and I really thought I was settling in well. Then the madness started.
My roommate started to claim that she was stressed and to my surprise, she had a very specific way of dealing with her stress. Let us just say a man’s physical touch took all her stress away, and she ended up being stressed a lot. I was either stuck in the room listening to her escapades, or I was forced to wait outside for what felt like hours. Not to mention, the girl was freaking gross. It was like cleaning was her Kryptonite and I honestly could not take it. How was I supposed to live like this for two semesters?
I got fed up and had to tell the girl I was not going to deal with her ways. She had to see a side of me that not too many people have had to deal with, but that is what happens when you push me near the point of insanity. Long story short, she was not willing to change her ways and I moved out. Who knew you could have a breakup with a roommate? Now, your experience might not be as bad as mine and hopefully it does not drive you to go into a dark place like I did, but there are ways you can manage. I wish I could have taken my own advice, but I’ll share it with you so you can possibly keep the peace.
Establish Boundaries From The Beginning
This is something that all roommates need to do. If someone does not know what your boundaries are, you can not expect them to be respected. Honestly, I would do this while you and your roommate are getting settled in. Having the conversation early will hopefully prevent any confrontation in the future.
Voice Your Concerns Peacefully, Not Confrontationally
If you do have concerns with your roommate, it is best to tackle them as soon as possible. I know it is hard to keep cool when you are ticked off, but sometimes you can get through to a person a lot better when you talk to them normally– minus the arguing and yelling. There is a way to be direct and respectful at the same time, so try your best to approach the concerns as such. If they do not respond well to that, then maybe you do need to do what I did and get a little hype so they know you are not playing games.
Consider Their Point of View
Yes, I know this is very hard to do but it has to be done. Perhaps you could have overreacted. Take a time out to see where they are coming from, and evaluate the situation from there. If you are still conflicted, talk with an RA or anyone who can help you decide what the next best move is.
Consider Other Options
Hopefully this is your last resort, but maybe you just might have to search for other living arrangements. Maybe you can find another mismatched roommate pair who is willing to swap, or you could move into a single room if your finances permit.
Part of being an adult is facing challenges that can be daunting. Maybe your roommate does not appear to be your perfect match at first. That is okay, just give it a little time. You could just need to warm up to each other. If time goes on and you do start to notice some issues, stick to my tips and hopefully it will all work out calmly. I am sending good vibes to everyone moving into their new living spaces, and hopefully you find your forever friend in your roommate.
Featured image by Jessica Calderon.