Going to college should be an exciting experience, but there are a lot of new situations with which you need to learn to cope. One of these is sharing a room. You are probably accustomed to having your own room and being able to do what you want in it. That changes when you have a roommate, but if you are both caring people, then you should be able to cope. However, if your college roommate is inconsiderate, you can still survive living with him or her by following some basic tips.
Think before you act
If you’re unused to sharing a room, you will need to leave some time to settle down before you start taking action against your roommate. The first few weeks of college are busy and people don’t always react in a calm way. Accept that this is the case and make sure you get your facts right before you go any further. You will also need to look closely at your own behaviour. There is a possibility that you are acting in ways that are unacceptable to your roommate, so make sure you think about your own behaviour too.
Seek advice from others
Don’t just rely on your own judgement. Explain your issues to friends, your parents, or even a counsellor and see how they react. They may think that you are over-reacting, in which case you may need to rein in your behaviour, because it could be making the matter worse. On the other hand, if they agree, then you know that you need to take more drastic action. At the very least, talking to other people will release some of the stress that you are feeling.
Talk to your roommate
Once you’ve had time to come to terms with your feelings and you are sure that it is your roommate that is the problem, it is time to approach your roommate. Ask for a meeting when you both have time and there isn’t anyone else around. Try to keep as calm as possible and make sure that you know what you are going to say. It may well be that your roommate has not realised how his or her behaviour is inconsiderate and the situation will immediately be resolved. If it isn’t, you will need to take further steps.
You may need to be prepared to compromise, even if you think that the fault lies with your roommate. Be willing to discuss how you can do so. It may be, for example, that your roommate resents you studying in the room all the time, so that he or she can’t have friends over, or watching the television is not an option. You could find somewhere else to study at least part of the time. Alternatively, you could suggest headphones so that each other’s music or television doesn’t disturb the other.
Find alternative privacy
If you really need your privacy and you find you can’t get it in your room, then try and find somewhere else that you can go. If you have a friend with a room that is sometimes empty, then ask if you can use it for a few hours a week. Alternatively, there may be a free classroom that you can use to escape for a while. If you live fairly near your home, then arrange to go home for a weekend every now and again, just so that you can have some peace and quiet. However, hopefully that won’t be necessary if you can work things out with your roommate.
Ask for a room swap
If you have tried to solve the problem with your roommate, but nothing seems to work, then your only alternative may be to ask for a room swap. There should be an administrator in charge of situations like this in your college, so talk to them about your situation. They may not be able to move you to a room of your own, but they should be able to find someone with whom you have more in common. Just try not to let things reach the situation where you no longer have a relationship with your inconsiderate roommate.
There will always be people who are inconsiderate and simply cannot see why they should change their ways. It is all part of growing up and trying to resolve the situation amicably is always your best bet. However, if it has reached the point of no return, don’t just sit back and do nothing, because you will always have options.