Roommates are just another part of college that can either make, or entirely break your college experience. You are consistently exposed to their presence and company throughout the year and if the two of you clash then you’re almost guaranteed to be miserable. It’s the luck of the draw as to whether you get on with your roommate or not, after all not everybody is compatible and being cooped up in a small place under the pressure of studying can cause the best of friends to fall out and conflict.
If you do get on with your roommate – great, you’re one of the lucky ones.
However if you’re part of the large group that finds themselves landed with an inconsiderate, untidy and insensitive cohabitor, then here are some tips to make it a little more bearable.
1. Stay calm
Responding to their behaviour with anger is going to lead to further disruption and arguments and is probably not the best idea in the long run. Ideally, you want to reside in a civil environment with your roommate. You may not necessarily agree with their behaviour or even like them, but try to remain polite and civil at all times, whilst respecting their personal space and behaviours. Treat them how you would like to be treated, and you may find that over time, they may begin to show equal respect for your privacy and boundaries.
2. Discuss rules
Since you will be living together, it’s best to outline any (reasonable) rules you expect each other to abide by at the start of the term. These may be different to your college’s official rules but things you deem important. For example, you may not allow your roommate to bring home strangers. These people may not be trustworthy and this will be impending upon your space and property. If these rules are broken you should have pre-decided courses of action to be enacted afterwards.
Clearly you are not able to physically punish your roommate but the misconduct should be breached in polite conversation. Attempt to explain to your roommate why this action has upset you, and calmly request that they refrain from doing it when you are around. It’s probable that you also have habits that irritate your roommate so try to be understanding when you are judging their behaviour. Once you understand them you will find it easier to remain neutral with them.
3. Report them
If your roommate is being more than unreasonable and performing illegal activites, it may be wise to report this to the relevant department. If you do not do this as soon as you recognise these actions, you may yourself become a suspect in the illicit activity. If you’re afraid to give a statement regarding your roommate there is usually an option to do this anonymously.
4. Try to befriend them
It may be the last thing on your mind, and you may never see yourself liking the individual, but it’s worth a try. Try to give your roommate a chance. If the two of you end up becoming friends you’ll likely find they become less annoying and they will typically be more respectful of your needs. Not only will this make surviving at college easier, you’ll also be living in close quarters with a friend which works wonders for your social life.
5. Change rooms
As an absolute last resort, you could request a room change. This is inconvenient for the both of you and also your college so it is advised to attempt to work out your differences before filing for this option. It usually requires you packing and repacking all of your belongings and relocating to a new dorm which can interfere with your studies and disrupt your livelihood.
However if your current roommate is seriously ruining your time at college it is not a bad idea to move elsewhere. College should be a positive experience for all involved and you shouldn’t let another individual ruin this for you.