Student Life

College Roommate Problems and Solutions

Undoubtedly, problems with your college roommate will arise. Here are a few solutions to ease the tension.

Student Contributor, Charles Schnell

February 16, 2022

College Roommate Problems and Solutions
How to handle tension with your college roommate.
When you go to college, the odds are you will be living with at least one college roommate for part of your undergraduate career. As with every other human relationship in life, problems can arise between you and a roommate. Most of these problems can generally be attributed to differences in lifestyles, maturity, and worldviews. If you have yet to live with a roommate and are preparing for that day to come, here are some of the problems you could anticipate:

They May Be a Slob.

This particularly applies to you if you are someone who tends to clean often and cares much about having a clean space to call your own. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same standards of cleanliness for themselves. While you may be a weekly cleaner of your room, your roommate may be a monthly or seldom cleaner of their room. This can lead to frustration, particularly if you want to divide the cleaning responsibilities equally.

Your Roommate’s a Party-Frequenter. . .

Some college students are wild. For some students, college is the prime time of their life to party all night. You may have different sentiments in regards to the purpose of college and what constitutes a good use of your time. Your roommate may even want to host a party! This leads into a bigger distinction that may exist between both of you. . .

Your Roommate Wants to Have Friends Over. . .

Do you like to have people over to your room to hang out, or do you prefer to hang out at other spots on campus? If you fall into the latter camp, and your roommate, the former, this could lead to further conflict between both of you.

Sleep Schedules May Differ.

You may be an early bird, and your roommate may be a night owl—staying up to study and complete homework or purely for social reasons. Alternatively, you may like to sleep in each morning, whereas your roommate may like or have to arise early and start making noise while getting ready for the day.

Tolerance of Noise

Furthermore, it certainly doesn’t help if your roommate is a loud night owl. They could be staying up into the thick of night, chatting on the phone, or playing music so loudly in their headphones that you can hear it (which defeats the purpose of headphones). You may prefer to play some light music while studying or completing homework assignments, whereas your roommate may require heavy metal or complete silence in order to be productive.

Comfortability with Sharing

Your roommate may be less willing to share items than you. Or, they may want to share too much! It’s even worse if they neglect the courtesy to ask you before borrowing your belongings. Those are some of the common, cliché problems that may arise. There are some general solutions that are applicable in all of these situations. The first and most obvious one is to attempt to have a serious discussion with your roommate about any issues you may have. Bring up the issues you are having. Respectfully and kindly inform them where your boundaries lie. If that first discussion does not prove fruitful, it is time to talk to the Resident Assistant (RA). The RA will listen to you privately and then may schedule a meeting with both of you so that the RA can advise both of you on how to best proceed as roommates. The last resort, presumably, would be one of you requesting to transfer rooms, which is always an option! Rarely does it ever come to that, though. In pursuing these actions, it is always vital to be respectful yet honest, willing to compromise reasonably yet stubborn, understanding yet not a pushover, confident and with as much self-respect (in some cases, more) than respect for your roommate. A skill that falls under the category of “street smarts,” which you learn in college, is how to deal with people, even if they are “difficult.” Hopefully, none of the above problems will fall upon you. Some students get lucky with great roommates. Others may need to have a few discussions with their roommates to iron out the differences, especially at the beginning of any particular academic year. P.S. On the off chance that your roommate breaks a policy of the college, the college may take care of the situation for you!

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