By Kay Bush
Elm Staff Writer
Roommate problems are not a new concern in the college life. What seems like a great idea at first, becomes a nightmare later on. When the topic of disaster roommates is approached most people will think of the first year at college. Of course there are a lot of freshman roomie horror stories, but who says the problems stop after freshman year? Plenty of people will choose to room with their best friends and realize half-way through the semester that they cannot stand their living style.
A wide variety of issues can arise from daily nuances, such as taking clothes, leaving dirty laundry around the room, and eating the other person’s food without permission. Pre-emptive measures are taken by colleges to lay down ground rules so as to avoid possible, future altercations. This agreement does little to stop someone from acting a certain way or doing something that annoys their roommate. When a problem does present itself, it’s especially exasperating because there’s the fear of hurting the other person’s feelings or causing more trouble than necessary. The first step to approaching your roommate with a problem, is to speak up! What’s the worst that can happen? If that doesn’t work bring the issue to the RA or residence assistant.
Although the RA can act as a mediator, most problems can be solved among yourselves. There’s no reason to attack the other person, or persons, when it’s the first strike. They’ll respond better to a courteous discussion, trust me. If they see that their actions are seriously bothering you, a negotiation or a private agreement will probably be reached. Now, if there are problems after that, diabolical plots and pranks might seem like swell ideas. I assure you, they’re not. It seems cliché to say this, but revenge is not the answer. Getting back at your roommate will only create hostility and awkwardness. If you’re not the only person that has a problem with your roommate, then bringing the RA or the director of residential life may be the best course of action.
Before getting too crazy, let’s take a step back and ask: what can I do to be a better roommate? Sometimes, the answer to roomie issues is simple. For example, if you prefer studying in the room, but your roommate likes to go to bed early, ask them if the light bothers them. Otherwise, the library, your common room, or your desk with a lamp may be the solution. Often, there may be a difference in weekend activities. When your roommate doesn’t go out on the weekends, it can be difficult to deal with. You might feel guilty or uncomfortable especially if your roommate shows obvious disinterest in the nightlife scene. This is not your problem. However, do your best to respect their choices, and if they’re outright rude about yours then it’s time to let your RA know or even have an honest conversation with them. Your first instinct may be to talk about your roomie behind their back and complain, but to get results you’re going to have to speak up to the right people.
Roommates can be tricky, but it’s an easily relatable topic. That’s why so much comedy is based on horror stories. Comedy may serve as a casual pick-me-up to a student in rooming distress. Keep in mind, it’s not solution, just helpful. A video called “The 6 Monsters You’ll Have as Roommates” by College Humor captures the most terrifying roommates imaginable. But don’t worry, it’s not all that accurate. Maybe.