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The Blue & Gray Press | August 20, 2019

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Mid-semester roommate troubles? Alleviate now and don’t be afraid to talk

Mid-semester roommate troubles? Alleviate now and don’t be afraid to talk


Imagine it is the summer before your freshman year of college. You are finally all packed and ready to move to the University of Mary Washington. You got your random roommate assignment a few months ago and have sent them a friend request on Facebook as well as a few texts. You are so anxious to meet them in person.

In your head you have the questions you want to ask them. What is their favorite color? What time do they go to bed and get up? Are they neat? What classes are they taking? Then you have the questions you want to ask but are scared about too. Do they drink and go out to parties? Are boys or girls allowed to spend the night?

Flash-forward and it is finally move-in day. You are so excited. You begin to unpack your room and your roommate walks in. You finally get to meet in person and talk. In your head you are relieved and think everything is OK now. Everything starts out fine, but as the first month goes by, things begin to go wrong.

Your roommate comes back at 2 a.m. They never clean up their side of the room. They are using your clothes without asking. They are taking your food. You really just do not think you guys are going to get along or that the situation will get better. You are ready to panic. This is not what you expected. What do you do?

Before you pack your bags and try to transfer rooms, here are ideas on what you could do. You have a few options.

Your roommate may not know that what they are doing is upsetting you. I would invite them to go to lunch or get coffee. Just be honest with how you are feeling. Explain to them that it bothers you if they take your stuff without asking. Let them know that you wake up every time they come home at 2 a.m. If you are honest and calm about it then they may understand. Be kind to them. Ask your roommate if you need work on anything as well.

The two key C’s to living with another person are consideration and cooperation. You have to be willing to give and take.

Before I came to UMW I had my own room for 18 years. I had to learn to live with my roommate. She went to bed earlier than me, so I had to learn to be quiet at night for her. It is worth a try before you bring Residence Life in.

Here at UMW, we fill out roommate agreements with our roommates at the beginning of the year. That serves as a tool to hold one another accountable. If you do not feel comfortable talking to your roommate directly then ask your RA. Your RA can be an unbiased third party.

They can help come up with a solution. One big tip is to give it time. Your roommate is not going to change overnight. It will be a few weeks before you notice a change. Just be positive and hold them accountable.  Unless you are in a harmful environment that is physically, emotionally or mentally damaging, then I suggest you get out. You have the right to feel safe in your room. It is an experience to live in a room with another person, so make the best of it.