Stories produced by St. Peter's Journalism Students
BY JESSICA HARTLAND
Lottery tickets, casinos and roommates? All three are a gamble in life. Coming into college, you take the risk of living with a perfect stranger. But it all comes down to luck whether you could connect with them or simply just not get along.
Roommates are an easy way to gain a friend for life or an enemy. Entering your freshman year, it is never clear what exactly to expect.
“Right before moving into college, I was very excited to get close to my future roommate that I was going to be living with and expected to do everything with them,” said freshman Tiffany Hansen.
Having such optimistic goals of what will come out of having a new roommate may also lead to disappointment. Having a good relationship with a roommate is always ideal although it may not always work out that way. It is important to keep an objective mindset to ensure civility with a roommate.
“I was prepared for the worst so nothing surprised me,” said freshman student Brittany Fanella.
Fanella describes her experience with her roommate as a “roller coaster ride”. Upon moving in and for the first few months of the year, everything seemed to be working well; however, that all changed for her. Between conflicting sleeping patterns and messy tendencies, she reached her breaking point.
Moving out of your parent’s house and on your own, may not be as glamorous as people expect. There is no longer a guardian looking after you, making sure responsibilities are completed or simply cleaning your mess. A roommate who does not face their own chores often leads to confrontation. A main issue among roommates is how they take after themselves. Messiness and neglecting dishes and other duties begins as a simple pet peeve, but ends in disaster.
After long days of classes and dealing with college life overall, a dorm room or apartment becomes one’s sanctuary. It is a place where you can finally release your stress and be able to be on your own. Having a roommate that is easy to talk to aids in coping with the pressure; and while trust is hard to obtain, it’s also tough to maintain.
“Everything I said in my room just so happened to get around to other people on campus which is extremely annoying because your room is where you are supposed to feel comfortable. I have to censor everything I say,” said Fanella. “Because of this, our relationship is completely ruined. She lost all my trust and I have to respect for her.”
On the other hand, the situation may not always be bad. But if you ever do find yourself in a tough position, there are many steps that could be taken to handle it.
Communication is key when living with another person. If there is an issue, the easiest way to resolve it is to make all parties aware. You could accomplish this through casual conversation or, if necessary, by making a list of guidelines or “house rules” in which you both agree to abide by. Consenting to specific boundaries allows for personal freedom, as well as tolerating each person’s different habits. This could help you personally by letting go of the petty issues and, in turn, open your eyes to seeing the living situation through someone else’s eyes. The crucial way of coping with a bad roommate is to simply becoming a better roommate yourself.
If all else fails and the relationship does not get better, there are also other ways to ease the hassles. These include removing yourself from the situations by being spending more time away from your room, for example, studying in a different environment or getting support through other friends. There is also always an advisor that you could speak to if the problems get too out of hand. Counselors at the Center for Personal Development on campus are always willing to listen to your problems and give advice to help you personally. Also, residence life is available for alleviating tension whether it is through mediating talks with your roommate or switching your rooms to ensure comfort.
College is a place full of opportunities to meet and connect with new people; however, there will always be ups and downs. You may take a chance by rooming with a complete stranger, but it also may surprise you. Through roommates, you could either leave with a lifelong friend, or a headache. Life many things in life, you sometimes just have to roll the dice and see what happens.