College roommates

I’m a recent graduate from The Catholic University of America, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Marketing/Management minor. I was part of the beginning of the University’s Dance Company and learned how much life has to offer you in a city, which is vastly different than the small Pennsylvanian town I grew up in. One day I hope to open up my own home decor boutique or bed & breakfast. I’m here to help give you guys a relatable outlook on all things college, with some (hopefully) good advice, as well!
For most freshmen, your first roommate was chosen randomly by some mysterious computer system at your college/university, right? The excitement of finding out who you were going to live with for the first year of your college career was strong at the beginning, then calmed down after classes started and you realized one of these three things: You get along great with your roommate, you tolerated his/her weird (probably annoying) habits, or you just don’t see eye to eye on much at all. Whichever situation you found yourself in, know that it’s okay! It is possible to have a great freshman year and branch out to find better friends while still keeping a civil relationship with your roommate. My freshman year, I thought my roommate and I would become really close friends! The first month or so went along without any major problems, but as we started getting more comfortable with having a roommate for the first time in many, many years, branching out into different group activities on campus, and meeting other friends, it became clear to me that both our living habits and personalities didn’t mesh as peacefully as expected.
Moving away from home and having to work on finding all new friends teaches you a lot about what kind of person you are. It is okay if you find a group of people that you are more similar to than your roommate. Close your eyes and envision that person you wanted to be when you thought about starting over again with all new people at your school. Now open them and realize that if your roommate is holding you back from being who you want to be, you can break away from him/her and live the life you imagined. You can have fun and not feel guilty for not including him/her in everything you do. From my personal experience and thinking back on how I handled the situation (I could have done a better job, to be honest), these steps will help keep the peace throughout the year.
From the very beginning, it’s best to be open with your roommate with as much as you are comfortable with. For instance: if you are having any troubles with the way your room is set up or how he/she is acting, nicely tell them or text them that you need to talk about it. It’s also okay to get your RA involved if it really isn’t working between you two. When it comes to hanging out with other people, slowly transition to hanging out with your other friends in a way that doesn’t come across as rude to your roommate. She/he might get the hint that you are branching away (hopefully). Again, be open with your plans. Being shady about where you are going will only make your living situation worse. I used to leave notes on my roommates bed to let her know where I was going when I was afraid she would be sad that I was going out with other people. Maybe not the most direct way of communicating, but it did the trick. Note on leaving notes: be friendly! Notes come across negatively in the first place so use exclamation points to make it happier. Last tip to help you deal with a not-so-nice roommate: keep the talking face to face consistent. It will be easier to ask for favors if you need them, and it’s always better to not burn any bridges. You never know, you might get stuck together in a group project junior year!

Elena Scott
Graduate of The Catholic University of America

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