Sharing a room with another student can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable aspects of your college experience. The opportunity to become close friends with someone new, who has a different background and different ideas, provides a tremendous learning experience.
Learning to live with another person, to acknowledge and respect your differences, and to allow one another the space to grow are some of the most valuable parts of the on-campus experience.
Living in a small room with another person is a new experience for many students. Even those students who are used to sharing their living space may have some difficulty adjusting to a new roommate. The skills a good roommate uses are not any different from the skills used to maintain any other interpersonal relationship. A successful relationship requires openness, flexibility, and respect.
After you have settled into your room, a personal discussion with your roommate is a great place to start. You may find that you and your roommate have similar goals, habits, and interests, while at the same time, you may find you’re totally different.
Whether or not you develop a lifelong friendship with your roommate, learning to tolerate each other’s differences without infringing on one another’s freedom can be a valuable part of your education.
If a conflict does arise that can’t be worked out, don’t blame each other and don’t establish “teams.” Contact your RA who will discuss the situation with each of you separately and then will sit down with all of you to discuss alternatives and possible expectations which could lead to a resolution.
If none of these efforts leads to a mutually satisfying relationship, your RA may ask a professional staff member to meet with you and your roommate. Only in rare cases will room changes be allowed after Room Change Days are over.
Talking It Over
Even if you already know your roommate or you have roomed together before, get started on the right foot by discussing the items listed below. These are some areas of potential conflict that should be discussed and agreed upon before a conflict arises.
When? Where? With or without noise? How much time?
To share or not to share? Cleaning: How often? Who does what?
How many? How long? How often? What times?
Completely dark? Completely quiet? Early or late to bed?
Roommate Bill of Rights
The Right to a clean environment
The right to expect that a roommate will respect one’s personal belongings.
The right to a redress of grievances. Housing staff is available to assist in resolving conflicts.
The right to read and study without undue interference in one’s room. Unreasonable noise or other distractions inhibit the exercise of this right.
The right to sleep without undue disturbance from noise, roommate’s guests, etc.
The right to free access to one’s room and facilities without pressure from a roommate.
The right to personal privacy.
The right to be free from fear or intimidation and physical or emotional harm.
The right to have guests during visitation hours with the expectation that guests are to respect the rights of the host’s roommate and other hall residents.
The right to expect reasonable cooperation in the use of the room telephone.