Tips for dealing with a roommate

Illustration by Jim Hummel, San Jose Mercury News

Illustration by Jim Hummel, San Jose Mercury News

Paige McNeal

At the start of their college careers, students must consider what residence hall is best for them, what class schedule best suits their personality and if they should have a roommate or not.

Laura De’Armond, residence hall director for the summer, said having a roommate or roommates allows students to further develop their ability to communicate and interact with others.

“Establishing how to share the room space and live together reflects many interactions students will have with co-workers and clients in their future careers,” said De’Armond. “Having a roommate can also expose people to additional social circles.”

De’Armond provided freshmen with five tips to follow for when they are learning to live with a roommate:

1. Do not judge someone simply by their Facebook, Twitter posts or room decorations. Take the time to get to know someone and you may be pleasantly surprised.

2. Realize that you do not have to be best friends to be good roommates. Good communication is the key to being good roommates.

3. Everyone grew up with different ways of doing things. Because of this, your roommate may do things differently than you. Politely share with them what is important to you and realize that a roommate may just not know something is a big deal to you unless you tell them.

4. It is about finding out what works for all of you, not necessarily what is perfect. Living with roommates, even people who are good friends from before you live together, is about compromise.

If you are experiencing a problem with a roommate and are not sure how to approach the situation, seek assistance from the resident assistant.

“Resident assistants are experienced students who are familiar with what it’s like to live on campus and can be a great resource for how to approach and handle roommate disagreements,” De’Armond said. “Many roommate disagreements can be resolved after speaking with a resident assistant.”

If you do not feel comfortable speaking with a resident assistant, who is a student, you may speak with the residence hall director, who is a professional staff member, of the residence hall you are residing in.

5. Take the roommate agreement seriously. The Department of Residence Services provides a list of all items to be talked about as roommates. These questions are based on common things roommates have had disagreements over in the past. This agreement will help you prevent misunderstandings if you talk about these things before there is a concern.

Contact Paige McNeal at [email protected].