Communication important when dealing with roommates

Amanda Egut

Approach problems diplomatically, ask a third party to help

When freshmen move into the dorms, they often find tight quarters, lofted beds and no doors to separate beds into bedrooms. Add in an unfamiliar roommate, and it may seem like a lot for new students to get used to.

So how do freshmen deal with these unique living arrangements?

“Communication was really important,” said Monica Volante, junior electronic media production major. “I didn’t want to make her (my roommate) feel bad, so if anything bothered me I would never mention it.”

Tips for getting along with roommates

&bull Keep communication lines open.

&bull If there is a problem, approach it diplomatically – don’t yell.

&bull Keep the room organized.

&bull Don’t use roommates’ space.

&bull Return borrowed items.

&bull Don’t steal from roommates.

&bull Bring in a third party like an RA if a bad situation persists and communication has been unsuccessful.

&bull Don’t have friends over late at night.

&bull Be considerate of roommates’ sleeping and studying needs.

&bull Don’t leave trash in the room.

Volante said, however, saying nothing was as bad as yelling all the time because nothing got accomplished.

“Looking back on it, I realized if I would have asked her to change things it wouldn’t have been as scary as I thought,” Volante said. “She probably didn’t like some things that I did either.”

Setting up the room can also be a challenge for freshmen because they have to decide where the beds go, who uses what closet and who gets to watch shows at certain times.

“We kept our room a her-half, my-half deal,” junior dance major Allie Ketterer said.

Resident assistants can help in the organization process, said Amy Quillin, associate director of Residence Services. If students need a resource such as a phone number, they can contact RAs.

“RAs are also students who go to class, take tests and have social lives,” Quillin said. “The system is set up to supplement or augment what students learn in the classroom.”

An easy way to keep organized and facilitate communication is a dry erase board, senior mathematics major Bob Vokac said. The board can be placed in a communal area where everyone can see it and write notes to each other.

“(The dry erase board) helped keep my apartment organized,” Vokac said. “Sometimes I didn’t see my roommates for days, (but) they would come in, see the note and know what was going on.”

Vokac lived off campus after transferring to Kent State last year and now wishes he could have had the dorm experience.

“I kind of wish I would have lived in the dorms,” Vokac said. “It looks like you meet a lot of people.”

Contact relationships reporter Amanda Egut at [email protected].