Off-campus living situations pose challenges for students

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Messages exchanged between two roommates dealing with conflict. 

Kelsey Paulus Relationships Reporter

Two days after Megan’s roommate made buffalo chicken dip. On the kitchen counter, the dip was still plugged in on low in a crock pot. Even after confronting her roommate, it was left alone for the remainder of the week. 

Megan (not her real name) is a senior physical education major and has rented a house off campus for two years. Last semester, she had three roommates, one of which was a source of conflict throughout the house. Most of the issues consisted of messiness and rude tendencies, Megan said.

Megan and this roommate were friends with each other for four years. But living together for two years made it hard to stay friends.

“Everyone is different,” Megan said. “You don’t really know someone until you live with them.” The buffalo chicken dip was only one instance of conflict she faced when moving into a house off campus. 

In a dorm, it is hard to hide from conflict since you are living in the same room with someone. 

When you live in an apartment or a house, it is easier to run away from a problem. 

The problems are bigger due to having more responsibilities, said Victoria Cantini, marketing and public relations chair for the Commuter and Off-Campus Student Organization. 

It is difficult when people with different lifestyles start living together, which is typically the situation for many college students. Conflict can arise when these personalities crash, and it can be difficult to approach. However, it is important to keep these approaches constructive, said senior nursing major Adrienne Spence, who has also lived off campus for two years. 

“It is sometimes difficult to bring concerns up without letting the frustration take over,” Spence said. “So trying to talk to my roommates in a way where we both feel heard is important.”

Spence has dealt with roommate conflicts such as preferences for heating, electricity and splitting up chores throughout the house. Spence said communication is important to keep peace between each other and make sure frustrations do not build up.

Campus Pointe is a student apartment complex located off of Main Street in Kent. On its website, there is advice on keeping harmony between roommates, such as scheduling roommate meetings, dividing chores and leaving room for personal space. 

Roommate conflict can bring upon unnecessary stress, Megan said, and it takes a lot of patience. 

“Don’t be afraid to speak up,” she said. “Because sometimes you need to speak up or else it’s just going to keep continuing on.”

Contact Kelsey Paulus at [email protected]