Residence Life

Two girls in Talkington Hall dorm room

Roommates

Students are welcome to choose their own roommate or have Residence Life assign one. Roommates who choose each other must mutually request each other – either written or email. The Residence Life office will mail out a letter during the middle of the summer that lists the names and email addresses of your roommate(s).

Once students move in, we strongly suggest that roommates sit down together during the first or second night to go over the Roommate Starter Kit that is placed in all double and triple rooms as well as the suites. The Roommate Starter Kit will start communication among roommates so the expectations are clear from the start of the semester and will alleviate many frustrations and arguments later in the semester.

Living With a Roommate:

Before you and your roommate move into your residence unit, separate fact from fiction. Know the facts about living well with others:

Fiction: "My roommate and I need to have a lot in common."

 

Fact:

Two different people can live together and learn from one another’s experiences — as long as both people stay open to it!
Fiction:   "As long as they keep their hands off my stuff, we will be fine."
Fact:   Living with someone is about much more than just material things. Respect, communication and flexibility all work into the mix as you learn to have a relationship with your roommate(s).
Fiction:   "My roommate and I are going to be best friends. We are going to do everything together!"
Fact:

Roommates don’t always end up as best friends. Friendship isn’t the main factor in developing an excellent roommate relationship. Instead, respect and willingness to communicate clearly are key.

Communication

Most roommate conflicts are the result of poor communication. When interacting with your roommate(s):

Avoid gossip. Gossip among roommate(s) and other members in your community can be a real source of conflict. Avoid conversations that include gossip, and ensure that your ”small talk” is gossip free.

Go to the source. Complaining can cause a lot of tension within a shared living space. Those who you complain to wonder if you complain about them too, and this only provides you with a quick ”get it off your chest” feeling. Instead of complaining, talk to your roommate(s) directly. Starting a sentence with “I feel that ...” is usually a good tactic — no one can deny how you feel.

Don’t beat around the bush. If there is something that you feel needs to be discussed or addressed, take a minute to think about what you are going to say and then say it. A problem is much easier to solve when it is out in the open and clearly stated.

Don’t make assumptions. The source of many problems is false assumptions. If you make an assumption before taking the time to get the facts, problems will arise. See the previous two points for more advice.

Use "I" statements. This is a very powerful and non-threatening way to address concerns. Talk about how you feel and what you have observed. This will provide your roommate(s) with an opportunity to see how their actions may be affecting you (excerpt from PaperClip Communications).