"After any busy day which is full of classes and assignments, any college student will be longing for his or her bed in the dormitory or apartment. But, as we step back to our room, hoping to get some rest, we often smell some awful stench from the "rotten" pizza of your roommate, or find some dirty clothes all over the floor or even some sticky used condoms lying randomly on his or her side of the room, or something which does not help to make the room comfortable."
Are you familiar with the scenario above? Well, if you don't, congratulations! You are either one of the lucky few ones who gets a single or your roommate is/becomes your good friend, or you are the one who is responsible for the mess (if you are in this case, congratulate to yourself that you are reading this). If you do, let me share a few quick tips that would help you to overcome this roommie issue.
Besides the scenario that I made up above, there are also other issues that you might encounter with your roommate. For examples, you roommate could be:
- a smoker, smoking in the room is normal
- a party-er, college life = party all night everyday
- a drinker, alcohol seems to be their water
- a gamer, play computer games/ video games all night
- a parasite, constantly use your stuff and eat your food
- and etc ~
Regardless of whoever they are, first, you gotta get to know about them as soon as possible. Share with them about your lifestyle and ask about their's too! Set up some simple room rules so that neither' s lifestyle would be affected. If necessary, write down the rules and have both of you (or more if more than 2 staying with you) sign the Roommate Rules contract and put it at the front door or any obvious spot in the room/house.
This might sound like a cliche but effective communication is the best solution to whatever problems you might have with your roommate. You have to voice up your concerns no matter what, silence is gold but silence is useless if you are just keeping everything to yourself. Constantly exchanging ideas with your roommate is a good way to express your opinion/perspective about a certain thing, at the same time, understand what your roommate feels about it.
Sometimes, the issue might rise up due to culture shock. Even though we, Malaysians, normally fit in pretty well with the Americans, we might as well miss the lifestyle we have back in Malaysia. Perhaps, it might also just be a "independence shock" as we have to be, in one way or another, independent in taking care of ourselves. Thus, before you even start to discuss about your room with your roommate, it is important for you to be responsible of your own mess, if you have them.
The last but not least, patience is definitely the key for every single one of us to communicate with our roommate and sometimes we might need to consider accepting some of his/her bad habits, which do not necessarily affect your college life. Don't sweat the small stuff if it does not hurt you in a significant way. just let it go. Living with another person is tough but this could be your chance to loosen up yourself. However, if your roommate does not care about communicating with you about the welfare of each other in the room/house, contact your residential assistant/senior resident to help solving the issue. Well, if all above fails, I guess it is time for you to contact your Director of Campus Housing (or some other similar title) to either change your room or your roommate's.
Okie, time's up for all this same old same advice. Feel free to post any particular questions you might have in the comments section. I might not be the best candidate to help you but I am sure the other authors of this blog would not hesitate to give some useful suggestions that might be your solution.
Guan Tyng, Tan
Class of 2014
St. John's College