Going away to college offers a great opportunity to try new things and meet new people. Since this time is usually very exciting and rewarding for most college students, they often don’t foresee inevitable problems that can result.
New college students may be experiencing independence for the first time in their lives which can bring both positive and feelings of anxiety all at the same time. Over the course of the first month of college, you may experience more new changes than you’ve ever encountered in your life.
Although this brings with it new opportunities that you’ve never had before, you may also experience some situations that you’ve not previously been trained to deal with. Living closely with other individuals can have its benefits and its setbacks.
Conflicts may occur since people with different backgrounds and habits don’t have the experience to deal with such situations. You may think of it as a new marriage except that hopefully, the two people getting married have some previous background and knowledge of each other.
Being put into a situation where you are residing with one or more roommates can be a much different situation altogether. Since there are ways to better handle conflict, it can be very helpful if you are aware of some strategies and techniques that can help.
Adjusting Your Expectations
Even if you end up with the perfect roommate, there are bound to be differences that will need to be addressed. Honest communication is the best way to solve these problems immediately in order to avoid tension and frustration from building up. For students who have not had to share a room before, there may be some surprises that you will have to deal with when your roommate’s way of living is different than yours.
Addressing the Problem Before It’s Too Late
You shouldn’t have to live ignoring your problems and believing that there’s nothing you can do about what’s going on. Finding solutions and brainstorming options can be a great learning experience and lead to stronger relationships in the end.
Setting aside some time to verbally communicate about what’s going on is a great way to approach any problem. By waiting you will not only escalate the problem but may end up causing irreparable damage to the relationship itself. Once you engage in yelling and screaming and attacking another’s character there usually not much you can do to return the relationship to where it once was.
Be Willing to Compromise
Some problems are more negotiable than others. Resolving who gets the bathroom first thing in the morning might be an easy one to solve but having a boyfriend stay throughout the night 5 days a week may not be quite as negotiable. Again, this is where communication is key in order to better understand each other’s needs and find ways you both might be able to solve the problem without causing damage to the relationship.
Creating a Contract With Your Roommate
In order for both students to be able to thrive in their personal living space, it may be wise to set up a contract or roommate agreement. Ways in which two people can learn to live together can be spelled out specifically in the contract and make it easier to discuss should conflicts come up.
Some issues that can be brought up in the contract is how you both will want to maintain your living space to how to handle the noise levels when one roommate is trying to study as well as establishing a common ground on when friends are welcome to visit and when they are not.