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Tips for Getting Along with College Roommates

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Many college students are now settling in on-campus and getting along with their roommates, or not.

KYW’s John Ostapkovich reports Dr. Lane Neubauer, LaSalle’s Associate Dean of Students, has heard a lot of roommate complaints over the years and so she has a list of do’s and don’ts.

The first, which is a little late for students already moved in, is communicate ahead of time, but keep this in mind:

“Their roommate has to be somebody they can live with but it doesn’t have to be their best friend because I think that sets a lot of students up for disappointment.”

Neubauer says be clear about values, limits and work or study habits, and sometimes not just with one roommate:

“Obviously the more people you put in a room and a smaller space, the more compromises and the more flexible you need to be. On the other hand, it’s less intense sometimes when you have more people.”

Neubauer says working through roommate issues can be great practice for marriage. Unless its multiple roommates, that’s a little weird.

Living away at college is often the first time students have lived with someone outside their family. In fact it may be the first time they’ve ever had to share a living space with another individual. As a result, this experience provides valuable lessons as it prepares students for the challenges they will inevitably face when they find a life mate. It’s a chance to practice compromising habits and blending life styles successfully with another person.

The goal for a successful roommate situation is to live cooperatively with one another, not necessarily to be best friends. The key to getting along with one’s roommate is communication, compromise and flexibility. A good roommate relationship is give and take. Roommates find themselves in trouble when they don’t talk about issues when they arise as these will build up and become worse.
Here are some additional tips:

–Try to communicate with your roommate before you move in together. Identify potentially controversial issues ahead of time and find workable solutions.

–Keep an open mind and don’t jump to conclusions. First impressions aren’t always accurate.

–Be clear about your own value system.
–Find things in common and build on these.
–Potential Issues for discussion can include:
• Bed Time – when do the lights go out
• Study Habits – music on or off
• Cleanliness – the ODD couple syndrome
• Relationships – are overnight guests a problem
Living with a roommate is an invaluable opportunity to practice saying what one feels, getting needs met, setting boundaries, establishing healthy conflict resolution strategies, and finding a balance between compromise and assertiveness.