Random roommates: Communication, balance is key

By Susan Szuch

My first year at the University, I had a different random roommate each semester. While my experience with each of them was very different, both of them did teach me a very important lesson. 

The key to keeping your sanity when you’re rooming with a near-stranger is having a balance between time together and time alone, which can be achieved with open and honest communication.

A month or so before school started, I received an email from my dorm, letting me know who was assigned to stay with me in the double room I’d signed up for. 

My first roommate and I got to know each other through email, discovering shared interests. I was optimistic, despite the skepticism I received when I told people I was going with a randomly assigned roommate.

After the first couple weeks, I never saw my first roommate in the room at all. This wouldn’t have been too bad except for the fact that she would often come in at odd times with her boyfriend to grab some clothes and shower or to nap in the middle of the day.

While it was nice to have the room to myself for a lot of the semester, it was also kind of nerve-wracking. Communication had broken down between us, and that made it difficult to live in the same space, and she moved out at the end of the semester without telling me.

While you don’t need to keep tabs on your roommate’s every move, it’s helpful to know when they’re coming and going if you want to take a nap uninterrupted or study in your room.

The next semester, I ended up with a new roommate, and things were going smoother than they had the previous semester. We talked more than I had with my other roommate and we actually did things together, like getting dinner or going to the mall.

The only downside to this was that she rarely left the room. It wouldn’t have been too bad, but I’d become accustomed to a certain lifestyle — one of privacy. Near finals, this ended up creating an extremely stressful environment, with our tendencies getting on each other’s nerves.

Communication, as well as honesty, is also imperative when there are problems. According to the University’s Student Legal Services, roommates should be willing to share their feelings honestly, as well as compromise to resolve conflicts.

 If this doesn’t seem to work, or the problem is getting worse, students should talk to their resident adviser.

If it seems like things aren’t working out at all, it’s always an option to ask for a room change. While many people get along with their randomly assigned roommates just fine, it’s important to learn how to deal maturely and properly with ones who may get under your skin. It’s all a matter of talking openly and honestly to maintain a sense of balance.

Susan is a sophomore in Media

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Communication and balance are essential when you’re rooming with someone you don’t know