Cultivate a healthy roommate relationship


The Daily Illini File Photo

A dorm room located in Taft-Van Doren is shown. While having a roommate may sound fun at first, there will be challenges to overcome.

By Jamie Linton, Brand Manager

Every incoming freshman’s biggest fear is having a not-so-agreeable roommate, but have you ever considered  you may be the roommate no one wants to have?  Hopefully you’re not. But, to be sure, follow these tips to maintain a healthy relationship with your roommate.

Establish some basic (and not-so-basic rules)

No matter which residence hall you choose to live in, your resident adviser will make your roommate and you sign a contract that says you’ve written out and discussed some typical roommate qualms.  This is helpful; however, it tends to only cover the basics. If there are issues you can anticipate right off the bat that aren’t discussed in the initial contract, make sure you’re discussing these issues with your roommate as well.  For example, how late is too late to bring people over? Do you or your roommate have a significant other they plan to invite more than once in a while? It’s best to establish what the roommate expectations are before they become a problem.

Avoid passive aggression

No one likes conflict, but leaving a major issue unaddressed for too long is disrespectful to your roommate and yourself.  If you feel uncomfortable starting a conversation in person, shoot them a quick, non-accusatory text asking them to correct their behavior.  Remember: It’s much easier to receive a text that starts with “I feel” than one starting with “you keep doing this.”

Let things go 

There are some bones that should be left unpicked.  College is messy; your quality of living is going to severely decline, but this loss in small luxuries will be easily replaced with the countless memories you’ll make in your freshman year residence hall.  This being said, take this cramped living space for what it is. If your roommate has a bad habit of leaving their t-shirts on the floor between your bed, pick them up. You probably have small quirks that annoy your roommate equally as much.  At the end of the day, it’s much more important to make memories you’ll look back at fondly as an alumnus than to get irritated over messes that don’t matter.

With these tips in mind, realize the amount of time you spend in your dorm is up to you.  The best thing about living in a Campustown bubble is the world is your oyster. There are all sorts of places you can go on campus when you’re stressed.  

Living in a residence hall is one of the most valuable experiences you’ll have on this campus, so don’t take it for granted. Appreciate all you can of this experience that will be over before you can say “residence hall.” After all, you’re paying a lot to be there.

[email protected]