Learning to compromise, keeping an open mind may improve living in close quarters

By Mark Rivera

College homework problems may be tough, but problems with your roommate can make them even tougher. Wherever students live on campus, issues with the people that share your home can always arise. What matters more than that is how you handle them.

Joshua Bodine-Lederman, junior in AHS and Forbes Hall resident adviser, said some typical roommate conflicts involve general use of common room materials such as sharing the refrigerator, microwave, carpet and television.

Other problems that may come up include personal use of space, number of guests in the room, kinds of music being listened to and differences in sleeping habits.

Justin Smith, sophomore in Business, has experienced roommate problems first hand. He is on his third roommate in two years.

“We weren’t really that compatible,” Smith said. “He would always want to kick me out.”

Smith said that when he roomed with a good friend from high school second semester, conditions improved greatly.

“I think a lot of people are more willing to compromise when you know the person,” Smith said.

Yet, however bleak some rooming interactions may seem, there is always a lighter side.

“My roommate sleep-talks,” said Niranjan Venkatesan, sophomore in Engineering. “He wakes up sometimes and says ‘Where is everyone?'”

Stephanie Tussing had a decidedly different view of the person she lives with. She said she also chose a random woman to share her room.

“I decided a week before the deadline,” Tussing said. “She’s an only child, and she doesn’t really know boundaries.”

Tussing said her roommate would invite people over constantly, but added that there was an up-side – always meeting new people.

No matter what, when choosing a roommate, respecting people’s individual differences is paramount, Bodine-Lederman said. But, according to the two year resident adviser, living with someone new is part of college.

“Be open to new experiences,” he said.