What do college students worry about the most when they first move to campus? Will it be the workload? Or homesickness? The answers may vary. To some people, a roommate is one of the biggest concerns for college students.
A lot of things can happen between roommates. They can get along well and be close friends for the rest of their time in college, or they can end up disliking each other so much that they never communicate or even move out of the dorm.
“Conflict is natural between human beings — that can’t be avoided. What can be avoided is dealing with the conflict in an unhealthy way,” Dr. Dryw Dworsky, a clinical professor in the Department of Psychology, stated.
As mentioned, conflict between humans is absolutely natural, as well as problems occurring between roommates. As a freshman in the university, students have to live with one or more people they may not have a connection with. If they are lucky, they can room with their friends and would have to learn how to address a problem with their pals if an issue arises.
“Problems typically occur when problems go unaddressed, when people are unwilling to be flexible, or when one person is not being respectful of the other person,” Dworsky said.
However, many students don’t know how to solve an issue with their roommates. The answer is communication.
“Much like any partnership, open communication is key. It’s important for roommates to address issues and concerns quickly, rather than letting them fester. Each person should attempt to communicate their wants and needs and each should try to listen with an open mind to their roommate,” Dworsky said.
Communication is a fundamental factor for every relationship. If roommates are willing to negotiate and be flexible, a middle ground can be found
“I will just be honest and straightforward, but with a polite language,” Chi Le, a sophomore psychology major, said.
While communication is the solution to any problems, what else can students do if there is a big argument between them? Communication is important, but students have to make sure each person has an opportunity to be heard without interruption and discuss solutions. Not everyone is lucky enough to have roommates sharing common hobbies with them, showing interest in talking to them, or caring about them in general.
Befriending roommates can be stressful, but Dworsky has a simple solution for students to follow.
“Be kind and respectful and show interest in the things they care about. Look for opportunities to do things together and ask your roommate if they would be interested in taking part in that activity with you. If you know they are interested in a certain TV show, event, etc., try to engage with them around that interest,” Dworsky said.