Developing Healthy Relationships with Roommates
One of the biggest challenges your student will face outside the classroom is learning to live with a roommate(s). You can help your student in developing a healthy relationship by:
- Getting your student to acknowledge their living habits and values (i.e. hitting the snooze button 10 times, listening to music/watching tv while studying, etc).
- Encourage them to be honest when filling out their roommate contract. The roommate contract allows students to set out their expectations for the room regarding guests, borrowing/sharing things, music, etc.
- Talk with your student about valuing diverse perspectives.
- Encourage your student to maintain a positive attitude and be willing to compromise.
Even if your student is the best of friends with their roommate eventually the honeymoon will be over. Academic stress and homesickness can heighten tension and lead to a roommate conflict. It’s natural for your student to talk with you about the situation, but remember, they’re probably calling in the heat of their emotion. Help your student talk through the problem and encourage them to talk with their roommate (instead of avoiding them or looking to make a room change). If assistance is needed, have your student go to their Resident Assistant (RA) or Resident Director (RD), both of whom have been trained to help assist with roommate conflicts.
Residential Life will send out information about your student’s roommate(s) a few weeks before opening. We encourage students to call each other before heading to campus so they can begin getting to know one another and negotiating their relationship. Please caution your student about making premature judgments about their roommate(s) based on pictures and posting on social networks (like FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, etc). College is about getting to know people who may have different values, beliefs, and experiences. Work with your student so they don’t miss out on the opportunity to meet new and interesting people.