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Student Life

10 Midsemester Insights on Being a Good Roommate

By Patrick Bradley

Students lounge in their residence hall room.

Music or no music at night. Whose turn to fill the shared mini-fridge. Which Ryan Gosling posters to hang. Visitors.

These are just a few issues college roommates run into with each other, as college represents the first time many students have to live in close quarters with someone other than family. As the stress of midterms spills across campus, here are some insights from six AU students on how to keep things peaceful with bunkmates both on and off campus.

Don’t Even
“Find out what makes your roommate irritated, and consciously don’t do those things. . . . Don’t be passive aggressive. In the end, it’s better to be upfront and nip the problem in the bud beforehand, instead of letting it manifest itself as a blind rage at one in the morning,” said Nate Sundermeier, a junior in communication studies.

According to Paragraph 9, Subsection B…
“We had very thorough rules. . . . When we did the roommate agreements, we really emphasized communication. It’s easy to say, ‘We’re going to communicate,’ but we really made sure to communicate if something was wrong, even if it was difficult or emotions flared up,” said Naomi Waltengus, a junior cinema studies major.

Help is Nearby
“Look for help when you need it. . . . Our RA was really able to push us to voice our concerns and frustrations. Then it was just like, ‘Oh, thanks for telling me. I didn’t know that was bothering you.’ It was really easy to solve the problem after that,” said Hayat Abu-Ghazaleh, a junior psychology major.

You Don’t Have to Be a Psychic, But…
“Knowing my personal habits of listening to music and watching TV a lot, if my roommate is there, I understand that people aren’t overtly going to say everything that bothers them. So, when my roommate comes into the room, I put my headphones in without her having to say, ‘Hey, could you turn your music down?’ or ‘Hey, could you not watch America’s Next Top Model at 4 a.m.?’” said Tatiana Laing, a junior School of Public Affairs student.

The Big R
“Respect each other. You don’t have to spend every waking moment with your roommates. Respect their space. Don’t touch things that aren’t yours, unless you have permission. Run things by your roommates first,” said freshman Emily Bank.

Salmon-Colored Shorts
“Dress well. Live well. Do well,” Sundermeier declared.

Great Responsibility
“Off-campus is a little bit harder because you probably have more responsibilities. You probably work and don’t have a lot of time for things. It goes back to communication. My roommates and I have a monthly dinner for us to regroup, talk about the apartment, things we like, don’t like, and can improve on,” said Chanel Green, a senior public health major.

Triple Living = Three’s Company
“By having two roommates, it emphasizes differences, and that’s not necessarily negative, because it is good to acknowledge that there is difference. It made me realize that I might not have chosen to interact with my roommates if I hadn’t been placed with them,” said Waltengus, who lived in an Anderson triple in 2012-2013.

Off Campus, Money Talks
“It’s important that you’re on the same page about when you pay the rent. Financial stuff is really difficult to talk about. Instead of saying, ‘Hey, you haven’t paid yet,’ say, ‘Hey, pay week is coming up. Let’s make sure we get it in on time this month.’ That kind of thing,” Sundermeier said.

Finally, Acceptance
“A lot of people are just used to having their rooms, bathrooms, and stuff. Part of it is just accepting the fact that you’ll have to share space as a college student and, if you’re going to stay in a big city, for a lot longer than just your undergraduate career,” Laing said.