How to Survive Roommates

Roommates can be challenging. While movie nights and game days can be fun, the mess that accumulates between those fun nights can create a tense living situation for all involved.

While getting into college usually marks the date for moving out of your parent’s house, the challenges of living with non-family members often does not hit until the first night away from home.

KSU Housing does its best to match students with roommates who have similar situations, often by class year. This does not always end up well.

“I love living away from my parents and the freedom that comes with it,” Junior Early Childhood Education major Kristin Zbikowski said. “My roommates are awesome. Living with your friends is like a slumber party 24/7.”

Positive experiences like this do not come without a cost. Living on campus with roommates, KSU Housing mandates paying rent. But for those who live off campus with no written agreement regarding rent, can pose a problem. Nobody wants to live with someone that does not pay rent.

“I’ve lived with four different sets of roommates now,” said Senior Psychology and English major Alyssa Varhol. “Some have been great and some have been awful, but they’ve taught me a lot about how to get along with people.”

The key to living with roommates is structure. While “everything is everyone’s” is an easy rule to make in the beginning, it does not end well in most situations.

Setting rules, like always asking to borrow someone else’s property and establishing cleaning arrangements, curfews and quiet hours, are necessary for ensuring that friends will remain friends after being roommates.

It is also important to think about repercussions to breaking the rules. While an imaginary slap on the wrist may be enough for some roommates, a punishment of cleaning the kitchen or common room may work better to ensure a happy living space.

KSU Housing circumvents many of these potential problems through a formal agreement sheet completed and signed by each occupant. This sheet serves as a constitution of s orts for roommates based on mutual agreement for ground rules in the room.

A simple trick that can keep everyone in high spirits is to say a simple “hello” to each other. This simple gesture can do a lot to keep everyone on good terms in the long run.

Resident assistants, or RAs, are employed by KSU Housing to KSU residents resolve civil conflicts. RA Staci Cook has had much experience dealing with different roommate complications.

“The key to peace among roommates is timely, patient communication. Roommates who are able to tell each other, ‘It bothers me when…’ and agree on a solution always have a better experience,” Cook said.

Communication is clearly essential in every relationship. Having seen every type of roommate situation, RAs do their best to make each set of roommates have an enjoyable living environment.

“It’s when roommates think they can get over it or are scared of confrontation who have the roommate stories that can be made into horror movies,” Cook added.

Whether students live on campus or off campus, a noise complaint about laughter is always better than a complaint about fighting.

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