Don't Let Bad Roommates Ruin Your College Experience

A tiny dorm room isn’t ideal for most college freshmen, but sharing a room is something most freshmen will have to get used to. Students should be aware that roommates can affect your life more than expected. Bruce Sacerdote, Professor of Economics at Dartmouth, wrote in a study, “Roommate effects are important influences in freshman year GPA and in decisions to join social organizations.”

The scenarios of how roommates can affect your freshman year are endless. For example, before the school year begins, roommates talk about joining different organizations which can include going Greek. Another example is studying for an exam while every other roommate may suggest going to a party. While being away from home, first year students may have the desire to be social, instead of studying. College is all about learning how to be an independent adult and accountable for your actions, so if there starts to be a sign of lower grades and there is a direct correlation with your roommates, then something must be done to fix the situation.

Here are tips on how to fix roommate problems:

1. Speak up to your roommate, tell them you have priorities and that you need to find a way to accommodate each other in such a small space.

2. Tell the residential adviser (RA) about the problems. They are there to help manage and deal with problems that occur in the dorms.

3. A room change can help with roommate problems that are beyond repair. A majority of universities allow freshmen to switch to a different room with vacant spots if they cannot comfortably live with their current roommate.

4. Talk about expectations for the year and get to know each other. Understanding a person’s background helps living arrangements. Each person should establish their priorities and what is important for them during the school year.

5. Establish sleeping rules. Moving around quietly or having the lamp light in a different direction can safeguard certain roommate’s sleep schedules.

When issues arise, communication is the best way to patch up a situation. Don’t blame each other for misunderstandings just do your best to nurture a positive relationship.

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