How do I deal with a bad roommate situation in my first year of college?

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Answered by: Brittany, An Expert in the Life On Campus Category
The first year of college can be both scary and exhilarating. While adjusting to living away from home and being apart from the friends you grew up with, figuring out how to deal with a bad roommate situation can be stressful. Unfortunately, many people simply do not get along with their roommate or do not enjoy sharing a room with a person who is likely a stranger. Unless there is an extreme circumstance, it is usually difficult to get your roommate situation changed, so you should try to make the best of the situation.

Within the first few weeks of moving into your dorm, make a contract with your new roommate. Though it might be awkward to discuss certain things like overnight guests, it is best to do so before an uncomfortable situation occurs. Discuss the matter of quiet time in the dorm room, when it is okay to have the television or music on, and if it is okay to have overnight guests stay in the dorm. You should also talk about each others standards of cleanliness for the room; if you roommate is naturally messy, their definition of "clean" is likely much different from your own. After discussing any possible conflicts, type up your contract and have each roommate sign it. This way, if someone breaks one of the contract rules, the other roommate can refer to the contract without starting a disagreement.

If you've made a contract and still can't deal with your bad roommate situation, consider doing your studying outside of the dorm if it seems that your roommate is always in the room. Most college dorm buildings have a common area that is a great place to do homework or meet new people who live in your dorm. If the main problem with your roommate is their lack of cleanliness in the room, consider talking to them about the issue. Even though you have hopefully already made a contract at the beginning of the semester, your roommate may not even realize that their messiness is bothering you. One of the worst things you can do is to be passive-aggressive about the situation. If your roommate is constantly annoying you, or doing something that you don't agree with, not saying anything and ignoring the situation will only make matters worse. One day, the roommate may commit one tiny faux-pas, and it will set you off, likely leading to a huge fight.

The first year of college will have many ups and downs, and an unfortunate roommate situation can ruin your experience if you don't take action. If you and your roommate simply cannot live in the same room together, ask for a meeting with the Resident Advisor on your floor. The Resident Advisor's job is to monitor roommate situations and help solve conflicts. If your roommate differences are irreconcilable, ask the housing department about switching roommates. Most departments have a policy regarding this, and usually if you can find someone to directly switch with you, the situation can be resolved.

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