How To: Live With A Roommate

Roommates

(Photo by Mount Saint Mary College)

by Laura Wetherbee

NEWBURGH—Students living on the Mount Saint Mary College (MSMC) campus said that learning to live with a roommate could be difficult.

Many students feel people who are not used to sharing a room could find it hard to compromise.

Freshman Taylor Seery experienced some issues with her roommate but her Residential Director was able to mediate the situation.

Seery said dealing with new personalities could be a challenge, but sitting down and talking “face-to-face” about issues could solve certain problems.

“We’re meeting up to eat right now,” said Seery as she waited for her roommate to eat at The View.

Seery said she took a questionnaire about her music interests and other hobbies that MSMC used to match her with a suitable roommate.

Resident Director of Sakac Hall Jennifer Garton explained when freshmen decide to commit to MSMC, they fill out a housing questionnaire and the Residential Life staff sits down and pairs up these individuals by hand based on their compatibility.

“When freshmen move into the residence halls in August I have them sit down with the roommates and suitemates and fill out a ‘Roommate Contract,’” said Garton.

The MSMC student handbook has explained the college encourages roommates to work through their issues with the assistance of Residential Life before requesting room changes.

Garton said when issues arise, the resident who is having the issues will talk with Residential Life and typically the roommates confront each other and discuss the issues.

If that does not work then the RA will do a roommate mediation where they will bring up the roommate contract and re-work it if necessary, said Garton.

Residential Life will consider a room change after all appropriate means have been explored, however, there is a room freeze during the first two weeks of each semester where room changes are not permitted. This is outlined in the student handbook.

The college also reserves the right to reassign or consolidate residents when vacancies exist.

Freshmen Leighann Perina remains quiet at night in consideration to her roommates sleep schedule.

Perina said getting used to another person’s sleep schedule is the hardest part since “she plays sports and goes to bed early, I don’t.”

Students cannot decide on their own if they would like a room switch. The handbook has explained the Residential Life office must give written permission for any room changes.

Garton said roommate switches only occur when Residential Life has done everything they can and no issues are being resolved, however, she likes to see the residents work things out because they are not always going to get along with everyone and it is important to learn that skill and she considers it a life lesson.

In a U.S. News article by Briana Boyington, “How to Deal With a Bad College Roommate,” experts recommend talking it out with your roommate and that “face-to-face” sit downs could help resolve any issues that have arisen.

Boyington wrote that communicating in person is key. Technology is so advanced today that students find it very convenient to text or tweet their roommate, however this would only create more tensions.

“Divulging your feelings online can often cause more problems,” said Boyington. “You should know your roles and responsibilities as a roommate.”

Students said that being mindful and respectful of each other’s belongings is the best advice to give roommates that dorm together.