I am starting my second year as a Resident Assistant, which means I live by myself, but it also means that I deal A LOT with roommate conflict. Plus I know all of the ins and outs of living on campus.
I would like to start by saying that living on campus (specifically being an RA) has been extremely rewarding for me. My best friends at Duquesne are the girls that I shared a floor with freshman year. By living on campus you are forced to share a bathroom with up to 30 other people, and while that may seem daunting and maybe a bit disgusting, it also poses a whole new environment to meet people and make friends.
Dorm life in general is really fun. I have many memories of hanging out with my friends, watching movies in the lounge and going to floor programs (Yes, I still had time to do all of that and finish all of my homework). College is one of the only times in your life when you will be around your friends ALL the time. My biggest tip for freshman and anyone living in a dorm is to leave your door open! Leaving your door open lets your neighbors know that you want to meet them and sets a positive tone for the year.
As you can probably guess, living on campus is not all sunshine and roses. Specifically, you now have to share a relatively tiny space with someone that might be a total stranger.
The biggest issue that I have seen between roommates is communication. If you are like me, you probably don’t seek conflict. I never wanted make my roommate mad, so when she did something that bugged me I wouldn’t say anything. Well those little tiny issues build and build and are not going to go away unless you say something.
Another tip for living with a roommate is to TELL THEM IF SOMETHING IS IRRITATING YOU (within reason of course). We aren’t mind readers and roommates aren’t going to change their behaviors unless you bring it to their attention.
When students come to me with a conflict, the first thing I ask as an RA is “Did you talking to your roommate about it?” Luckily, a lot of problems can be solved with simple communication, but there are some issues that are a bit more complex. If you are really struggling with living with a roommate and talking didn’t fix anything then I would suggest you go to your RA. We have been trained on exactly how to handle these situations and are more than willing to help.
Most importantly, I want you all to know that living on campus in a Living Learning Center is a unique experience that you will remember for a very long time. Hopefully, like me, your experience will be filled with good memories and even better friends.