Roommates and the College Experience

Ahh, college; the time to be free. The time to learn who you are. The time to get an education. And also the time to get into nasty arguments with your roommates about those dishes that are still in the sink.Your roommates are undoubtedly going to do things that annoy you. And yes, you are occasionally going to have to clean up after them. But a part of maturing during your college years is learning how to handle your own chores without mom and dad: cleaning, doing your own laundry (gasp!), possibly mowing a yard and buying your own food to name a few. You’re even expected to take care of your own problems! This is what is referred to as the “college experience.”I’ve heard many stories about roommate experiences (and lived through a few myself) and can come to a reasonable conclusion: make an effort to be amiable to your cohabiter(s). Notice I didn’t say that you have to be your roommate’s best friend. Being amiable means saying ‘hi,’ when you walk in or doing that extra dish in the sink that isn’t yours. It’s a bonus if you get along with him or her so much that you choose to hang out in your free time, but according to a study done at Texas A&M University, the majority of students don’t consider their roommate to be one of their best friends.When moving into a new living arrangement, TAMU suggests signing an agreement stating what will and will not be tolerated in the dorm/apartment/house. But let’s face it: how many of us actually sit down with our roommates and discuss things that are bothering us? Don’t we usually just let things fester until we get so fed up that we have a screaming match? Isn’t it easier to just ignore the person, not talk for months on end and stay livid about their habits?This is where it is important to have effective confrontation skills. Many of us tend to ignore problems and heck, some of us may still have mom and dad to fight our battles for us, but it’s time to grow up. As a college student, you are the leaders of tomorrow. Why not start your leadership by communicating with your roommates?Of course, not all of us are living with members of the same sex. Maybe you’re living with a boyfriend or girlfriend. In fact, the majority of the population of the United States will cohabit with someone of the opposite sex before they’re married. This can cause its own special set of problems. The relationship can become strained when one person feels they are doing all the chores and housework. Not only will the living situation be in jeopardy, but the relationship will be as well.Just remember to be nice to those with whom you are so lucky to share your college experience with. And remember: you are your roommate’s roommate.

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