Ryan Chartrand

So, how are you and your roommate doing? Yeah, that’s what I thought, “just fine.”

Ah the dorms, such a treasured time.

Of course you are constantly afraid to actually express your true feelings, for fear of backlash. And for fear of hurting her feelings, you keep things to yourself.

I can only write from a female’s perspective and experience, so ‘she’ and ‘her’ will be used a lot.

So, as you must have learned by now, in the dorms, news travels fast. It can be good or bad, frightening or exciting, embarrassing or not.

And the truth is, your roommate is driving you crazy and you can’t (or feel like you can’t) do anything about it. You keep hoping the year will go by quicker and quicker until finally the year comes to a close, and it comes time for you to say “I’m keeping my options open.”

Unfortunately, there can be many problems even early on.

Problem No. 1: You have an early class the next morning and your roommate must stay awake to talk on AIM. She says she’ll turn the light off so you can sleep, but it’s really the sound of the typing that keeps you awake, and the occasional giggle or gasp.

Problem No. 2: You have a midterm or final the next day, but your roommate just finished her last test today, and she has been celebrating since breakfast, which included three shots of vodka and two beers. Your roommate keeps coming over and asking “are you still studying?”

Problem No. 3: You just want a little peace and quiet for your weekend, and a little time away from your roommate. Then she tells you her three best friends from high school are visiting, and “is it OK if they sleep on the floor?”

Of course you agree. Is there another choice? Where else will they stay? So, wanting to give them time to catch up, you stay out late. But by the time you come home, one of the friends isn’t on the floor – she’s on your bed, passed out! After the initial shock you catch on pretty quick. Suddenly you’re the guest cuddling up on the floor.

Problem No. 4: Music has always been a part of your life and you love listening to it. So does your roommate. There is a constant battle for personal play time, and whoever gets to the room first usually wins. When your roommate beats you to the punch, she automatically has a license to play her favorite song over and over, for what seems like hours.

Problem No. 5: The boy situation. The first year of college poses an opportunity for many different relationships. And you understand these can be tricky and sometimes complicated, especially when it comes to “dorm incest.”

This phenomenon is a common occurrence when guys and girls in the same dorm start dating each other. Although it’s convenient and easier than looking “outside” the dorm, it poses several potential problems.

For instance, if you break up, you can’t really avoid them, since they technically live with you, and sometimes they’re on the same floor.

This can be an even greater problem when it’s your roommate that falls prey to the “incest” and you’re caught in the middle. Need I say more?

Actually, I have to say more. I cannot leave you hanging with no advice in sight, so here it is: use clear verbal communication.

Although this may sound like a no-brainer, when emotions, pride, and even boys get involved, there is much room for a complete lack of this. Instead, there is a lot of gossip (if you dare), but no one gets anywhere.

If you haven’t already, always talk with your roommate about anything that bothers you right when it emerges. This will prevent any growing resentments or scandalous rumors you could be tempted to spread, since your feelings will be out in the open in a civil manner.

When a compromise is needed, which is usually the case, always come to complete agreement, and be clear about what you want. Make sure to listen to the other side too.

For example, plug in your headphones every once in a while, so only you can enjoy those sweet melodies you love over and over.

If you are celebrating the end of your midterm or final, keep the party outside and do not let your roommate know about any of your plans, to prevent distraction and jealousy.

If straightforward, civil communication does not work, talk to a resident adviser, or another objective, older party to get another perspective.

In rare cases, some roommates just aren’t meant to be, and a room switch may be the only solution. Know that you have this option, but do everything you can to prevent this last resort. This can be even more of a hassle, as your new roommate may have endured a similar situation.

Liza Manion is a journalism senior and Mustang Daily staff writer.

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