Surviving the dorms – CP style
As a freshman everyone has a roommate. This person may be someone you love and have known your whole life or a psychotic stranger. Either way, both of you have to make the best of living together.
According to some Sewall resident assistants, frequent problems that come up with incoming freshman are things like not giving each other enough personal space, not being considerate of noise and light in the room, and being sensitive to sharing each other’s things.
Freshman sociology major Erica Justman said she and her roommate were not compatible.
“I struggled to live happily with my roommate my first semester. She would wear my clothes without asking and then leave them lying on the floor, she would brush her teeth and shave her legs in the room using my razor, she would take money from my wallet and not return it, and she ate my food. It also really bothered me when she did drugs in the room,” Justman said.
Justman wanted to find a way to make living together easier without causing too much drama.
“I felt used, and that she was taking advantage of the fact that I didn’t stand up for myself,” Justman said.
To make living with her roommate easier, Justman said she vented to her friends about the issue, stayed out as much as possible and labeled her food. Around Thanksgiving break Justman moved out and into a new room with a different roommate.
“If my new roommate did any of those things it wouldn’t make me as angry. It’s just that when you don’t like someone, everything about them bothers you,” Justman said.
To start off on good grounds, successful roommates Jennifer Wyman, a pre-journalism major, and English major Madeleine Tengler said they tried to hang out outside of the room and were considerate of each other’s space and habits.
“The best thing to do with a new roommate is to try and have fun. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and relax. My roommate and I still respect each other, I’ll ask her if it’s OK to open the window before I do it,” said Wyman.
An overall consensus among students who struggled with their roommates was to stay in communication.
Even when students were compatible personality-wise, the issue of noise often came up.
“My roommate was obsessed with sports,” said Jeremie Hakian, a freshman philosophy major.
Hakian said his roommate was always watching sports on TV while he talked about sports on the phone and made bets on the internet with his friends.
“It was just too much. It was always so noisy in my room and I couldn’t get any studying done.”
Hakian, who also moved out after a semester, said if he could do it again he would have communicated better with his roommate. He would have laid out some ground rules as they moved in together, and would have tried to be as friendly and open as possible to make the set up work, he said.
Freshman wishing to move can contact the Housing Department to switch at the end of a semester.