Roommates or Rivals?

The end of the semester can be an enjoyable but also stressful time. Midterms are approaching and soon enough students will be facing finals, end-of-the-year move out and summer vacation. When stress is in the air, things that may have started as little quirks can become a little more unbearable for roommates. Here are some tips to share with your student about how to deal with stressful situations during the final stretch of the semester:

Refresh the roommate agreement.

As a part of living in our residence halls, students complete a roommate agreement in the beginning of fall semester. Now presents a great opportunity to revisit this agreement and talk about how it’s working and to communicate about any issues that may have come up since the beginning of the school year.

Be mindful of each other.

With so much to get done, students can forget that they are living with other students dealing with similar stresses and deadlines. Remembering that each student is dealing with stress can help create a more compassionate environment. Encourage your student to be empathetic about what his or her roommate may be experiencing.

Support each other and ask for help.

During such busy times of the year, students may let certain household tasks take a backseat to other ones. Laundry, doing the dishes and cleaning up after oneself can seem less important than gaining an extra 15 minutes of sleep. Scheduling time to get these tasks done will create a less stressful place to relax and get work done. If your student is having a tough time handling these everyday tasks, encourage him or her to ask a roommate for support. Doing dishes is always easier (and more fun) with two people!

Make plans for next year.

After going through the first year of school, students have had a chance to meet a lot of new people. While getting ready for the upcoming year and thinking about where to live next year, students will want to choose a roommate that will be a good match.

Communication is the best way to determine a good roommate. Students should talk about study habits, sleeping patterns, feelings about visitors (especially overnight guests) and general expectations to ensure a pleasant experience living together. Having a good conversation about these topics can help your student make the right choice and begin planning for the future. Sometimes best friends don’t make the best roommates if values, habits and feelings do not align. Encourage your student to be open-minded and to consider possible roommates outside of his or her friend zone.