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Roommate Relations

Residence Life spends the month of July pairing up roommates and reviewing housing assignments. Roommate notifications will be sent out Aug. 1 and can be viewed online in the myHousing tab of Self-Service Banner. Many parents worry that their child will be paired with a bad roommate. Everyone has heard horror stories about weird and mean roommates and how it can affect a student’s studies. Having a roommate is an important learning experience that teaches students how to deal with conflict and how to be considerate of others. It also teaches them about a person who might be quite different from them.

As a parent of a college student, it will be important that you support your child during this transition in their life. Encourage your child to spend some time contacting their future roommate prior to their arrival at ONU. If at all possible, phone calls or video chats are great ways for people to meet. A conversation is the best way to get to know a new roommate. Students should decide if they are bringing items for the room to share like a refrigerator or a television. They might also want to talk about common decorating themes, personal habits and any ideas they have for the upcoming year.

There are a lot of “what ifs” that swirl through a person’s mind when it comes to roommates. The roommate relationship can make life at college incredibly memorable but not always for the right reasons. Dealing with a roommate conflict can be awkward and uncomfortable, but, when done correctly, it can be a great way to learn conflict-resolution skills. Here are four tips to help your student adjust to having a roommate.

  1. Do not let problems pile up. Address issues as they happen. It is easier to talk about small issues when there are only one or two, but if you let issues build up overtime, your roommate will feel attacked as you read a list of everything they have done wrong.   
  2. Give each other space. Sometimes conflicts arise because people spend too much time together. Make other friends, don’t touch each other’s things, and spend some study time in the library.
  3. Apologize and forgive. Too often, conflict is created because someone is too proud or stubborn to say that they are sorry or that they forgive someone. Whether or not you intended to do so, the fact is you might have hurt someone’s feelings. Apologize and move on.
  4. Set rules and boundaries, but be open to compromise. It is important to have rules and boundaries, but remember that life is not always perfect and sometimes you will need to adapt to situations.

Following these steps won’t eliminate roommate conflicts, but it will help reduce them. Your job as a parent is to help your child adjust to life as an adult, and sometimes that will mean allowing them to struggle and figure out how to deal with things. With the right support and encouragement, your child will excel at relating to other people and will learn a great deal about themselves.