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How to Face a Displeasing Roommate

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One of the worst nightmares for any college student is situated right there in the dorm room: the roommate. Who one lives with has a lot to do with one’s happiness, but, then again, that’s a real no-brainer. No one wants to live with someone that s/he doesn’t like, but students—especially those just starting at college—don’t always have the choice or the luxury to decide the person with whom they will room.

How about going solo? Unfortunately, 90% of students will have to face having a roommate at least part of their time at college. This isn’t so bad, as sharing a room with another is less expensive than having a room all to oneself. Still, many people wouldn’t mind paying that extra money for their own private space, as that is so important in the lives of many, especially those who date a lot or want to spend time with a significant other. With a roommate, that’s not [always] possible. Having a room of one’s own, then, has its advantages and its disadvantages.

Of course, so does having a roommate. First, each student will have someone to talk to, even form a friendship. This setup not only offers reduced expenses and condensed space; it also provides new students with a means of socializing right off, which is one of the prime reasons for going to college—to learn valuable social skills. Then there is the case for sharing valuable resources, such as a personal computer in a room without an integrated unit. If a new student cannot afford one yet, s/he might be able to borrow [on occasion] her/his roommates (with the owner’s permission, of course). Another example would be, say, shampoo or other hygiene essentials that one might not have had the chance to purchase as of yet. Such items can be used to tide one over in sticky situations, and this can, and does, work both ways.

But what if one just simply doesn’t like one’s roommate? No consolations or benefits will make such a rooming arrangement worth while. Quite often, though, students are able to inquire about alternative housing (i.e. another room). Many times, other openings are available. That alternative might be better or worse, so changing might not always be the best option. In most cases, though, students who do not get along with their roommates have no choice but to stick it out through a minimum period of one semester before changing. Sometimes that period is an entire school year. Dealing with a known displeasure is far better than shooting for an unknown possibly worse source of displeasure. That would be like jumping out of a sizzling frying pan straight into the fire. Not really a promising or agreeable prospect, is it?

In the end, it all depends on the two particular people involved, what their relationship is like, and what type of risks are involved (i.e. what is liable to happen if the two students maintain an unhealthily stressful interaction while in close proximity). Could it go as far as murder (literally or figuratively)?

This situation is indeed the ultimate in social-teaching skills. How one interacts with another with whom one lives tests, reveals and develops ones character. Sometimes, living with someone whom one hates just might be worth it after all.

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