College and University Blog

Dreading Your Roommate? Be the Example

For many of us who have experienced the misery of an undesirable roommate, we can can sympathize with the dread a student may have as he enters into college and is paired with this person that will now share an 8X8 square foot room for the next year. The student’s and the roommate’s private life becomes intertwined, sharing in habits that might be a little less than appealing.

One thing to understand when faced with the uncertainty of who your roommate will be is that there are so many different types of people in the world from so many different backgrounds and experiences. Everyone comes from a respective elemental environment which dictates differences. The habits, beliefs, and convictions of people are vastly different on several levels; we need not ever expect that one person will line up to our measurements or standards of fine living. In fact, we may be perceived to be the one with the misguided ideas.

Setting the Bar: Being the Example

So with that being said here are some things to consider of your mindset and expectations before stepping into that dorm room. You may love your roommate, but chances are they might be a nightmare to deal with, conflicting with you on every level. This is an excellent opportunity to practice something called tolerance and humility, selflessness. To have the ability to set expectations of yourself and not of your roommate can help you personally deal with problems you might be faced with.

For example: You might prefer to keep things neat and somewhat orderly. Your roommate may be slovenly. If you have in your mind that your relationship with your roommate is more important than how messy your room is, your attitude can go far with your roommate. Persistent nagging or fighting only causes more of an impass, and the issue at hand has NO chance of being resolved due to the potential callousness that can occur as a result.

Going back to the concepts of tolerance and humility, consider the definitions of both these words:

Humility: A modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.

This does not mean to allow yourself to become a doormat that your roommate can walk on. It is the ability to willfully serve the needs of others before your own as an act of love or friendship. Most often, humility can disarm any conflict. Keep in mind this is challenging and often one-sided, and results might not come overnight. However, the foundation of respect is being built. It is a process.

Tolerance: The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular, the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with; the capacity to endure continued subjection to something such as environmental circumstance.

I am not suggesting that by tolerating one’s behavior or views that you do not agree with, you have to make them become your own; however, what I am suggesting is that you show respect and courtesy towards your roommate regardless of beliefs they may have or habits and behaviors they may have that you disagree with. That display of respect and courtesy will sow good seeds of mutual understanding between the two of you when conflict arises.

NOTE: If your roommate becomes a threat to your person or the conflicts rise to a level where it is affecting your studies and academic health, you can petition the school for a new roommate. There are options available to you if problems go beyond reconciliation.

A Little Love Goes a Long Way

In a world where brotherhood and self-less acts have become less and less, taking up the challenge to serve the needs of others before your own is a priceless attribute. It can earn you an upstanding reputation that will resonate fast among the student body. A little love goes a long way, but it is not easy when it is unrequited. Be prepared for any type of person. Set the standards for yourself and expect less of others, and before long, you will see good results!