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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Renegade roommates

 
 

Jim Kratus’ first roommate didn’t bathe regularly. He just sprayed himself with Febreze and he was good to go. The clothes he wore to class were the clothes in he slept in. Kratus even tried hinting at his roommates.
Kratus, a sophomore geography major, is one of many college students who can attest to living with difficult roommates.
“He might have showered once or twice the whole semester. I have tried to erase that semester from my mind,” Kratus said. “My second roommate didn’t want to be here. He always wore Texas Tech clothing.”
Tristina Oppliger, a Briggs Hall resident advisor, said roommate dissidence stems from a bigger problem.
“Usually when little things start to bother roommates it’s because there is underlying tension. Also, at times, there are cultural differences between roommates or they invade each other’s space,” Oppliger said.
As a first-year resident adviser, Oppliger advises roommates to be straightforward and honest with each other about problems that arise. She realizes living with a person of a different background or lifestyle can be difficult.
Kratus agrees compromising is the key to improving the relationship.”The best way is just to talk to them about the issue,” Kratus said. “Most of the time, they will at least try to compromise.”
For the most part, Annie Meredith, a sophomore English major, gets along with her roommate. However, despite how well roommates may get along there are still small quirks that may annoy the other person.
“I think nearly everyone has come across the roommate who plays the same CD over and over, even when she isn’t in the room,” Meredith said. “Also, it really isn’t fair to your roommate to have to watch flirting and PDA. If your boyfriend or girlfriend is in the room more than five nights a week, that is far too many nights.”
Meredith said, however, she could be worse off.
“I’ve heard some pretty awful roommate stories. A girl was telling me about her roommate who yelled obscenities at her,” she said. “The roommate even threatened to steal or damage her belongings.”
For worst case scenarios, Oppliger said, incompatible roommates can seek counseling at the Student Conflict Resolution Services. The Department of Residence Life encourages roommates to settle their differences with the assistance of the residence hall staff. Additionally, roommates can complete a “Roommate Agreement” as a means of compromise.
At the beginning of the year the roommates can sit down and decide certain issues such as when they study or go to bed, Oppliger said.When roommates cannot resolve their differences, one or both of them can be relocated. For that to happen, residents need to have tried solving the conflict themselves or with the assistance of the residence hall staff.
Audrey Cooper, a junior finance major and resident advisor, cites lifestyle differences as being the reason for her past roommate conflicts.”My roommate would turn on the TV while I was sleeping and not go to bed until 4:00 in the morning. I would wake up at 8:00 and she’d be asleep so I couldn’t watch TV,” Cooper said.
Cooper said he avoided his roommate because if they talked about anything, it would escalate into an argument.
In times of discord with her roommate, Meredith spends as much time as possible outside the room. As a result of her previous roommate experiences, she reasons that to get past any incompatibilities, both roommates must have a keen understanding of the meaning of patience and understanding.
“Communication is the key to get past any roommate troubles. However, there are some cases where talking doesn’t work, and you have to look elsewhere for aid,” she said. “I suggest trying to talk out any difficulties calmly and rationally, and if it works to no avail, then seek assistance with your RA.”
Oppliger agrees.
“The only way to get things solved is to talk about them, but some people don’t like that,” Oppliger said. “They just think their problems are going to go away. The only way it’s going to get better is to sit down and be honest,.”
Katy Sullivan, a freshman education major, has seen the effects of communication and respect between roommates firsthand.
“There are girls who live next to me who are total opposites,” Sullivan said. “One is a gothic girl who likes rock music and her roommate is an African American who likes hip hop. They get along so well in spite of their differences.”
Before coming to college, Oppliger talked with her older sister about college life and roommate expectations. Oppliger has adopted her sister’s philosophy of being independent and not expecting anything from a roommate.
“Some people come to college expecting to meet their best friend, but sometimes they end up hating their roommate,” she said. “Don’t expect anything from your roommate, and you’ll appreciate it more when your roommate does something good.”
Sullivan believes avoiding confrontation won’t help matters in any way. Finding a way to get along with the other person and setting boundaries can go a long way.
“You have to be able to talk to someone and find a common ground,” Sullivan said. “People can get along no matter how different they are because it’s just about communication and respect.”

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