Roommates and Residential Life
For many students entering college, this may be their first time away from home for an extended period of time. While dorm living can be an enriching and wonderful part of the college experience, it can also be a source of great stress and discomfort if the roommates are not a good match. Granted, the fit does not have to be perfect. Prior to starting summer B, my daughter had searched for a fall roommate through Facebook. She did not want to live an entire year with a friend, preferring to meet new people; all part of the college experience. She thought she had found a good match but upon meeting in person, it turned out they had different ideas as to what they were looking for in a roommate. This was a week before picking her dorm room. Fortunately, a friend introduced her virtually to another girl who had not yet found a roommate and they decided to live together. While very different, they got along well and learned to co-exist in a small living space. They are still friends three years later.
Teach your student before leaving home what it means to be a good roommate. Students can often find roommates through various roommate finder pages (ie: Facebook, roomsurf.com). Of course, matching with a roommate in advance doesn’t mean that all will go perfectly. They learn to respect others and share in a way they have never had to before.
Should problems arise, whether they are as simple as someone constantly leaving dishes in the sink or more complicated like a roommate constantly having overnight guests, the first step should always be to have a calm discussion and look to compromise. If they haven’t already set ground rules for things like when they are going to clean, how they feel about late hours or studying in the room, encourage them to do so. And definitely, tell them not borrow clothes or eat their roommate’s food without asking! Our kids spend so much time texting instead of talking; it is important that they learn how to express themselves clearly to their roommates.
When your student lives in the dorm, the RA is a good resource to go to if the issue cannot first be resolved between the roommates.
Here is a guide to living on campus at UF.
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