Learning To Live With Others…
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, however, the students do need to be able to comfortably and safely co-exist in their shared living space.
Teach your student before leaving home what it means to be a good roommate. Oftentimes kids make selfish decisions that they are not even aware of. My daughter was so fortunate to have found a really good fit (through the school Facebook page roommate finder) during her freshman year and has continued living with the same girl all through school. She heard many stories from friends about their roommates and how they didn’t get along. Tell your students to have discussions early when a problem arises. Discuss with one another the rules of their room such as what do to if one of you wishes to have a guest in the room, when are we going to clean and how will each of you feel with lights on, etc. during study times and different class schedules. And definitely, do not borrow clothes or eat their food without asking! Because our kids spend so much time texting instead of talking, it is very 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 UM.