Dorm life dilemmas

Being back to school means it’s time to study hard and play harder while looking and feeling our best. As a college student, I am faced with issues that are completely unrelated to my academics.

Whether it’s how to budget my expenses, allocate funds, deal with time management issues, deciding on what to wear to class or to an evening adventure, suffering through roommate conflicts or how to choose which scene for what night, there’s always something going on. As a student, there are many opportunities to fail at practically everything we choose to do. I’m here to help save you from making the same mistake that so many on-campus students make every school year.

Take the roommate situation… people walk into their new residence, their new home for the year, with an open mind and ready to start the new semester. No one thinks that they’re going to have a problem with their roommate until it’s already happening. Whether it’s because someone is too messy, too clean, too loud, too quiet, too unmotivated, too boring, too outgoing, too inconsiderate or too different, it’s not always his or her fault that something with the roommate relationship goes wrong.

When people are thrown into a situation where they’re living together in an extremely tight space (such as a dorm), it can become stressful. Having a roommate whose girlfriend or boyfriend continues to sleepover can be incredibly irritating and usually just adds to the problems. Here are some simple guidelines to survive the typical dorm room scenarios.

1) Give each other space. Everyone needs his or her alone time and the first few weeks of school are hectic enough. You are going to have to survive the adjustment period and acclimate yourself to campus life.

2) Sharing isn’t for everyone. Whether it’s food, clothes or personal belongings, some people aren’t the best sharers. My suggestion is to find out within the first couple of days if your roommate’s willing to borrow or lend their possessions.

3) Disagreements happen. Even if you and your roommate get along well, you might still have a disagreement. Talk about it right away. Don’t let it fester within until you boil with rage and explode. That’s the quick route to a roommate change. The sooner you confront the problem the better off you are.

4) Be respectful of other people’s study habits. Some people study until the sun comes up, some wake up at the crack of dawn to brush up on their information, some are loud studiers and some can’t even tolerate a pin dropping during their study time. Try to be reasonable regarding the other person’s needs.

5) Bookworm vs. The Party Animal. If you’re the one who comes back to your dorm at 3 or 4 a.m., understand that your roommate might be asleep and be considerate of that. Don’t turn on lights or bump into things making a ruckus. This will anger your roommate and perhaps cause tension. Ease it up by just coming back to the dorm room quietly and preferably without a crowd of people.

Just remember to enter this new situation with an open mind and an open heart and know that your roommate is in the same exact position as you are.

Justine Rosen is a sophomore majoring in journalism. She may be contacted at