As a parent with a student who decides to enhance their college experience by living on campus, you likely have a lot of questions and concerns: “What items are provided in the rooms?” “What dining options do they have?” “What on-campus community is the right fit for my student?” While the answers to all of these questions will affect your student’s college experience, there is another important factor that can also have a big impact. “Who will my student’s roommate be?”
While it’s true that in some cases, your student may choose to room with friends, there are a lot of students who choose to be paired with a roommate that they do not meet prior to move-in. This can be a stressful and confusing situation for some students who do not know what to expect, and have a harder time building a relationship with their new roommate.
Fortunately, the staff of Resident Assistants living throughout the residential communities are well trained and fully equipped to help your student navigate any roommate disagreements. These student staff members will help your student and their roommates put together a roommate contract. This process facilitates discussion, and helps each roommate voice their needs, expectations, and concerns.
During the weeks before your student moves in, consider going over some of the more common misunderstandings that occur between roommates. This will pave the way for a harmonious living experience, and an even better experience at KSU!
When two or more people move into the same space, odds are that their performance will differ when it comes to the most comfortable temperature to set the thermostat. Encourage your student to have a discussion with their roommates, and come up with a comfortable temperature everyone can agree to (one for the air conditioning during the warmer months, and one for the heat during the chilly winter months).
Many students are excited to meet their roommate and find that they have a lot in common. The roommate relationship can change, however, if one roommate enjoys more social activity than the other. Take some time to discuss this possibility with your student before they move in. If your student enjoys finding a good balance between their studies and spending time with friends, they may have a roommate who prefers to focus more on quiet study. Encourage your student to voice any concerns they may have in this area when they work with their Resident Assistant on the roommate contract.
Issues of cleanliness can sometimes lead to discord among roommates. One person’s definition of ‘clean’ may not match up with that of their roommate. Some students have grown up enjoying the benefit of having their own bedroom and bathroom, while others may have the experience of sharing a bedroom and bathroom with one or more siblings. Encourage your student to get to know a little bit about their roommate’s background. It can really help them to anticipate what their roommate really means when they say ‘clean’.
Does your student like to listen to loud music? Do they prefer things to be quiet and peaceful while they study? In some cases, their roommate will share their tolerance for noise, but in cases where they disagree, encourage your student to have an open and friendly discussion with their roommate.
A student who enjoys music may opt to wear headphones in consideration of their more quiet-loving roommate. A student who enjoys peaceful study may not mind studying in a lounge in their residence hall, or enjoying the solitude of the library.
When it comes to an excellent on-campus experience, communication is key! Open, honest, and considerate dialogue between roommates will help foster a fun, comfortable, and safe living space for everyone, and can result in some wonderful life-long friendships.The more each individual focuses on the things they have in common with their roommate, the happier everyone will be. The Department of Residence Life wishes each and every student who calls the Residence Halls of KSU “home” a very successful semester!