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Friday December 15th 2017

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A match made in…where?

By Claire DeRoin–
Debates over the lights being left on or off. Fights over leaving the door unlocked. Arguments over unwanted visitors. Shouting matches about clothes being borrowed. Annoyance over sex on the shared furniture. Do any of these sound familiar? If so, you may be living with a bad roommate.

It seems that everyone around campus has at least one bad roommate story, whether it is something minor like a roommate leaving a television on all night, or something major, like a roommate slamming doors and leaving Post-It notes everywhere to show unhappiness.

Are the offending parties always out to make life miserable for their roommate? No, according to Steph Ford, a Resident Assistant from Brooklyn, Iowa.

“A lot of our job is rationalizing what might be unclear to someone who is emotionally distraught or unaware they have done anything wrong.”

Not all living situations on campus go astray, however. Most students live happily with their roommate and choose to continue to live with the same person for the next year. How does a student keep on the right road with their roommate?

Ford, an Elementary Education major, was more than happy to offer up some advice to start the year off on a good note. She believes communication between roommates is the key to making a living situation work.

“The biggest advice for a struggling roommate I can give is to talk it out, be it a casual conversation or an R.A. mediation.”

Often, a roomie contract, or a written agreement about rules and guidelines for the dorm, can be a big help. Ford says of roommate contracts: “I believe they are what keeps a set of roomies together. I am recommending them for all of my girls this year.”

For every roommate horror story, there are dozens of good roommate stories. If you feel like you and your roommate are not getting along as well as you could, there are numerous places on campus that can help to resolve conflicts within a dorm room if talking things over with an R.A. or creating a roommate contract didn’t help.

Residence Life, located in the lower level of the Olsen Student Center, specializes in student housing.  In addition, Brenda Crawford, Morningside’s student counselor, is available to help students talk through issues. Her office is located in Student Services in Lewis Hall.

No matter what your roommate issue, someone is available to help if you are willing to ask.