Wise Fools: Roommate Remorse

Hello prospective students, confused current students, and lost surfers of the web. Welcome to Wise Fools, where I address the ins and outs of being a sophomore at Brown University. My name is Justin Ferenzi, and I’m here to help shine some light on the intricacies of a student’s second year. 

Perhaps the best part about entering the housing lottery for the first time is finally getting the chance to live with who you want. You rally your friends and acquaintances, knock on doors to check out what the sophomore dorms look like, and frantically assign yourselves rooms on lottery day. Choosing a roommate is an important process. I’m not going to talk about that today, however (although feel free to check out my posts about roommate selection and the housing lottery in general here and here). 

No, today I’m going to talk about a rather uncomfortable subject. When happens when you do the research and take the advice, but you still wind up with roommate trouble? You can’t blame ResLife this time around… so now what?

I have personally been lucky enough to live with one of my best friends, and while there have certainly been moments of disagreement or tension, I wouldn’t change it for the world. However, I do have a decent number of friends who find that living with someone can drastically change the dynamic.

Sometimes, the best route is open and frank conversation. Let the other person know what’s bothering you, and suggest a compromise to solve the issue. Hopefully your roommate will respect you enough to meet you halfway. I can’t stress enough how important early intervention is. Nip it in the bud before it grows out of control; it’s never healthy to harbor resentments.

Sometimes a more structured intervention is necessary, especially living in a suite. Sitting down and letting everyone voice their feelings in a constructive way can be an efficacious way to solve problems. Just be careful not to let that turn into ganging up on one person!

If that fails, you can turn to your CA. CA’s are definitely not as involved in student life in the same way that RPL’s were freshman year, but they still receive training for intervening in things like this.

And, sometimes, the differences just turn out to be irreconcilable. I have two friends who just did not get along as roommates, and were constantly at each other’s throats. One decided to become an RPL and move out, and now they are back to being close friends. Occasionally, you have to bite the bullet and do what’s best for your friendship.

As long as you make sure you and your potential roommate are compatible, you hopefully won’t have to take such drastic measures. But somethings just won’t come out of the woodwork until you’re actually living together. Hopefully these tips will help mitigate it in the unlikely event that that happens.

When Justin Ferenzi isn’t blogging, he’s obsessively refreshing his email account for blogging-related correspondence. For any and all questions about life at Brown, don’t hesitate to send a message to justin_ferenzi@brown.edu

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