Dear Barb – Regretting Residence

Dear Barb:

I am in my first year of university and moved into residence a few weeks ago. My roommate is also a first-year student. I am having a lot of problems with her already! She’s going a bit wild. I swear she’s been drunk every night since the beginning of school. This is our first time away from home, I get that, but if this goes on all year I don’t know what I’m going to do. I spoke to my parents about getting a single room, but they said that is not an option; they do not have the money, as I also have an older brother that is attending university. Also my roommate talks nonstop and I am a quiet person. We just seem to be opposites. Our room is extremely small; it actually was a single that was turned into a double, so you can imagine the tight accommodations. I do like her as a person, it’s just I need some peace and quiet. I don’t know how to approach this with her. I know there is a Residence Facilitator (RF) that students can discuss these types of things with, but I don’t want to cause problems between us. I’m not good at confrontation, but I really need to be able to have a place to study and do my homework. Do you have any suggestions besides confronting my roommate? Help, Hannah!

Hi Hannah:

Welcome to living in student residence! It’s almost an impossibility to find a roommate who is a perfect fit. It’s also pretty normal for first year students to party a bit too much at the beginning. Most students will settle down once they really get into their studies and realize the partying lifestyle will not let them achieve good marks. You sound very mature for a first-year student. Residence Counsellors or Residence Advisors are there to assist students with the everyday rules of living in residence. They are usually students who are now in their final years of university and this is a paying job for them. If they can’t resolve your issues they can direct you to the right person or department, which could include conflict resolution. Usually you can email your concern and get a quick response, that way you can remain somewhat anonymous. However, before you try any of these approaches I would suggest you talk to your roommate. There really are no options other than being direct. Tell your roommate exactly what is bothering you. You said you like her so that will work in both your favor. There is a good possibility that she will respect your feelings and the two of you can work out these creases. Give it time, but if things don’t change then you will have to get someone else involved and ultimately if nothing is resolved, you may have find somewhere else to study, like the library, or move to another room. My advice is to give it time, residence life provides a lot of freedom for the first time, so it may take a bit of time to find the right balance, which obviously you have already done. Good luck in your studies, Hannah.

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