Living with a Roommate and Dealing with Conflicts
The roommate relationship can be one of the greatest joys of college life, or one of the most irritating aspects, but it is undoubtedly one of the most challenging learning experiences. The best way to ensure that you have a successful living situation is COMMUNICATION. Initial and ongoing discussions with your roommate, where each person shares his/her thoughts and feelings about the living situation, are essential to a healthy living situation.
While Earlham's Community Code highlights the importance of Respect for Persons for members of the Earlham community, mutual respect is especially crucial for roommates in order to build trustworthy and honest relationships. Suggested topics to discuss early in your new living situation include sleeping hours, study habits, appropriate times to have visitors and guests, use of personal belongings, cleanliness and neatness, ways you deal with stress, ways you deal with conflict, use of the telephone, and any other personal habits which may affect your living environment. Being proactive by discussing these items before they become a problem will eliminate many potentially awkward situations.
If you are uncomfortable approaching your roommate about your living situation, of if you already have and its been unsuccessful, and you want or need some extra support, your hall staff are available to help. Your Resident Assistant (RA) and Area Director (AD) are available to help you. The RAs and ADs are trained in conflict mediation techniques and are happy to assist roommates in conflict by scheduling a mediated discussion.
The assistance of the mediator is important because this person can ensure that each person speaks, is heard and is understood accurately. While the goal of the mediated discussion is reconciliation of differences and/or heightened mutual understanding, if mediation proves to be unsuccessful, roommates are then able to pursue an official room change through the Office of Residence Life. Please seek the assistance of your hall staff if you are having roommate problems, unofficial room changes only confuse the issues and ignoring the problem does not make it go away.