What to do if you don’t like your roommate

Five strategies to make sure a bad roommate doesn’t mean a bad year

Sometimes two people just don’t get along. It’s natural. With the close quarters in the residence halls, you and your roommate will have disagreements. It might get stressful, and sometimes you can’t work it out.

It is tough seeing everyone's #roomiegoals pictures on social media when you don’t like your roommate at all, but remember: It’s only a year. Freshman year will fly by, and you won’t be in the residence hall as often as you think you will, but here’s what to do if you really can’t deal with your new roommate.

Headphones and earplugs are key

Roomies can be loud. It’s hard to keep your cool when it’s 3 a.m. and your roommate decides they have to eat chips in the loud, crunchy bag of Lays in bed or that they want to listen to the new Drake album as loud as possible. Owning a pair of $3 earplugs is a surefire way to sleep comfortably through the night, especially on stressful nights before an exam. Headphones are also a good way to watch “House of Cards” without making your roommate want to excommunicate you. Plus, if the roommate is Facetiming their mom or having a fight with their boyfriend, you can tune it all out.

Communicate early

It’s important to set boundaries with your roommate as early as possible. It isn’t fair to be angry with them about something they don’t necessarily know they’re doing, and it can ruin things for no reason. The Department of Residential Life has roommate contracts already prepared, and going through those forms is an easy way to bring up how many times a week it’s OK for guests to come over or which items both people can use. It’s better to work out all the kinks early instead of halfway through first semester, when it feels too awkward.

Separation is OK

If your roommate and you aren’t like the roomies you saw on Pinterest with matching comforters or constant Instagram posts about each other, that’s OK. Some roommates are acquaintances and nothing more, and that’s not necessarily bad. You’ll make friends with new people in student organizations, on your floor and in your classes, so if your roommate isn’t exactly the gem you thought they were going to be, it’s not that big of a deal. You can be cordial without making your room a hostile place, and being just casual roommates is not the end of the world.

Make friends beyond the roommates

One way for roommates to get sick of each other is spending every waking moment together. It’s cool if your roommate is your best friend, but it’s always good to have other study buddies or friends to occasionally grab a dining hall meal with. Having only one avenue of friendship in college is never a good idea, and joining organizations on campus and meeting new people is always a great cure for loneliness.

Worst case? Move rooms.

Sure, it’ll be hard to pack your stuff up and apply for a new room, but if you don’t think you can take it any more, submit a request to move rooms. It’s always a good idea to consult your friendly neighborhood floor staff member, as they are trained to handle these situations. Once you’ve done that, the application to move rooms is on ResLife’s website, and you can move as early as Aug. 31 within your hall, and Sept. 7 for moves between halls. The process to switch rooms is by no means instant, so be patient. If you really are in a bad spot, ResLife can typically accommodate what you need.

Edited by George Roberson | groberson@themaneater.com

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