September 20, 2016 by Linda Edelstein
These are the weeks when college students move into dorm rooms and apartments. Freshman are the newest people at sharing close quarters. Everyone moves in with high hopes and good intentions, but…. Years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I moved into Towers dormitory at Boston University, I had incredibly high expectations for a warm, long-lasting friendship with my freshman roommate. We never go close to that goal – in fact, eventually we stopped short of being civil – and I was way more than 50% to blame. I’ve thought about it a lot in the years since…
so here are tips that may help you (or a freshman you love) to begin with awareness and intention.
- You have all sorts of expectations, whether you know it or not. Try to bring them into your awareness so you can deal with them.
- Keep assumptions to a minimum; deal with reality.
- Keep lines of communication open. Don’t assume, ask. People are different and you can preempt problems by communicating well.
- Talk about problems as they arise, while they are still small. Don’t let them build up until they boil over.
- It is okay if you are not alike. Concentrate on each other’s strengths, not each other’s weaknesses.
- Be intentional about how you intend to use the room. Have a meeting; have them regularly if you need to. When you get clear plans about sleep, noise, visitors, and all the other things that shared space requires, you have a framework to depend on. Later, you can diffuse arguments by going back to your plan. Good luck