College Roommate Tips

Tips on How to Solve Any Roommate Disagreements

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Conflict between roommates can be extremely difficult to navigate. Unfortunately, living in close quarters with another person can easily lead to disagreements over something that seems so trivial. Roommate disagreements not only negatively affect your personal relationship with the roommate, but can also negatively affect how comfortable you feel in your own living space as you live with the person while you are trying to navigate whatever dispute you find yourselves in.

Keep reading for tips on how to solve any roommate disagreements and help maintain a peaceful and comfortable living space for all roommates.

College Roommates: Tips on How to Solve Any Roommate Disagreements

Don’t brush things under the rug
If you or your roommate are the type of person who is more likely to be avoidant at any sight of conflict, roommate disagreements can easily escalate. Between friends or peers, brushing over a disagreement can work if the source of the disagreement is somewhat trivial and likely won’t come up again. Between roommates, however, disagreements can come up time and time again over the same issue or build up into a larger argument.

Don’t brush things under the rug when it comes to roommate disagreements. Even if the disagreement is small, take the time to address it between roommates while everyone is in a calm state of mind and can come to the discussion with a clear head.

If you continuously brush disagreements under the rug, they may only come out when one roommate has finally had enough and brings them all up with plenty of anger and frustration. If they feel like they’ve been slighted over and over again, they may come into a discussion more hostile than friendly, and be less likely to see the other side of the argument. Taking the time to navigate disagreements, no matter how small they may seem, will establish respect and understanding between roommates. Setting a precedent like this can help make future disagreements easier to address and navigate if you’ve already done it before.

Be Proactive and hold roommate meetings
When you first moved in with your roommates, you likely all got together to discuss your expectations for your roommates and the living space you share. You likely discussed cleaning, guest policies, quiet hours – things that typically can cause roommate disagreements.

The initial house rules shouldn’t be the end-all discussion for rules, but just a basis for your time living together. Routines and expectations can shift, and allowing your roommates to discuss changes needed for your shared space can help prevent or solve any disagreements.
Schedule regular meetings with roommates – it can be something as simple as a shared meal where everyone can sit down and chat about anything of concern.

Allow these meetings to be an open floor for any roommate to bring up something that has been bothering them and use the time to discuss how to solve the issue at hand. This can help roommates who feel unsure of the best time to bring up an issue, or allow them to bring up an issue at a time where they feel more calm than when the issue first popped up.

Seek the common ground
Depending on the disagreement, one roommate can be on one side of an issue with another roommate on the complete opposite side of an issue. Picking one side of an issue over the other can lead to a very upset roommate that feels like their side was left ignored, and can leave the disagreement feeling unsolved even if you feel like picking a side effectively should have ended the disagreement.

There’s a large chance the roommate who didn’t get their way still feels the same way about the issue as they did prior to the disagreement coming up, so the agreed upon solution may just be prolonging the disagreement until it comes up again.

To avoid this, look at the issue at hand to identify a common ground you can land on. Sure, neither roommate are getting their ideal outcome, but both parties will have to agree to lose out on a little bit so they can gain a compromise on the issue. The outcome may take some getting used to if it’s something they weren’t expecting, but it can help everyone feel like their opinion was taken into consideration and respected.

Involve a third party
If you find yourself in a disagreement where neither party looks like they are willing to come to a compromise, it’s time to seek a third part for mediating. If you are living in student housing, a mediatir can be your resident advisor, or it can be a mutual friend. Avoid having someone that is entirely one person’s connection if you or your roommates feel like that person is more prone to taking their closer friend’s side.

Pick a mediator that can help see everyone’s side and help guide the discussion as you navigate the disagreement.

Roommate disagreements are bound to happen at one point during your time together. With these tips in mind, you can help everyone navigate through disagreements and come to a solution.

Budgeting Tips for Living With a Roommate

By Garth Brunner

Budgeting can be so hard! After all, you have already taken the ultimate budget tip by living with a roommate. Still, there are other things you and your roommate or roommates can do to help your budget even further. It might seem like the best thing to do is to split everything in half, but this is not always the case. In fact, you could be losing a lot of money that you do not even realize. Here are the best budgeting tips for living with a roommate that just might end up saving you hundreds.

Student Roommates: Budgeting Tips for Living With a Roommate

Finding the right roommate

If you do not have a roommate yet, one of the best things for a budget is to find the right roommate. Find someone who is responsible with their money and has a good history of paying bills on time. After all, if they are late on payments and rely on you to cover for them, you will have to save even more money in an attempt to save your butts which can cause a lot of stress. If you already have a roommate, let’s hope they are a good one! If you are struggling, now is the time to have a conversation about the following tips so that you can save money and budget better.

Take salary into consideration

One of the best things you can do is compare salaries or wages to decide how much you both should be paying in bills like rent, electricity, or more. Most people decide to split rent in half, but if one roommate makes double or triple the other, it is best for both of you to split the bills not equally, but equitably. For example, rent can be one-third of what each roommate makes. That way, it is not a bigger deal for one roommate or the other and you can each budget accordingly for your remaining salary. Not everyone will be in favor of spending more on rent, but an open conversation may lead to something in everybody’s best interests. If your budget is tight, even just a small percentage less of rent can help with everything.

Talk about groceries

When you go grocery shopping, do not just split the bill in half and call it a day. You should only pay for what you are using. A gallon of milk that you both use? Sure! But your roommate’s box of slim jims that they use for late-night snacking? You should not be paying half of that! This is not to say that you should only buy things that you need. If someone is going grocery shopping, there is no harm in picking up everything needed for the apartment, but keep that receipt! Go through and split what is yours, your roommates, and communal. Request the money for your roommate’s items and half of what you share. That way, you are not paying for groceries you do not use.

If that is too difficult, there are alternatives. You can take turns grocery shopping and call it even so long as you are both contributing equally.

Create a joint budget

While shopping, you might both have different ideas of what to grab. When toilet paper is on the list, are you both grabbing one that costs the same, or is one of you grabbing something more expensive? Even if you split the cost of something like that, pennies add up and can end up pushing you over your budget. Agree on how much you are okay to spend on groceries that you split, cleaning supplies, and other things you two may share. If someone wants to go over the joint budget, that is then their responsibility.

Discuss what not to share

Even though you and your roommates might be using something, there is not always an obligation for both of you to pay. For instance, a new TV or a new furniture item. If one of you buys it but plans to take it when the lease is up, then they should be the one to fully cover the cost. Do not pay for something you will be losing in a year!

Record all payments

Lastly, the best budgeting tip not just for your household but for you is to keep track of what you are spending and where. Whether this is an app, a spreadsheet with names, dates, costs, and what you buy, or a jar where you keep receipts and go over them at the end of the month, you need to keep track of everything. This way, you can see what might need to be cut going further or what you are paying for that you are not using.

With these tips in mind, budgeting will not be easy, but it will be easier. You and your roommate can do this and save money together while also sticking to your respective budgets.

Balancing Schoolwork and Roommates: Strategies for Success

By Ashley Paskill

Living with a roommate is a part of the college experience, whether you live in the dorms or in an apartment. Even if you get along with your roommate, things can still be challenging, especially when it comes to getting schoolwork done. However, with hard work and tools, you can be successful at getting work done and having a good relationship with your roommate.

Roommates: Balancing Schoolwork and Roommates: Strategies for Success


As with any relationship, communicating clearly and effectively with your roommate is essential for maintaining the relationship while being a good student. If they are doing something that bothers you, communicate this with them so the issue can be addressed before things get beyond repair. Before moving in with each other, talk about boundaries, expectations, and rules. You may even opt to make a roommate agreement that lays out how you will deal with things such as rent, people coming over, and homework schedules.

Meet before moving in

Before you move in together, make sure you meet in person if possible. This will allow you to get to know each other better and you better be able to tell if you are compatible. Your roommate can say things over messaging or on the phone, but the truth will come out more when you meet face to face. You will also be able to walk each other through your routines. Make a roommate agreement to work out school schedules and boundaries for schoolwork. Find out if your roommate is a night owl or a morning person. If you are opposites in terms of favorite times of day, figure out how this will impact both of your schoolwork and make a plan accordingly. Doing this extra step will help you both be successful in your academics.

Set a schedule

If you and your roommate get along really well, it may be tempting to spend a ton of time together and do things on campus together all the time. However, doing so will leave you both with very little study time, which will negatively impact your grades. Instead, each week, look into different events around campus that you are interested in going to together and pick out one or two. You can then build your studying and homework schedule around these events. At the beginning of the semester, go through the syllabus from each class and put due dates for readings, assignments, and exams in your planner. This way, when you are looking at potential events, you can see what you have coming up and how much time will be needed for projects and assignments.

Keep your class schedules separate if possible

While this may be difficult if you and your roommate are in the same major or program, having separate class schedules allows you each to explore your own interests and form relationships with other classmates and professors. If you take all of your classes with your roommate, you may be tempted to only talk to them in class. You may also have difficulty paying attention if you take classes together. One or two of the same classes each semester is fine, but try to branch out and do things on your own as well. You will become more confident in your abilities and have more to talk to your roommate about since you each have your own classes.

Room layout

If you live in a dorm with a roommate or an apartment that has an open floor layout, it may be difficult to find privacy and quiet from your roommate. This may make it difficult to concentrate on schoolwork, especially if your roommate is noisy or distracting. In these cases, find a place on campus, like a café or a library, where you can get your assignments and studying done without being distracted by your roommates. If this is not an option for you, have a designated space for doing schoolwork and let your roommate know when you are doing schoolwork. Consider investing in noise-cancelling headphones to help block out noise from your roommate.


Chores such as cleaning and grocery shopping are essential and need to be shared equally. At the beginning of the semester, sit down with your roommate and discuss how these things will be completed. Look at your class syllabi and factor in schedules and deadlines so that schoolwork is getting done on time and is not being sideswiped by chores. If you feel like you are constantly pulling your roommate’s share of the chores, set up a time to discuss the problem before it impacts your schoolwork. If you or your roommate have a particularly rough week in terms of schoolwork, consider taking the other’s chores that week. Just be sure to trade weeks so it stays fair and you do not become resentful of each other.

Living with a roommate can pose challenges, even academically, but taking steps before your schoolwork is impacted is crucial for your academic success.

6 Ways to Find Alone Time When Living with Roommates

By Alicia Geigel

Living with roommates is not always easy, especially if you are someone who appreciates and values being alone versus spending time with others in a social setting. Between having guests over and constant noise floating around, it can become easy to be overwhelmed in your own space and find little time to yourself when sharing a dorm or apartment with other people.

If you’re someone who is more on the introverted side, likes alone time, or needs to unwind after a long day or week, here are six tips to make your life easier!

Roommates: 6 Ways to Find Alone Time When Living with Roommates

1. Be Open About Your Boundaries: The key to any great roommate relationship, especially is communication. To help find alone time, it is important for you to establish clear boundaries with your roommates about what makes you uncomfortable as well as your general approach to things. Needing space, having quiet time, staying home rather than going out, having company over, etc., are all things that you can discuss with your roommates to help them understand your needs and foster an environment that makes everyone happy together. Though it might be awkward or uncomfortable to discuss these things at first, getting these boundaries out in the open and off your chest is far better than having a resentful relationship with your roommates.

2. Show Friendliness to Your Roommates: Whether you are more introverted or just need time by yourself, finding time alone doesn’t mean that you have an excuse to ignore or be disrespectful to your roommates. Though it is obvious, remember to be friendly with your roommates. A simple smile and wave when you cross paths in your apartment can show your roommates that you respect them enough to engage with them, even on a small scale level. In addition, you can be friendly with your roommates by doing small acts of kindness, like making them coffee in the morning, preparing a meal while they’re gone, tidying up if they have been busy, or even writing a handwritten note of encouragement.

3. Set Aside Time to Recharge: It can be easy to become overwhelmed when you do activities that require a lot of social interaction, such as going to a party, having a group study session, or simply hanging out with your roommates at home. Regardless of the activity, it is important to take time to “recharge” and unwind alone. This could take form in many different ways but can include listening to music, watching a movie or TV show, journaling, doing crafts or coloring, reading a book, or taking a nap. Allowing yourself to calm any feelings of anxiety, stress, or overstimulation can help you better cope with your roommate relationship in general!

4. Find a Space to Decompress: Figuring out activities to de-stress and decompress is oftentimes far easier than settling on a space to do so. Sharing an apartment or dorm with your roommates can make it difficult to have privacy and get some time to yourself. An important part of managing living with roommates is finding your own safe space to be by yourself, which can be anywhere! Per OutPost, “Whether it’s a local coffee shop, park, or even a mall you like to wander around, there’s always somewhere quiet to be found in the throng of a city. Take a stroll around your neighborhood or Google ‘quiet spaces’ in the area for inspiration.”

5. Purchase Noise Canceling Headphones: Living with roommates can often get loud, and if you’re someone who is sensitive to loud sounds like talking, laughing, music, the TV, etc., you can easily become overwhelmed in your apartment. You can gently ask your roommates to lower the volume at nighttime or during hours you need to study/work, but it is definitely worth it to invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones. This way, you can enjoy the peaceful sounds of your favorite music or a YouTube video while your roommates can carry on without worrying if they’re being too loud.

6. Venture Out of Your Comfort Zone Occasionally: Though you may have lifestyle differences with your roommates, you can still enjoy quality time with them- after all, you live together! Reserving alone time for yourself is important, but it can also be good for you to take a leap and go out of your comfort zone on occasion. Arrange a weekly date with your roommates to catch up, cook a meal together, sit down and watch a show that is everyone’s favorite, or even take a trip to the grocery store! Anything that gives you some quality time with roommates is a great idea. Doing this can not only break up your solo routine, but it can also make your roommates feel closer to you.

When sharing a space, you are bound to have differences with your roommates, but these six tips will help you manage these differences while building a healthy relationship with them and giving yourself time to be alone!

Vetting a New Potential Roommate

By Kaitlin Hurtado

If you’ve ever talked to anyone who has lived with a roommate, you can surely recall at least one complaint associated with their roommate situation. Some are lucky enough to have small complaints limited to a dirty dish or two, while others are unfortunate enough to experience roommate situations that had them forced to look for alternate housing options as soon as possible. If you are currently looking for a roommate, you know how important it is to find the right roommate to make your future living arrangements a positive and comfortable one.

Regardless of how well you know someone, you do not know them as a roommate. Even your closest friends could turn out to be the worst roommates if you guys do not have common ground in your living situation. Whether you are looking for a roommate within your already established friend circle or searching among strangers, vetting a new potential roommate can be a stressful task. Keep reading for tips on vetting a new potential roommate, including critical questions to get to know them as a roommate.

Student Roommates: Vetting a New Potential Roommate

What is your schedule like?
Depending on your potential living space, you may be in very close quarters with your roommate. If you expect to have your own bedroom and bathroom, the schedule of your roommate may be less of a worry, but if you are sharing a bedroom and/or bathroom, scheduling can be a quick cause of conflict. For example, if you have a roommate who is a night owl while you are an early morning person, running on two different schedules can cause conflict when one roommate wants peace and quiet while the other goes about their daily routine.

On the other hand, if you are sharing a bathroom and have to get ready at the same time for classes or work, you don’t want to have a roommate hogging the bathroom when you need it to get out the door on time. Discussing your schedules with a potential roommate can help you figure out if you are compatible and avoid conflict from the get-go.

What is your expectation of the living space?
Everyone has different expectations of their living space, and having different expectations from your roommate can also become a source of conflict. For example, one roommate may want the apartment to be the meeting spot for their friend group, meaning multiple people will be over at the drop of a hat. This can mean multiple people in your living space at any given time, contributing to noise and mess levels on any given day. Another roommate may be a homebody and want a private living space where guests are more limited.

If these two different roommates were to live together, one can imagine the type of conflict that would come up daily. Ideally, you want a roommate that has a matching expectation around how their space is going to be treated – will it be more private between roommates or is it going to be the designated hangout space with overlapping friend groups?

What is their cleanliness expectation?
Anyone who has shared close quarters with another person understands that each person has a different understanding of “clean.” Some will not bat an eye over cluttered surfaces and overfilled trash bins, while others have the expectation that cleaning is an essential part of everyone’s routine.

Whatever the case may be for you, it’s an important question to ask a potential roommate. You don’t want a roommate demanding you to clean up after yourself when you don’t see an issue, or on the other hand, you do not want to be constantly picking up after another roommate who is okay with having a messier space.

Are they the type to wash their dishes immediately after using them, or do they think it’s okay to leave them for later in the day or overnight?

What is your worst habit?
No one likes to point out their weak points or bad habits, but they will quickly become clear when you live with someone and see them on a daily basis. Asking a potential roommate what their worst habit is can give you a clear and honest idea of what kind of roommate they can be, and if their “issues” are actual issues to you or something you do not see as much of an issue.

What are your pet peeves?
Similarly, understanding what your potential roommate’s pet peeves can help you paint a clearer picture of whether or not you would get along as roommates. For example, if their pet peeve is someone who leaves dirty dishes and you know that is a habit you have never been able to kick, you likely will not be getting along as roommates.

Vetting potential roommates can be a bit time-consuming, but will be well worth it when you find yourself getting along with your roommates and living comfortably in your new space.

How to Establish New Roommate Routines in the New Year

By Aidan Cannon

The new year is upon us! Many people take this time of year to open themselves up to new opportunities and experiences, or try to make a change in their lifestyle to establish healthier habits. If they repeat these new habits consciously over and over again, they will soon become second nature and another part of their normal routine. Of course, creating new routines is easier said than done, as you need to train your mind and body to get used to a new method of performing tasks. While it can be difficult enough for one person, it gets even more complicated when a roommate, or roommates, get thrown into the mix. Trying to create new ways of doing things in an apartment can be difficult if all parties aren’t on the same page. If you want to establish new routines for you and your roommates this year, this is how you do it.

Roommate Tips: How to Establish New Roommate Routines in the New Year
Image from Pixabay

Talk about what you want to improve

The first thing you and your roommates should do is sit down and honestly discuss what you would like to change. These conversations can often be uncomfortable, as you don’t want to single anybody out for certain issues affecting the rest of you, but it’s important to be forthcoming with your concerns if you want any real change to be enacted. Talk about what needs to change and share actionable steps to achieve these goals. If you can’t think of any actionable steps, brainstorm with your roommates to find solutions. As important as it is to speak and share your ideas, it’s equally important to be an active listener. Your roommates may share that you have been doing something that has been bothering them. Instead of taking offense, consider how your actions have been making them feel, and offer solutions to make sure it doesn’t keep happening.

Leave notes to remind yourself and others

Establishing new routines can be difficult! It involves retraining your body and mind to operate differently than it has become accustomed to, and that involves a lot of conscious practice. A great way to remind yourself and others of your new routines is to leave notes around the house. These will ensure that you are adhering to the new decisions you made and prevent you from falling back into bad habits. For example, if you and your roommates have an issue with taking the trash out, you can leave a note on your trash can saying when to take it out. It can say what day of the week to dump it, at what capacity level you should dump it, or whose turn it is to take it out. Likewise, if you all struggle with turning out the lights when you leave, a note can be placed on the front door, reminding everyone to check the lights as they exit the apartment. Small reminders like these will help everyone stick to the new routines and help avoid any unpleasantness that comes from in-person confrontation.

Be flexible

Sometimes, life may get in the way of your new routines. The life of a college student is filled with stress, including schoolwork, jobs, and interpersonal relationships. If it becomes clear that you or your roommates won’t be able to stick to certain parts of your new routines. feel free to adjust them to be more accommodating. Oftentimes, people have a very rigid idea of what success looks like when it comes to forming new habits, where they must stick firm to what they originally laid out and any deviation is tantamount to failure. In reality, this is not the case, and it’s more important that you practice mindfulness and adjust your goals to be more achievable than sticking to your original plan. In essence, it’s better to find a way to continue your routine less strenuously than it is to give it up entirely. For example, if you and your roommates had committed to an every-other-day gym schedule, but that becomes untenable due to other factors, decide on a new less regular schedule so you can all continue to go together.

Plan a reward for yourselves

Since sticking to new routines can be challenging, you should plan a reward for yourself and your roommates if you all can keep to them. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy, but it’s a great feeling knowing you’re being recognized for your efforts. Consider planning a fun activity or night out if all of you commit to the new routine for a set amount of time, like a month. This will help motivate everyone to stick to the routine and encourage them to come up with other ideas in the future.

The new year provides a great opportunity for you and your roommates to establish new routines, but sticking with them is another matter entirely. Luckily, with smart planning and open communication, you can turn your new routines into lifelong habits.

Holiday Traditions for You and Your Roommate

By Ashley Paskill

For many students, the end of the fall semester means the winter holidays are quickly approaching. While this may be a time of stress with presents to buy, cards to send, and projects and exams to complete, it may also be a time of fun things to do, especially with your roommate. There are so many traditions you can continue or start, so here are a few to get you in a festive spirit.

Roommate Tips: Holiday Traditions for You and Your Roommate
Photo via Pexels

Decorate your living space

As with any other season or holiday, decorating your living space for the winter holidays is one big way to get into the holiday mood and lift your atmosphere. This may include checking out local thrift stores for inexpensive décor items or even working with your roommate to make your own decorations. This is also a great season for natural inspiration such as a holiday tree. You may even start a tradition of buying a Christmas ornament that reminds you of each other.

Holiday lights

One of the prettiest sights to see during the holidays are houses decorated with brightly colored lights and blowup decorations. Some families go all-out so visitors can even park and walk up to their yards and walk through the lights. Make it a tradition to check out some of these with your roommate and drive around with each other to look at them.


A wise man once said, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear.” One way to do this is to go caroling through your dorm room complex, your apartment complex, or even your neighborhood with your roommate. Practice a few songs so you can perform a few on rotation for each family around you. It does not matter if either of you have a good voice or not. All that matters is that you have fun and are spreading holiday cheer to your neighbors.

Learn something new

There are various holidays that take place at the end of the year. Of course, Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanza are the most popular and the most widely known. However, Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains around the world and in the United States. If your roommate celebrates a different holiday than you do, ask them to teach you about it and show you their family customs. If you and your roommate are celebrating the same holidays, see if you can find someone on campus, either an individual or group, who may be celebrating a holiday you do not. Take the time to go and learn about the holiday and see how it is celebrated. Even families who celebrate the same holidays celebrate them differently from others, so see how others celebrate and how their family is different from yours.

Bon Appetite!

No matter what holidays are celebrated, food is always a huge portion of the celebrations. Have a holiday party with your roommate and neighbors. Have each person bring a dish their celebration is known for. You may even have each person do a small presentation or write-up on what it is, what is in it, and why they chose to bring it with them. Ask if it is a long-time family tradition to make the food and how it ties in with the holiday.

Ugly Christmas sweaters

Ugly Christmas sweaters are one of the most incredible ways to express yourself and your creativity this tie of you. Whether you paint or sew your sweater, you can make your own holiday sweaters that will last through all of your holiday get-togethers or celebrations. Even if you cannot afford to make or buy your sweaters, consider buying matching winter hats or nail polish to enhance your look.

Gift exchange

One of the quickest traditions you can do with your roommate is to hold a gift exchange with them. It can be as simple as buying them a gift and giving it to them before or after classes are done for the day. You do not even have to be in contact with each other. Just leave the present in a spot for them to find it and open it. This can be a fun hide-and-seek type of thing if you have time as well. You know each other well enough that you know likes and dislikes.

Holiday crafts

While this can fit in with crafts and décor, it can be its own fun category. You and your roommate can find craft kits at local craft and general item stores. As time goes by, the cost of each individual cubby. As time goes on, the crafts will be less expensive and hopefully, the ones you can choose from will be quick and easy to complete in one sitting.

As college students, working during the holiday season can be a time of stress as things pile up. As such, having fun things to do with your roommate can put you in a fun and festive mood, helping you to forget your stressful to-do list, at least for a little bit.

How to Support a Roommate With Mental Health Issues

By Alicia Geigel

Many college students suffer from mental health issues, which can include depression, anxiety, and much more. In the 2020-2021 year alone, more than 60% of college students met the criteria for at least one mental health problem, according to the Healthy Minds Study. If you live with a roommate with mental health issues, you may be wondering how to be of support while not being overbearing or apathetic to their problems.

Here are six tips to help you be of support to a roommate dealing with mental health issues.

Student Roommates: How to Support a Roommate With Mental Health Issues

1. Recognize the Signs: When you have a roommate with mental health issues, it can be difficult to distinguish what is a bad day versus what is an ongoing problem. We all have days when we feel sad, angry, run-down, and anxious, that’s normal! When these strong feelings and emotions become a regular occurrence and they interfere with how your roommate functions, that is when it can be concerning. As a roommate, you may be wondering what signs to look for to determine how to best help your roommate. Though there are a lot of signs and symptoms to observe, here are a few verbal and emotional signs to make note of:
○ Jokes about self-harm or taking their own life
○ Feeling like no one cares about them
○ Claiming things would be better without them
○ Recurring feelings of sadness or depression
○ Little to no interest in activities
○ Oversleeping
○ Isolation
○ Lack of personal care or hygiene

2. Talk to Them: Approaching a roommate who is experiencing mental health issues can take some maneuvering, as you don’t want to overwhelm them or make things worse. Don’t let this fear make you avoid them or keep you from being a supportive roommate because that can really make them feel worse. First, approach them softly. Ask them how things are going in their life, how school is, etc. If they are open to talking, that’s great. If they are more reserved, then it’s a good idea to note that you’ve noticed their mood change, (i.e. that they’re sad, angry, anxious, etc.), and ask if they want to talk about how they’re feeling. Sometimes people think that talking about their problems burdens others, so be sure to tell them that they aren’t burdening you by sharing how they feel. Offering this kind of support can make them feel understood, validated, and cared about.

3. Respect Their Privacy: We all have experienced our fair share of stressors and strong emotions in life. Sometimes it feels good to have people by your side to be of support and distract you from your problems. Other times, it feels better to just have some alone time to meditate, pray, or clear your mind of what problems you may be facing. In the case that your roommate is experiencing mental health issues, there may be times that they want to be alone and have some privacy. Though it is good to be around to make sure they’re ok, it is also important that you respect their privacy when they want to be alone. Just as much as you don’t want to isolate them when they are down, you also don’t want to smother them with support if they need space. If they verbalize this and you don’t have reason to worry about them being harmful to themselves, give them the privacy they deserve and simply reiterate that you are here to support them when they need it.

4. Show Them You Care: Showing up for a roommate who has mental health issues can look different from person to person, it all depends on who they are, what makes their life better, and what means the most to them. Outside of verbalizing your support to your roommate, it can mean a lot to them when you do little things to show them you care. This can be making a meal, like breakfast to get them ready for the day, or dinner to end a rough day. It can also be tidying up the apartment or dorm, leaving them a motivational or kind note before you leave for classes, or asking them if they want to watch a movie or take a walk together. These small acts of kindness can make them feel like they matter, and it can also make them feel loved.

5. Offer to Help Find Mental Health Resources: One significant way you can help support a roommate with mental health issues is by offering to search for mental health resources with them. Sometimes, you can only do so much, and your roommate might need help from a counselor, therapist, etc. to help get them on the right track. Offer to look for different options for them online, whether it’s through campus treatment counseling, virtual therapy services like Better Help, or through their insurance portal to find providers. If they don’t have insurance, there are several different ways to access therapy and mental health services as well.

6. Take Care of Yourself: Supporting a roommate with mental health problems can take a toll on your well-being at points. Throughout your time living together, be sure to take time to care for yourself. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or counselor if you need extra support. Reserve some time to unwind and watch your favorite show or movie, go for a walk, treat yourself to your favorite restaurant, etc. Doing so helps you recharge and prevents you from getting burnt out.

Mental health is a sensitive subject, and it can be hard to deal with a roommate who is dealing with mental health problems of their own. There are several ways you can show support, and these tips can be a good starting point to help you be a supportive roommate during a difficult time.

What to Know About Going Home With Your Roommate for Break

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Each college student’s roommate experience is going to be different. Some students merely view their roommates as someone cohabiting the same living space with them. Other students live with their close friends or become close friends with their roommates as time goes on. If you fit in the latter category, you may find yourself planning to spend time with your roommate outside of the apartment, including going back home together during break.

Whether your roommate is taking you back to their home, or you are taking them to yours, traveling to one’s home is an entirely new experience you may feel unprepared for. Keep reading for what to know about going home with your roommate during break.

Roommate Tips: What to Know About Going Home With Your Roommate for Break

Prepare to be a tour guide, or to be guided around
Whether you are taking your roommate back home, or you are going to your roommate’s home, one person is going to experience a new area for the first time. Even if they have visited the area previously for whatever reason, they likely do not have a local’s view and experience of the area.

Whatever your role is in the scenario, be prepared to embrace being a temporary tour guide, or accept whatever plans your roommate has for you in their hometown. Getting to experience one’s home and town through a local’s point of view is a unique experience, and it’s one that you and your roommate should definitely take advantage of.

Of course, you can communicate what type of activities you are interested in doing, but you shouldn’t be shooting down your roommate’s ideas just because they don’t sound like something you would enjoy.

Have a clear idea of your living situation during the break
Before embarking on your travels, make sure you and your roommate understand the plans for how you are enjoying your break. This does not mean you have to have your daily itinerary planned down to the hour, but you should have a general idea of what your plans will entail while away.

First and foremost, your housing accommodations should be established. Are you staying in the roommate’s family home – staying in the guest bedroom or sharing their personal room? Are you staying with their friends or extended family, or sharing a hotel or Airbnb together?

Make sure to discuss this beforehand so no one gets a surprise when you arrive to the destination together. Everyone has their own travel preferences. For example, if one roommate prefers to have their own living space, bedroom and bed included, but the roommate’s family home doesn’t have the space for those accommodations, the roommate may consider looking for their own housing during their stay to enjoy the entire experience more.

Similarly, discuss how you are handling your stay together. Are you expecting to spend all your time together during your stay? Or are you planning to spend some time together and then time apart? For whoever is the one going back home, they may want to spend some extra time with their own family and friends, and you should discuss if it’s something you are expected to do together or time spent on your own so everyone can plan accordingly.

Prepare your living space before leaving
Unless you and your roommate have other roommates who are staying back at your apartment together, you may be leaving your apartment unoccupied for a certain period of time. If it’s only for a weekend or week, this may seem like a non-issue, but if you plan on leaving for months at a time during a longer summer break, there are certain things to keep in mind to prepare your space for being unoccupied.

Make sure you tidy up your space prior to leaving. This means taking out the trash, wiping down surfaces, and cleaning out your fridge and pantry of any perishables. With you and your roommate away, you will not be able to tell when a pest problem first pops up so do your best to keep your living space clean and pest-free while you are away.

Turn off any electronics or unplug devices that will not be of any use while you are away. Double-check that points of entry, from doors and windows, are locked properly. If your windows do not have them already, consider installing window locks that prevent the window from opening past a certain point (intruders won’t be able to fit through a limited space).

Visiting home with your roommate for break is definitely a unique experience, and will bring you closer together. With this information in mind, you can help yourself make the most of the experience – good luck!

What To Do If Your Roommate Is Not A Good Fit

By Aidan Cannon

One of the best parts of the college experience is moving out of your childhood home, and settling into dorm life means meeting roommates. Your college will try to room you with people who have similar interests or are studying the same subjects. Roommates can be the first friends you make in college, and it can be really exciting navigating the new experience of higher education together. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. You may be matched with a roommate who you don’t get along with or someone who unintentionally makes your life more difficult with how they choose to live. There is no shortage of roommate horror stories out in the world, but there are also ways to avoid conflict and resolve your issues peacefully. Use this guide to solve your roommate disagreements without resorting to shouting matches.

Student Roommates: What To Do If Your Roommate Is Not A Good Fit

Sit down and establish rules

The first step to mitigating conflict between multiple parties is open and honest communication. When you first meet your roommate, after all your unpacking is done, you should sit down and have a conversation with them about what expectations are going to be for your shared space. These discussions can include responsibilities like cleaning and trash, but also policies like visitation of friends, family, and significant others. This should also be an opportunity to discuss specific needs or desires the both of you have, such as having a quiet space to work during certain hours and not making noise before a certain time in the morning. Additionally, you should delineate what parts of the dorm belong to whom, so nobody dominates the space and leaves the other with no room to live. Making these decisions now won’t guarantee a dorm free of conflict long term, but hopefully, they will give you and your roommate something to refer back to if problems do arise.

Speak with your resident advisor

If serious problems do appear, consider speaking with your resident advisor. Your RA is there to answer any questions you might have about living on your own for the first time, but can also try to resolve conflict between roommates if need be. They can act as an independent third party to try and more objectively evaluate if anyone is at fault for your roommate problems. You can also discuss with them the rules you and your roommate created so they understand the context of your disagreement. Talking to your RA is a great first step if you feel your roommate is being unsafe in any way, such as excessive drinking, drug use, or any kind of self-harm. However, most of your issues will not be that grave, and you should try to discuss your grievances with your roommate before getting authority figures involved.

Apply for a room change

If you feel that the differences between your roommate and yourself are truly irreconcilable, you can investigate if your university will let you change rooms. This will allow both of you another chance to be matched with people who better suit your respective lifestyles and continue your studies distraction-free. Although your relationship may have broken down with your roommate to the point that it’s hard to be pleasant to one another, they may still help you with the application process, as it’s in their best interest to get the situation sorted out as quickly as possible. Some roommates just aren’t meant to be, and that’s ok! It’s a good learning experience that will inform how you interact with different roommates in the future.

Minimize time spent around them

If all else fails, try your best to keep your distance. This can mean spending the majority of your time on campus, with friends or significant others at their residences, or just around town. While ignoring the problems that you have at your dorm might not seem like the most productive use of your time, taking a break from your roommate drama can help you evaluate next steps and even formulate possible solutions to your problems. Spending the majority of your waking hours outside of your room can also make your predicament more bearable assuming all other solutions fall through. The minimal time you’ll spend around your roommate will reduce the likelihood of any substantial fights breaking out, and the remaining periods will be bookended by both of you sleeping.

You don’t need to be friends with someone for them to be a good roommate. A person might live with one or many other people whom they just inhabit a space with and otherwise leave each other alone to live separate lives. However, sometimes sharing a living space with other people breeds conflict and strife, ultimately pushing them apart to an untenable degree. At that point, it’s time to investigate strategies to make sure the situation doesn’t get out of hand. Using this guide will help you navigate the often confusing interpersonal politics of being a roommate and hopefully mitigate future fights.