Roommate conflicts are natural and healthy. Living in the residence halls at Regis requires learning to live with a roommate. This experience helps you to learn essential skills like communication, compromise, and setting boundaries. However, sometimes residents need additional support to overcome challenging circumstances. We have systems in place to address roommate concerns.
If you are a parent of a resident having roommate concerns, you can help this process by challenging your student to actively work through the issues, instead of avoiding them or looking for easy solutions. Changing roommates is often not the best solution; helping students seek alternative solutions will enhance the learning that can come from this experience. On each floor of the traditional residence halls and in all of the village communities, there are Resident Assistants (RAs) or Peer Ministers (PMs) who have been trained to handle roommate issues. The RAs or the residents may also ask for assistance from the Residence Life Coordinator (RLC) when necessary.
TIPS FOR PARENTS: How to Support a HEALTHY ROOMMATE EXPERIENCE
As a parent, your student may struggle at times to get a long in the new environment. As expected, even the best of friends will have frustrating times sharing a living space. Below are some helpful tips for you to help your student prevent and address common roommate concerns.
1) Get into touch.
Even if the student has chosen his or her roommate, and especially if he or she hasn’t, help get them in contact early and often. The more students communicate BEFORE moving in together, the less like strangers they’ll feel when the day arrives.
- Important topics to cover during the summer include sleep, study and social habits. If they are not seemingly compatible, what problem-solving and compromises can they brainstorm? Setting the tone with knowing there will be some differences, but that it’s okay to address them, will create good habits in case any other issues arise.
- Roommates need to know each other’s expectations and limitations regarding personal belongings such as clothing, electronic equipment, food, and use of items in the room while one or the other is away. Roommates need to be clear on the behavior expected of each other’s guests and how to express concerns to each other. Most importantly for now, roommates need to figure out who is bringing what for the room. Not only is it fun to brainstorm what the new home will look like, it is also just practical to figure out what will be brought into the new home. Absolutely nobody wants to move heavy electronic equipment or a piece of furniture only to move it back!
2) Take perspective.
Oftentimes, students realize that there are many habits and expectations that they bring into their new living environment that may be different than his/her roommates . Meeting and living with a student who has a different set of habits and expectations may be difficult, but can often be worked out through communication and/or a conflict resolution.
3) Encourage Communication.
Communication is certainly a skill that will benefit your student in all arenas of life. Living with a roommate—whether a friend or acquaintance—requires open communication. While technology makes it easy to communicate in another medium, the Department encourages students to resolve issues together in a face-to-face setting. Please encourage your student to seek help from a staff member if needed early on to address any possible issues. The Department cannot fix issues in which it is not aware.
ADDITIONAL HELP AND SUPPORT
Most roommate conflicts are able to be resolved with a little hard work and compromise. Some conflicts require more support and alternate solutions. Encourage your student to take advantage of the many support mechanisms in place at Regis University to address conflict. The Resident Assistant is an upperclass student who lives on the floor and who has had in depth training on helping students work through conflict. The Residence Life Coordinators, professional staff, are also available to help work through conflict and find compromises and solutions. The Residence Life Coordinator nor the Resident Assistant will solve the problem, but rather help facilitate the process to resolve the issue. Changing rooms is rarely the first or best option and is often challenging when the building is at full capacity.