Living with roommates can be difficult. Sometimes they are louder than we like, sometimes they are messier than we prefer and sometimes we just don’t get along.
COVID-19 has made living with roommates particularly tricky, as everyone is responsible for keeping each other safe during the pandemic. For many Tar Heels who were virtual during their first year, the upcoming fall semester might be your first experience living with other people.
The Editorial Board knows it can be comforting to hear from the experiences of others who have had bad roommate experiences — and trust us, we’ve been there — so here is our advice on how to navigate living with others.
Check their vibe
You can attempt to avoid problems altogether by trying to find the right roommate ahead of time. When getting to know people, make sure you agree on things that are important.
Do you both like to go out? Do you like a quiet study space? How clean do you keep your living spaces? Do you mind if other people come over?
You don’t need to “click” with this person immediately, but you can often tell if you don’t get along with someone after first encounters. If possible, meet with them in person (or over Zoom!) and have a conversation.
You can’t predict the future, but you should at least feel comfortable and somewhat compatible with the roommates you choose! Whatever you choose to do, don’t stress — some people decide to go random and end up with people they get along with really well.
Use your resources
If you still find yourself in a bad roommate situation, there are ways to mitigate the situation.
Use your resident adviser as a resource if you are on campus! Their job is to help you feel more comfortable in your living space, and are often willing to meet with you and your roommates. Even if you live off-campus, you can always have other roommates mediate sticky situations as they arise.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Don’t be afraid to assert your boundaries. Everybody needs boundaries to be comfortable, healthy and happy. There’s no shame in making sure your space, time and emotions are protected. Be open and understanding to your roommates' concerns, and hopefully, they will return the favor.
Don't lose hope
If you’re recovering from a roommate experience in the past, we know it can be tough. It may seem like bad living experiences impact other parts of your experience at UNC and can define the whole year. No matter how much it may feel like it, it’s not the end of the world.
These experiences, no matter how disastrous, do not define your time at UNC — nor do they define the rest of your college experience (or future roommate situations!).
Every relationship you have is an experience to learn and grow as a person, even if it ends on bad terms. It seems like less than ideal roommate experiences happen to almost everybody at some point. Find the silver linings in these situations, and use this time at college to reflect and grow.
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