Photo by Lindsey Thomas

Around this time in the fall semester, many college students living with roommates begin to question, “Am I really living with these people?” The butterflies and excitement that filled us on move-in day are now replaced with dread and stress from school, work and roommates. It was a fun first month of getting to know your roommates, however, the entire time you were chit-chatting, going out or eating with them, you realized you failed at establishing basic ground rules. Now, you deal with the possibility of coming home to a dirty apartment or loud roommates.

Exams, projects and work overload are now popping up on your agenda. Your apartment is supposed to be the one place you can go to escape the stresses of your exhausting life. I have lived with my fair share of irritating roommates. I know how it feels to be the one who does not want to instigate anything, but I do think it is appropriate to stand up for yourself. I believe there are multiple ways to approach the awkward situation of confronting roommates. If you know your roommates well enough and feel comfortable talking face-to-face, mention the problem in a conversation. Another solution would be to send them a simple and polite text if you are not as comfortable talking in person. Sometimes all your roommate needs is a little reminder to realize there is an issue that needs to be addressed.

A hypothetical situation would be a roommate confronting you about a messy apartment. They explain how they have been the only person cleaning up after everyone else’s mess and that they say they would appreciate you picking up after yourself. You should make it clear you are willing to listen to ways of keeping the apartment cleaned weekly and apologize for any inconvenience out of respect. You can compare your schedule with theirs and find time for each person to clean.

I know sometimes there are bigger concerns than a dirty apartment. You may find yourself feeling helpless in these situations, but you should know there are people you can talk to about these issues. Many apartment management groups are aware of the possibility of problems with roommates and express how to switch units. You do not have to rely on yourself to carry the stress of the problem.

Sometimes you will grow tired of your roommates and have the urge to leave your apartment and go elsewhere. Call a friend to hang out, or stay on campus and knock out some homework that you have been procrastinating for a while. When you notice these problems from your roommates, remind yourself that you pay to live there too; therefore, it is reasonable for you to want to say something. Your roommates should respect you just as much you respect them.

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