Living With A Roommate
Living with a roommate can be both challenging and rewarding. We want your experience with your roommate to be a positive one, and we also hope that you will take challenges that arise as an opportunity to learn about yourself and each other.
Ultimately, having a roommate will help you develop important communication and interpersonal skills, and will add to the diverse group of peers and friends that you will meet at Loyola.
Finding A Roommate
Many Loyola students come from outside Louisiana and do not have a specific roommate in mind when applying for housing. Loyola provides flexibility and options in identifying your roommate.
We encourage you to reach out to other incoming students and to find your own roommate. Many students enjoy using Facebook or other social media to connect with fellow incoming students. It is common for students to join groups based on their Orientation group, Learning Community, or other personal interests. If two of you decide that you would like to live together, simply make a mutual request!
If you know another incoming student and want to live with that person, you will need to request one another in the Residence System using your assigned roommate codes. Instructions will be provided to you via email when the 'roommate' function opens during the application period.
You will state several personal preferences on in the Roommate Matching section of your Housing Application. Residential Life uses these preferences to match you to another student with similar responses.
Being A Good Roommate
Most new college students today have never shared a bedroom or lived with a stranger. By taking some simple steps to build a relationship with your new roommate, you will set yourself up for a great year!
When you receive your housing assignment over the Summer, take a moment to call your new roommate. Making the first call can be stressful, but remember that they are just as nervous about meeting you, and they will appreciate that you cared enough to call.
Don't Over Pack
Talk to your new roommate over the summer about what each of you will bring for your room. For example, you don’t need two trashcans, but you may each prefer to bring your own desk lamps. Will one of you rent a MicroFridge and let the other use it, or will you split the cost evenly? Maybe you have a favorite poster that you’d like to hang, but aren’t sure if your new roommate approves. You will both benefit from some advance planning.
You and your roommate will be different people will different tastes, lifestyles, cultures, hobbies, and pet peeves. Part of being a good roommate is learning how to be yourself while appreciating and respecting your roommate and their differences. Remember, meeting different kinds of people is one of the things that makes Loyola so great!
Establish Ground Rules Right Away
Do not wait to discuss expectations with your new roommate. You should begin this conversation as you are getting to know them over the summer, and continue when you have both moved in. How orderly will you keep the room? What belongings are for both of you to use, and what do you prefer your roommate not to touch? What time do your classes start each morning, and when do you like to go to bed? The longer you wait to have these conversations, the harder it will be to establish these ground rules later on.
Remember the Golden Rule
You would prefer that your roommate ask you before taking a book off of your bookshelf or borrowing a quarter from your change jar, right? Chances are they prefer the same. Use common sense and remember that living with a roommate will require you both to compromise in order to keep the relationship healthy and positive.
Navigating Difficult Situations
Most roommates have a great experience living together, and often form long-lasting relationships that extend beyond their college years. And even in the best of roommate relationships there will be disagreements and miscommunications that can lead to tension and hard feelings. Learning to navigate these times is a skill that has to be learned.
The most important thing you can do to work through difficult times is to talk about it. Don’t carry a grudge or deal with frustrations passive-aggressively. If you have a concern, find an appropriate time to bring it up when you are both in the room and have some privacy. Students can be very busy, so you may need to schedule a time when you can both agree to meet in your room or another comfortable location.
Starting the conversation is the hardest part. It is important to be clear and assertive without being overbearing or aggressive. Here are some helpful phrases that will help you kick start a difficult conversation:
- Thanks for taking the time to meet me. I wanted to talk to you about…
- There has been something on my mind, and I would like to talk to you about it.
- Something lately has concerned me, and I wonder if we can talk about it?
- Can I talk to you about something?
Think ahead of time about what you want to discuss, you may prefer to make a list, either mentally or on paper. Stick to the important points and don’t get caught up in bickering.
Next, be clear about what you expect from the conversation. Are you asking your roommate to change their behavior or habits? Are you talking about a specific incident or an ongoing pattern of behavior? Do you want to help your roommate understand you better, or are you seeking to understand something about them? Are you expecting a tangible change or outcome, or a change in attitude?
Finally, be confident! As long as you are honest and reasonable in your expectations, then you deserve to be heard, and you will feel much better when you have expressed yourself and successfully come to an understanding.
Finally, remember that your RA is there to help you! Seek them out if you would like some advice or support.
Room Freeze & Room Change
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, roommate situations simply don’t work out. Changing rooms is a last resort because it will require time and energy that you would rather invest in your academic work, but in the event that a room change becomes necessary you will work with your Community Director to identify available rooms and coordinate your move.
Room Freeze is in effect during the first two weeks and last two weeks of each semester. No room changes will be approved during these times.
Room Change begins with the third week of classes each semester. During this time students may work with their Community Director to request and coordinate their room change. All room changes must be approved by your Community Director and will incur a $100 Room Change Fee. You will then have 48 hours to complete your move and check out of your old room.
Loyola's residence halls tend to be very full, so room changes may not be an option, especially early in the year. Please be proactive in getting to know your new roommate, and be ready to work through problems as they arise.
Resources for Students and Parents
There are numerous resources available that will help you learn more about how to successfully live with a roommate. Here are a few hand-picked ones to get your started, and we encourage you to do some searching on your own! Let us know if you find a good one worth posting for others.
Contacting Your Roommate for the First Time
About.com: Making first contact with your roommate
Transition to Life with a Roommate
About.com: Living with a roommate: 10 tips for a good roommate relationship
Tips for Parents
Letting go:tips for parents of new college students
NPR: Coping with a college roommate (Audio segment w/ transcript)
About.com: Your child and his roommate: 5 tips for the first meeting
Washington Post: 9 tips on how to be a good college parent
Help your student handle roommate problems
University of Evansville: Getting to know your roommate
Sample of your roommate agreement: You will meet with your RA in the first two weeks of class to discuss an agreement similar to the one provided in this link!
Books for Students
Cohen, H. (2009). The naked roommate: And 107 other issues you might run into in college (3rd ed.). Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, Inc.
Fee, S. (2005). My roommate is driving me crazy!: Solve conflicts, set boundaries, and survive the college roommate from Hell. Avon, MA: Adams Media.
Howe, N., & Strauss, W. (2000). Millennials rising: The next great generation. New York: Vintage Books.
Malone, M. S. (2005). The everything college survival book: From social life to study skills-All you need to know to fit right in! (2nd ed.). Avon, MA: F+W Publications, Inc.
Books for Parents
Coburn, K. L., & Treeger, M. L. (2003). Letting go: A parent’s guide to understanding the college years (4th ed.). New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Johnson, H. E., & Schelhas-Miller, C. (2000). Don’t tell me what to do, just send money: The essential parenting guide to the college years. New York: St. Martin’s Press.