What to Do When Tensions Run High
Tests, projects, papers, lack of sleep, and stress. Midterms can be summed up in these four words. Mid-semester can be a difficult time for many students. Eight-week classes are ending and having finals, and full semester classes are lining up for their midterms. With all of this stress, students do not want to have to worry about their roommate situation on top of everything else, yet they most likely will.
So, why does it seem mid-semester brings out the worst roommate situations? In an interview with Shea Nehiba, the assistant director of Resident Life, the biggest issue brought to light was stress. When we get stressed, we start to take it out on other people. The easiest people to blow up at are those we are closest to: the people who share a bed three feet from yours. During times of extreme stress, all the little things that a roommate does starts to seem like really big issues.
For example, your roommate likes to turn the lights on at six in the morning as they are getting ready for their eight o’clock class. You, on the other hand, hate being woken up by the light being turned on when you do not have class until ten. Normally, this type of behavior is not an issue, but adding stress to the mix can blow it out of proportion.
Nehiba said, “It can also be due to the fact that most students are at the bottom of the W curve right now.”
The famous W curve was introduced to most students during their orientation, and they have been warned of the effects it may cause. At the top of the curve students feel happy, successful, and like they are in a good place. Yet, when the bottom of the W curve hits, students start to feel sad, lonely, helpless, and confused. Nehiba says that combining the feelings a student has at the bottom of their W curve along with the midterm stress can be a fatal combination for some roommate duos.
Inevitably, some rooming situations do not work out for the best. In these situations, usually one of the roommates will move out and get a new roommate.
In response to how often this happens, Nehiba responded, “It really just depends on the year. Every grade of students is different.”
She also remarked that the number of roommate switches that have already occurred this year has been relatively low. Nehiba also offered some suggestions for working out roommate issues within the confines of the room.
- Talk it out in person. Do not do it over text. Attempt a face to face conversation to attempt and alleviate the problem.
- The 24-hour rule. If something is bothering you, you have 24 hours to address it with your roommate. If you do not, you have to let it go.
- Remember that you are different people, coming from different places. You are going to live differently and have different habits, but striving for peace is key.
If all else fails or the problem gets out of hand, go talk to your Resident Advisor. They have received training on how to deal with roommate issues. Beyond your RA, Nehiba and Brittany Heilman are also good resources to discuss rooming issues. If the problems you are suffering are more personal, the school counselors are a great resource and are located in Tower 2150.