Every year, incoming Badgers flock to social media to find their roommate, bathroom mate, floormates, and housemates, hoping they’ll become their closest mates. You may be wondering how on earth you’ll get along with a roommate with different music taste, how to tell a messy roommate you aren’t comfortable with their cleanliness standards — or lack thereof — or if you’ll be friends at all. It can be a stressful time, so here are some words of wisdom, or at the very least experience, to help soothe some of those nerves.
Relationships take work! Even if you and your new roommate instantly click, it’s important to take time to build a good foundation with your new BFF if you want that friendship to last. Don’t be scared if you don’t hit it off right off the bat — here are some pro tips to consider.
Setting the ground rules is something you’ll notice a lot of folks around you doing — from professors with their syllabi, to your Don during meetings. Don’t be scared to open an honest discussion with your roommate about what you expect.
Luckily, there are a plethora of events happening during O-Week for you to partake in. Maybe those events seem a little intimidating at first — even small plans like getting lunch together are great.
Adjusting to university can be difficult, and sometimes it feels like there is pressure to become best friends for the rest of your life in the first few days. It is okay if you haven’t found the perfect squad by the end of welcome week, or if you and your roommate are civil but not BFFs. It can be hard to make friends when you’re expecting an all-or-nothing situation. Take time to focus on you! There is no one perfect way to get close to your roommates, and it isn’t the end of the world if it doesn’t happen immediately.
Conflict often has a bad reputation. We think of it as something to be avoided at all costs. However, healthy conflict is an important part of living with other people. Sometimes, it’s helpful to think of conflict resolution as conflict management instead.
Remember: feelings are key. If you say your roommate never cleans up, they may feel angry, because they can name several times that they did. However, if you say you feel frustrated when they don’t clean up as often as you do, they will be more inclined to hear you out. Nobody can deny how you, personally, are feeling, so sharing those feelings can be a powerful tool in conflict management.
Sometimes, you and your roommate struggle to work things out amongst yourselves. Many of us, coming into university, are still figuring out how to handle conflict. It’s okay to ask for help! You can ask your Don for help with the situation if you find your attempts haven’t been working. You could call a friend or family member back home for advice. Be cautious when asking folks who are close to the conflict, as it may come across as if you are trying to sway them to your side.
Fast Forward: you’ve finished first year and developed your conflict management skills. These are important skills moving forward, too. If you’re moving in with friends — or even roommates from first year — you can still apply those skills in your new home. Sometimes, relationships with old roommates fizzle out, and sometimes they’re long lasting. Either case is completely okay.
Sometimes, there’s pressure to find your second-year home early. Be sure to take your time to find a place you feel at home, and roommates you’re comfortable with. A great resource to find places to live following first year, arrange to sublet for a term, and more is the Brock Off-Campus Living website (BrockOCL.ca.)
Brock Society of Off-Campus Students provides first-year students living off-campus with opportunities to bridge the gap between school and home. Brock SOCS offers monthly events and programming, group mentorship, Niagara community engagement, friendship-building, on-campus involvement, resources and support as well as leadership skills development.
Brock SOCS membership gives students who are new to Brock access to tons of awesome events, a group mentor, opportunities to make other off campus friends. It also makes the first year transition easier, and increases your involvement in the Brock and Niagara communities. Join Brock SOCS and find your place at Brock.
Brock SOCS membership is just $35 for the year! Become a member today at brockslce.eventbrite.com.