In a perfect world, a very wise psychologist will be sitting in the main office of the college dorms sorting potential boarders according to hometown, family background, personality traits and cultural beliefs. In the real world, however, room assignments are random at best, and you will have to live with the roommate assigned to you for the duration of your stay, or at least, your freshman year.
So, what do you do when you find out that you’re not getting a solo room, and that you have nothing in common at all with your roommate? Worse, you find out that your roommate embodies every pet peeve you have and has no regard whatsoever for what you think of him or her? In short, you’ve got a troll for a roommate, and you’re going to have to share your college home with this person for some time.
Since the obvious solution (running) is not an option, you have to deal with the situation the best way you can. Here are some ideas:
Keep your goals in mind
The generic advice given to marketers and entrepreneurs alike is this: develop a thicker layer of skin. This means being more resistant to bad habits of others, and not letting their attitudes get to you. But being thick skinned could make you oblivious, and if you’ve picked up on potential problems you might encounter in the future just by spending a few hours with your new roommate, you’re obviously not that. If your skin isn’t thick enough and every snide comment directed at you turns your head, don’t sweat it.
What you need to do is to concentrate on what you’re in college for. Your goals. You’re not about to let a minor setback in the form of a troublesome roommate keep you from successfully completing what you set out to do.
So, you deal. You compromise the best way you can and keep a lid on your temper. It becomes impossible to keep college stress at bay if you have to confront an uncaring roommate every time you’re in your dorm room. Remember, your determination to finish college must be stronger than your instinct to start a territorial fight with your roommate, no matter how deserved.
Lead by Example
The more time you spend in your dorm room, the more obvious it is that your differences with your new roommate are too great. Hence your current dilemma: how to educate your roommate without starting a fight. The answer is to lead by example and inform your roommate about changes you make in your room, no matter how small.
For example, if you think your roommate can do better in the hygiene department, be a stickler for proper hygiene yourself. Make no secret of the fact that you take a bath every night or in the morning. Ask permission if you intend to clean the space you share, so that you don’t accidentally throw away important stuff that has been lying around.
Your thick skin will develop naturally. As you become more skilled at dealing with the quirks of your roommate, you will understand how to cope better, and perhaps be one step closer to a truce of sorts.
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