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Advice at Case: roommate rumbles

Adept Annie, Advice Expert

Issue date: 10/10/08 Section: Focus
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Dear Adept Annie,
I'm a freshman, and as an only child, this is my first time ever even dreaming of having to share a room. My roommate is one of the messiest people I have ever met, and more than once, I've found her food, clothes, and books on my bed and my desk. Also, she's taken to skipping her two morning classes and sleeping in, and she freaks out if I turn on the light to study. Lastly, she brings loud people over all the time, and has no respect for my personal space or the fact that it is my room too. Even when I've tried to talk to her about it, she just doesn't listen. I'm ready to pull out my hair....what do I do?
Quickly Balding

Dear Quickly Balding,
This is a sticky situation that could be solved in a few different ways - some more confrontational than others. Being that the odds swing in favor of you having to live with this girl for the rest of the year, I would recommend you stay in the nice territory. Before all that hair is gone, let's lay out some steps for you to take to make sure there isn't a battle of epic proportions in your room.
Try one more time to sit your roommate down and really stress how important it is that she respects your space. This is just as much your room as it is hers, and it doesn't hurt to try the direct approach again. Perhaps make a list of the things that you require to keep the peace - all while emphasizing how important it is that you two stay on good terms. While she may not be your best friend, it is certainly better than leaving freshman year with an enemy.
If this doesn't work, it's definitely time to try outside sources. If you're not too excited about getting the university involved, try talking to just your RA - he or she should be able to help stress how important it is that the two of you cohabitate without killing each other. RAs are trained to deal with these kinds of horribly awkward situations and could make the entire process a lot easier.
And if this doesn't work, it might be time to file a complaint. Since you've hopefully talked to your RA at this point, make it clear that you need some kind of action - perhaps to the extent of a roommate change. Though this can be a difficult ordeal, you deserve a quiet space to call your own at the end of the day. Going to your residential college's first-year coordinator can make this that much simpler if you'd like to solve the problem quickly.
With the help of the university officials provided to you, you don't have to go this alone. The RAs and coordinators are there for you, and should be able to remedy the situation; while allowing you to keep all your hair.

If you have a question that you'd like to ask our crackpot team of experts, drop us an e-mail at . We'd be more than happy to help!
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