Entering college and embarking on your freshman year is one of the most exciting times of your life. You are anticipating all of the new friends that you are going to make, considering rushing a sorority or fraternity, and anxiously mapping out the class route schedule that will allow you to get from one side of campus to the other in 15 minutes or less.
You encounter so many people during your freshman year of college and acquaintances and friends can change rapidly. The one person who you will undoubtedly see on a consistent basis is your roommate and therefore, it is extremely important to be able to communicate well with them. At the beginning of living together, it is important to discuss some ground rules or any quirks that either of you has.
For instance, if you can’t stand country music, maybe mention that to your roommate so that they know not to play it on the speaker. If you’re a clean freak, establish some sort of chore chart or another way to keep each other and yourself accountable for any mess. As you and your roommate grow closer and spend time together, it is also important to note their behavior. If you have seen your roommate experience sudden behavioral changes, this could be indicative of a deeper issue and it is important to be able to notice any dangerous trends of behavior that your roommate may be participating in.
There are a variety of circumstances where your intervention may be necessary for the well being of your roommate and as the person who lives with them, you may be put in an uncomfortable situation where you will have to address the issue and try to get them help. Students go through issues all the time, whether it is homesickness, having a hard time adapting to college life, or social drama. However, when the issues are clearly deeper than those and are displayed by your roommate, that’s when you may have to get involved.
You never want to be harsh about approaching anyone with a problem, but consider going to them and very carefully acknowledging the difficulties that the other person is going through, try to relate to them, ask for their input about the situation, and from there, gauge how willing they would be to accept your help. In cases such as depression, this approach could help your roommate feel as if they are living with someone who truly cares and that they are not alone.
If they are unwilling to accept your help and are participating in genuinely dangerous behavior such as excessive drug use, cutting themselves, excessive alcohol consumption, or theft, then that may be a time when you should involve a professional or an authority figure. Most likely, you won’t encounter these issues with a roommate. But if a situation like this does occur, make sure you approach it in an appropriate and productive way.