Unruly roommates can cause problems for some

by NICOLE COOKE, Digitalburg

Everyone has had that one roommate who ate your Ramen, never bought toilet paper, wouldn’t take out the trash, and stayed up until 3 a.m. watching TV when they knew you had a 8 a.m. class.

Brandon, a junior, went through three roommates his freshman year. “The first one was really weird. He wore girl jeans, straightened his hair, and had more hair products than any girl I know,” Brandon said.

Roommate No. 1 also had a girlfriend, who spent the night often, and would even stay in the room when her boyfriend wasn’t there.

Finally, after five weeks, roommate No. 1 and his girlfriend moved back home together, and Brandon spent the rest of first semester in a single room.

During second semester, Brandon met roommate No. 2. He was part of the second-chance program. He had been convicted of armed robbery, but was trying to better his life and go to college.

“He told me not to leave my money on the table,” Brandon said. “He said he wouldn’t take it, but his friends probably would.”

A few weeks later, No. 2 left for the night, but at around midnight, Brandon heard a knock on the door. “I thought he forgot his keys, so I woke up and answered the door,” Brandon said. “Turns out, it was two police officers.”

Brandon then learned that roommate No. 2 had been arrested for possession and their room now needed to be searched. Brandon had to stand by, half-asleep, and watch as the police searched through their things. Nothing was found, and an hour later, roommate No. 2 came back.

“I asked him what happened and all he said was that he didn’t want to talk about it,” Brandon recalled.

Brandon and roommate No. 2 had been hanging out with another set of roommates. They decided to switch, and Brandon finally had his choice of roommate.

Most roommates don’t have to deal with the police, but they do have to deal with strange things.

Freshman Drew’s roommate told him one night that he frequently makes fun of himself by making gay jokes. Drew wasn’t sure what to think, so he just nodded and moved on. His roommate slowly brought new items into the room – bright teal rugs, fluffy pink pillows. He also brought a friend over and they made gay jokes together.

“It was really awkward,” Drew said.

His roommate claimed to be straight, although all signs pointed elsewhere. Finally, the night before Drew switched rooms, they were talking about his leaving. “He said he was fine with it,” Drew said, “because his friend could move in and sleep with him all the time. It was weird, even on that last night.”

The stories of unwelcome guests spending the night, missing clothes, and messy rooms can be heard from many freshmen throughout campus the first weeks of school.

To help ease these problems, every floor in a residence hall has a community advisor that is trained to resolve conflicts.

Beth Little was a CA for three years, and said she had her fair share of dealing with strange and sometimes humorous roommate issues.

“Many problems seemed to involve food,” Little said. “I had a resident that was upset because their roommate ate some of their Oreos.”

“Talk it out,” Little advised. “A lot of times, roommate mediation solves the problems because the roommates just don’t want to talk to one another and explain how they feel.”

UCM Housing requires all roommates to fill out a roommate agreement, with questions ranging from how each roommate feels about overnight guests, to who is financially responsible if items are broken or lost and what the rules are pertaining to food.

The agreement also has a discussion section, where roommates are asked to complete the following sentences: “I get ‘angry/frustrated’ when…” and “When I am down or upset, I…”

Thanks, UCM Housing. This roommate agreement definitely made things less awkward than they already were.