Weeks before the fall semester begins, Plattsburgh State students are able to log into a portal full of roommate profiles.
Each student is required to answer questions such as “Are you most active in the morning, afternoon or evening?” and “Are you substance-free?”
These questions are used to sort out some of the technicalities of sharing a miniscule room with someone but do not allow students to determine if their personalities will click.
Twenty-five percent of college students reported roommate problems, according to a study done by Boise State University. These issues have been found to directly affect a student’s GPA, especially during freshman year, according to a study done by Dartmouth College. This means that not only are having roommate issues bad for a student’s mental wellbeing, but it is also bad for his or her academic success.
PSUC junior psychology major Alexis LaPage and junior art major Kathleen Recore are two highschool friends from Malone, who reunited as roommates in Plattsburgh. LaPage has attended PSUC since her freshman year, and Recore transferred in after attending a community college back home for a couple years. They knew they wanted to be each other’s roommate.
“We kind of have the same personality,” LaPage said. “We’re also total opposites in that she brings out a different side of me, I bring out a different side of her.”
However, LaPage hasn’t always had such a compatible roommate relationship. She had two other roommates, one of whom she didn’t have anything in common with, so they never spoke. She faced communication issues with the other one as well, leading to unexpected guests and a messy room.
Both LaPage and Recore recollected a time they faced conflict but were able to work it out by giving each other space for a small period of time, followed by a discussion about it.
“We are comfortable enough around each other enough to where we can tell each other what’s going on and how we feel.” Recore said. “The difficult part is that sometimes we don’t want to hurt each other’s feelings.”
“The most common one is trouble communicating with their roommate,” residence assistant of Harrington Hall Chelsea Garvey said.
She also said it is common for roommates to struggle with differences in sleep and social schedules.
Other common problems brought to Garvey include cleanliness, exchanging room codes to others without the roommate’s permission and concern for roommate’s mental health.
“I basically ask both of them if it’s OK if we meet up, and if they can’t resolve it themselves, I ask them to come to either my room or the office, and we do this thing called the ‘golden triangle.’” Garvey said. “We all sit in a circle at the same eye-level, and everyone gets to communicate their thoughts and feelings with me as the mediator.”
Garvey suggests those experiencing even seemingly small roommate issues should refer back to the roommate contract every resident fills out and signs at the start of the semester.
“Just so that they can be reminded of the rules that they created themselves,” she said.
Email Alana Penny at firstname.lastname@example.org