Residence Hall Living: The Sequel

By now you probably have experienced at least one year of residence hall living at Whitman, and you probably have a good idea of the importance of communication and respect in building a healthy living environment.

student huddle

As an upperclassman, you have selected a living arrangement that will hopefully be specialized to your tastes and living styles. As a result you may be confronted with many living issues you were not faced with before. For example, since you were able to choose your own roommate you may be living with someone who is a good friend. If you are living in College House or an interest house, you are faced with sharing facilities and housekeeping duties.

This pamphlet is designed to help you and your roommate(s) talk about issues which you may not have considered before or which may be more difficult to bring up later. Like always, communication is a key to a good roommate relationship. Sit down with your roommate and discuss each of these items.

top


Roommate/Friend

It is often assumed that good friends make good roommates. Whether your roommate is a good friend, an acquaintance, or a total stranger, it takes a special effort to maintain a healthy roommate relationship.

Often it is hard to talk about differences when you don't know your roommate very well; it can be even more difficult to talk about important living issues with a friend because you optimistically assume you know each other well enough and will have no problems.

Also, as with a roommate who you don't know very well, your roommate may have living habits that you are not aware of. Because it can be hard to bring up these issues, here are some questions that might be helpful:

  • The kind of music I enjoy is...
  • The kind of grades I would like to get are...
  • The amount of sleep I like to get is...
  • When I'm upset or down I act like...
  • When I am upset or annoyed with someone I...
  • I am looking forward to our living arrangement this semester because...
  • Some of my pet peeves are...
  • The way I let people know what I'm feeling or what I need is...

top


Community

Whether you live in a residence hall or an interest house, you are still a part of at least one community . Unlike your first year, you were able to choose your living arrangement. Your different environment allows the opportunity for change, growth, and a lot of fun.

Your new more autonomous community must be fueled by you and your living mates. It is important to be conscious of these different relationships and to realize that a pleasant and successful community requires some effort.  Start building your community by talking with others you live with about the kind of community you would like to create. This is a good way to learn more about each other and to deal with those important issues that might otherwise be overlooked:

  • Extent of interaction/privacy
  • What type of relationships do you want/expect/hope for from the people you are living with?
  • How much would you like to be involved in Hall/House activities?
  • How much interaction would you like/expect from friends outside of your room, section, house, etc.?
  • I suspect that living here will be different than living in my first year hall/prior hall because...

top


Housekeeping

One of the typical areas of conflict between roommates is who cleans the room and when it is cleaned. You may be one who never notices the mess until you realize you can't get to your bed at night without stumbling over clothes and junk...or you may be just the opposite.

It is helpful to discuss housekeeping issues right away, before each person gets used to doing their own thing, and conflicts may be taken more personally. Important housekeeping issues include vacuuming, making beds, dusting, taking out trash, and cleaning the kitchen lounge. Also:

  • On a scale of very neat and very messy, I am...
  • The way I feel about a few things laying around is...
  • If I am being to messy I would like you to...
  • A comfortable living environment for me is...

Another important new aspect of your living situation is sharing facilities such as a main lounge, a kitchen, and bathrooms. These will need to be cleaned and supplied often. It is also important to come up with some systems of buying and paying for groceries.

  • The way I feel about sharing facilities (i.e.. bathrooms) is...
  • The way I feel about privacy is...
  • I don't mind sharing bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, etc. with others as long as...
  • The way I feel about sharing things (shampoo, toothpaste, groceries, detergent, etc.) is...
  • Will you share groceries or buy your own?
  • Will you share/go in together on common kitchen and household items?
top