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How to Deal with Roommates During the Stress of Midterms

It’s midterm week. You’re all tired. You’re all stressed. You’re all on edge. Everything is a battle, from not putting new toilet paper on the roll to leaving a dish in the sink. How do you deal? After a year of living with people, I’ve figured out a few steps you can take to managing your roommates when patience is thin and tension is on the rise. 

Courtesy: Pinterest

1. Breathe.

Of course you don’t want to hear all the petty things your roommates are complaining at you about, but patience is key. When you want to snap back with some retort because you’re equally as stressed as they are and don’t want to deal with it: pause. Take a really deep breath, maybe even two. It’s important to realize that being quick to react is only going to make things worse. In the midst of your all-nighters at the library and trying to make sure you’re on top of your homework, tests, cooking and cleaning, the last thing you need is a pissed off roommate. So breathe. Think about what you’re going to say before you say it. Respond calmly.

2. Walk away.

If you can’t dig up the patience to respond calmly and kindly, walk away. By removing yourself from the situation, you ease a great deal of tension. If this is your response, however, just give your opponent some indication that you just need to step away. There’s no shame in saying, “I can’t handle this right now so I’m going in the other room for a bit,” or “I’m really stressed, can we talk about this later?” This will work out a whole lot better for you than walking away and risking something being thrown at your back because your roommate thinks you’re just being rude.

3. Choose your battles.

It’s also really important to know what’s worth fighting over and what’s not. Toilet paper is not serious enough to be locked in a war for a week. It’s WAY too much wasted energy. A simple solution for both of you is to let it go. If you didn’t refill the role, apologize and move on. If you’re the one stuck on the toilet without anything to wipe with, a simple “hey you forgot to refill it” would suffice. Nasty notes and yelling matches are unnecessary. YOU and you alone have the power to decide if something is worth the fight.

4. Be understanding.

When you’re stressed and exhausted, you want people to be sympathetic and courteous. That’s a normal, human trait. However, it’s important that you are sympathetic and courteous to those around you who are also stressed. Playing loud music or talking loudly late at night when your roommate is trying to sleep isn’t the best way to handle the situation. You know that they have their early morning class the next day so being considerate can go a long way. You wouldn’t want anyone to be doing this to you, and if you’re the one who has to be up early the next day and your roommate won’t be quiet, there’s nothing wrong with kindly asking them to turn it down a couple notches. This will work out so much better than sitting in your bed for two hours cursing your roommate, then complaining about it for the next two days. Nobody really likes living with other people, but in order to make it the best experience possible, we have to be understanding and respectful of each other.

5. Decompress.

The best way to avoid the added stress of frustrated roommates is to take time for yourself. If school is taking its toll on you, make time to do something relaxing or that you enjoy. This will help ensure that you’re in best mindset possible when your roommate comes at you with the dish you left in the sink overnight. Take a yoga class, take a nap, read your favorite book: It’s essential to replenish your energy when you’re going through a tough time. It will work out better for everyone if you have a little added positive energy flowing around you. Who knows, maybe you can get your roommate to go with you so you both have a little less stress.

Living with people in college is really hard but it’s an important experience to have. It helps you build your people skills and learn patience. These things will carry you through the rest of your life. Hopefully these tips will help you juggle all that comes with having roommates. Hopefully by the time finals week rolls around, you’ll have it down.

Writer & editor. Pursuing dreams. Editing, Writing and Media and Mass Media Communications double major.
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