November 24, 2020

By Austin Wells
Every new school year, many students move in with another person, often someone they’ve never met before. Sometimes these roommates turn out to be nothing like who
they expected, and can
create a difficult living situation for everyone involved. Some roommates are messy or unclean,
some are rude, and others don’t even stay in the
rooms, as one Conestoga student, second-year
public relations student Josh McKee, experienced.

“At first I was excited about my roommate. We texted for about a month and it seemed like we would become great friends,” McKee said. “The first night was when I knew we weren’t going to be great friends, because I saw him for five minutes and then he left to go to the Commons … He rarely if ever stayed at the place.”

Poor roommate situations are common in colleges and universities across Canada. Some people just can’t get along with others
in a living situation, or their personalities are complete opposites. In some instances, the whole experience is
just nightmarish, as Fanshawe College student Abigail Soares of Kitchener experienced with one of the roommates in her house.

“She was very unwelcoming …. Some of us would have friends over and she’d give them dirty looks for no reason,” Soares said. “It was just a lack of respect thing, and later we started to notice she’d steal from us. At first it was just food, but then spare change and large bottles of alcohol would go missing as well. It reached the point where if someone left a $20 bill out it was at risk of being stolen as well.”

Another Conestoga student, Owen Feliz, also in public relations, struggled with his roommate’s uncleanliness.

“He never showered and smelled awful,” Feliz said. “He never cleaned his room either, so that smelled awful too, and he would be constantly screaming at 3 a.m., as well as leaving garbage out in the kitchen all the time.”

While theft, hostility, absence and uncleanliness are awful things to deal with, Conestoga Residence’s staff said they are available to listen to complaints and act as a mediator between students and their roommates in the event of conflict.

“I would talk to both of them, to figure out what’s wrong, and to see if it’s something that we can deal with,” said Joenna Chung, a front desk attendant at the residence.

While conflict is sometimes unavoidable, both parties can try their best to avoid conflict and be good to each other. How can you be a good roommate?

“Try again and again to make plans,” McKee said. “You have to live together for a long time, and it will be a lot better if you are good friends. If things don’t go well, be the bigger person and don’t make it a battle. Forgive easy, because there’s nothing worse than living with someone you absolutely hate over something small and meaningless.”

“Don’t steal, and return the kindnesses and favours that your roommate does for you,” Soares said. “Make sure your roommate is comfortable and aware of the guests that you may bring in to avoid unpleasant surprises.”

“Be considerate of others,” Feliz said. “Don’t blast music or be loud late at night when other people are trying to sleep.”

But most importantly? Clean up after yourself as much as you can.

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