By John Hughey
Around this time each year, we begin the rollout of Housing Selection for the next academic year. For our rising Sophomore students and students who transferred into UMW, this is the first time they will be able to have full control over their roommate group and the space they select. This additional freedom can come with some unexpected challenges. For students who have been through the process before, this is a chance to re-evaluate their choices and potentially make a change for next year. Our Coordinator of Housing Operations will have more information on helping your students navigate the Housing Selection process in general, but this week I want to focus on a topic that needs to be broached before roommate groups are finalized on March 10.
When your student talks to their roommate about the living situation for next year, it is important that they are able to explain the reasoning behind their decision. Some of the biggest conflicts that we see stem from students making offhand comments to their roommates without thinking about how that might make the roommate feel. Taking the time to think things through in regards to their reasons for wanting to either keep the same living situation or change things up can help avoid hurt feelings and help to maintain an amicable relationship. It will also help your student match up with a potential new roommate if they are aware of things to look for. We still have half of a semester ahead, so taking the time to communicate clearly can save your student from potential awkwardness in the room.
Your students have now spent close to six months with their newfound community and have likely learned a lot about themselves and their fellow Eagles along the way. They might be excited to live with their current roommate next year (yay!) or they might be thinking about changing things up to have a fresh start (also yay!). It is important to reflect back on what they have learned this year about their living preferences in order to help inform their decision for the coming year.
You can find numerous blogs and articles that provide tips on what to look for when selecting a roommate like:
- Making lists of desired qualities in a roommate or living situation based on their experience
- Thinking about “deal breakers”
- Taking into account which style of living space they want to live in
While those are handy in helping to identify areas to look for, your student already has experience living with someone and is not likely to need all of the advice listed in those resources. Your student should also be aware of resources specific to UMW like the roommate matching tool that is found in the Housing Portal. We also have several Themed Living Communities that might be of interest to your student if they are looking for a potential roommate that shares common interests.
To help keep things easy to remember, I have boiled down the above into two main concepts.
- Take the time to think things through
- Communicate clearly and respectfully
As always, we are here to help if your student needs it. They can talk to their RA, set up a meeting with one of our professional staff members, or take advantage of some of the other resources on campus if they are nervous about having this conversation.