Campus Life

 

Residence Hall Living for Upper-class Students


By now you probably have experienced at least one year of residence hall living at Thomas College, and, whether your previous roommate experiences have been very successful or less successful, you probably have a good idea of the importance of communication and respect in building a healthy living environment.

As an upperclassman, you have been allowed to make more choices to arrive at a living arrangement that will hopefully be specialized to your tastes and living styles. This includes such options as living in the new suite-style residence hall, the traditional residence hall, the Village or an apartment and maybe some new responsibilities for shopping, cooking, and cleaning, to being able to choose your roommate/suitemates.

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/suitemates you may be living with someone who is a good friend. Whether you are living in the residence halls, Village, or the Bartlett or Townhouse Suites, you are faced with sharing facilities and housekeeping duties. Also, you and your roommate/suitemates will most likely be presented with a new and different sense of community.

This is designed to help you and your roommate/suitemates 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/suitemates and discuss each of these items one by one. These are sometimes tough things to discuss; and if you don't remember what he or she says about a lot of these issues, your roommate/suitemates could decide you really weren't interested anyway.

Roommate/Suitemate/Friend

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

Often it is hard to talk about differences when you don't know your roommate/ suitemate 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/suitemate who you don't know very well, they 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 this semester are...
  •  The amount of sleep I like to get is...
  • Can I sleep with the lights on, or do I need total darkness...
  • Do I study with music playing in the background...
  • When I'm upset or down I act like...
  • When I am upset or annoyed with someone I...
  • When someone is upset or annoyed with me I like them to...
  • 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...

Community

Whether you live in the residence halls, Village, Bartlett Hall or the townhouses, you are still a part of at least one community (sometimes even more). Unlike your freshman year, you were able to choose your living arrangement. Your different environment allows the opportunity for change, growth, and a lot of fun.

However, it is important to understand that your fairly 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.

A good way to start building your community is to decide for yourself what kind of community you would like to create and what type of community is your Resident Assistant working to create. This is a good way to begin to know each other and to deal with those important issues that might otherwise be overlooked. The main issues to look at in considering community are:

  • 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/Suite activities?
  • How much would you like others to be involved?
  • How much interaction would you like/expect from friends outside of your room, suite, floor, etc.?
  • I suspect that living here will be different than living in my freshman hall/prior hall because...

Housekeeping

One of the typical areas of conflict between roommates/suitemates 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, cleaning the bathrooms, dusting, taking out trash, etc.

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 may include 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, 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?




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