How to Navigate End-of-Semester Roommate Conflict

By Danielle Parrish, LIMHP

If you haven’t already, you can start your countdown to the end of the semester. During this time, some of you may be experiencing end of the year stress. This may be caused not only by deadlines and exams, but possibly by roommate struggles as well.

The final weeks of the semester may not be the end of your relationship with your roommate, but remember this is not the time to work through every detail of every annoyance you’ve ever had with them.

Instead, focus on a temporary, solution-focused plan to get you both successfully through finals week (Later you can work through those bigger issues that have been brewing over time — Counseling and Psychological Services can help you with that, too!):

  1. Communicate – Set clear expectations by being open, direct and respectful ahead of time about what you need in order to be successful. Then, ask them what they need and really listen! This sets the stage to allow for ongoing dialogue to keep each other on track and to remind your roommate if they are not respecting your needs during times of high stress.
  2. Have a plan – Post a schedule of each of your final exams/projects so you can each be aware of the others’ level of stress throughout the coming weeks.
  3. Take accountability for YOU by practicing good self-care – Prioritize your sleep, nourish your body, stay physically active, shower(!), meditate, listen to relaxing music, spend time with friends and laugh.
  4. Support your roommate – Remember that they are stressed, too, and be there to support them, but also know your limits. Encourage them to rely on their friends and family and to reach out for professional support if needed.
  5. Get out of the room/apartment/house – Whether it’s a walk in the fresh air, a study session at the library or a coffee break downtown, just make an effort to change your scenery and take breaks from your roommate.
  6. Apologize when appropriate – We all make mistakes. If you’ve been the person who has taken out your stress on an unsuspecting, undeserving roommate, apologize! Then take some time to relax and do something fun together: watch Netflix, get ice cream or sit by the fountains at the Union.

CAPS is here if you need to talk. We offer individual counseling, free support groups, therapy groups and much more. Schedule an appointment by calling 402.472.7450.

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