An RA shares how Iowa students can get the most of out of their roommate experience
Living with a roommate can be tricky, but Hillcrest Residence Hall RA, Laxmi Annapureddy, believes the benefits will always outweigh any struggles that sharing your space can bring. Annapureddy, a Journalism and Mass Communication and Neuroscience double major is in her first year as an RA. She herself enjoyed living with a roommate her freshman year in the residence halls, and has already noticed the benefits that living with a roommate offers her residents.
Reflecting on her own first year experiences, Annapureddy notes that having an embedded partner to help adjust to the challenges of college life was really helpful. Having a roommate meant there was someone to explore campus with and someone that would check in on her if she ever needed it. She said, “Having a roommate made me feel a little less isolated in the college experience.”
For many students, this feeling of loneliness is a part of the transition to college, but Annapureddy feels that living with roommates can help students the way it helped her. “I think one of the things that many students with roommates express is that having a roommate allows you to have a study buddy, someone to motivate you, or someone to make sure you’re eating and taking care of yourself.” As an RA, feels reassured knowing that roommates often look out for each other, and will ask for help if they have any concerns about each other.
For incoming residents, Annapureddy suggests completing a roommate agreement form and setting the standards for roommate living when the year begins. RAs, Hall Coordinators, and hall staff are there to guide new residents through issues that could occur while living together. Getting to know each other’s living habits and communication styles are good ways to start off on the right foot. If conflicts do arise, Annapureddy says that communication is a key to resolving that conflict. It’s important for a student to try to understand someones intentions and perspective, which are imperative to a successful resolution.
“People think that it will be really uncomfortable after they bring a concern up to their roommate, but they don’t realize that it kind of solves things for the rest of the semester too, the problem probably won’t come up again if they bring it up now. So most of it is just communication and mutual respect at a fundamental level. Tell your roommate if you’re uncomfortable with something. You can reach out to your RA, see if your tone is okay, and if you’re phrasing it right, but communicate as much as possible.”
For residents who exhibit healthy communication styles and respect, living with roommates can open doors to creating new friendships, getting out of your comfort zone, and transitioning to college life more smoothly. As for advice Annapureddy would have given herself during her own roommate experience freshman year, she says, “There are so many people in your residence hall to help you navigate these relationships. From the RAs to the hall coordinators and professional staff, so many people care about you!”