Surviving a Terrible College Roommate (& Beyond)

collegetips praticaltools society Sep 14, 2021

College. Some say it’s the best time of your life, full of parties, new people, and major procrastination. But if there isn’t something all the Google searches and YouTube vlogs might not prepare you for, it’s this: not all college roommates get along. 😲  As much as we want to think we’re going to be best friends with our roommates, unfortunately that isn’t always the case. Here are some tips and tricks to help you survive the semester.

Spotify and noise-cancelling headphones are a must. 

Sometimes our roommates might be a little loud while we’re trying to study, and we can’t seem to tune them out as we try to cram that last paragraph into an essay. When you’re trying to cram in the last paragraph of an essay, but your roommate is being too loud on the phone, just click over to a pre-made Spotify playlist. With the perfect music, you’ll be able to change the vibe from your roommate’s newest crush to whatever you want it to be. 

If you’re a college student, you’re eligible for the student discount over at Spotify. For only $4.99 a month, you can get Spotify Premium. With it comes Hulu, Showtime, and unlimited access to all of your favorite songs for a bargain price. For headphones, we recommend these and these as affordable, student-friendly options. With these in hand, you’ll be able to drown out any outside noise. 

Find spaces on campus where you can hang out. 

When you’re walking around your college campus, pay attention! There are usually nooks and crannies where you can hide from the rest of the world. When fighting with roommates my hiding spot of choice is an empty section of the library. It is quiet and comfortable, I can bring snacks, and watch television or do homework until midnight. I have even been known to bring my yoga mat or pillow if I know I’m going to be there awhile. Maybe if you’ll strike up a conversation with the girl who comes every day, too, perhaps you’ll find something in common. 


Know your limits. 

College is a really stressful and transitory time in life, and, at the end of the day, if your roommate situation is beginning to impact your mental health you need to learn to say no. Most campuses will offer free therapy sessions (but won’t advertise it!), and you’ll probably be given an older student to go to with housing needs. Discuss your options with another individual, and, if push comes to shove, don’t be afraid to switch rooms if the situation becomes toxic. College truly is the time to cultivate yourself and your mental health, so this is another learning curve you’ll need to discover and get through. 

Here are some suggested phrases that will help you express what you’re feeling to your roommate and set boundaries: 

  • “I” statements. Such as “I feel unheard when this happens.” By putting “I” at the beginning of the sentence, it emphasizes how this is about you and doesn’t sound like it’s blaming the other person. 
  • Repeat and clarify what the other individual is saying. In moments of conflict, sometimes we get lost in the emotions we’re feeling and that affects how we interpret another’s words and actions. By repeating, it shows you’re actually listening and are trying to understand them. 
  • Be very specific and assertive about your boundaries. If you aren’t being completely honest and avoid something that’s bothering you, it’s going to keep happening. However, don’t be passive-aggressive, as you might aggravate the situation further. 
  • “I need some time to step away from this. Can we discuss this later?” This helps in situations where there’s a lot of tension. If you give yourself and the situation some time, you may find yourself returning to the conversation calmer and with a clearer head to discuss what’s up. 

Roommates can be stressful! And the stress doesn’t end post-college either, that is why it’s critical that you learn ways to find calm, peace, healthy productivity, and rest when you are cohabitating with someone else. We totally understand your situation. But you can get through this, and with every bad experience comes a life lesson about yourself and the world around you. 

And don’t forget to build healthy routines to help cultivate mindfulness into your daily routine! Whether it’s journaling every night before going to bed, stretching and doing mini-yoga sessions in-between classes, or putting down your phone and just quietly people-watching, it’s important to ground yourself in the present moment away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. 

Movement Genius Approved Spotify Playlists: 

Self-Care Soundtrack 

The Authentic You

Main Character Vibes

College-Budget Yoga Mat (Good Quality!): 


Special thanks to guest contributor Ashley Hajimirsadeghi.


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