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The Close Friend Conflict of On-Campus Living

roommateWhen Amanda Barnum re­turned for her sophomore year at the University, she was excit­ed like most students about the thought of moving away from home again and into a suite style dorm. At the end of the lottery process the previous year, she requested to live with her close friend, thinking that everything would go smoothly. She would soon find out that it would be quite the opposite.

This was based around the popular belief that all close friends will be good roommates, when in fact, it is more impor­tant that one gets along with the other’s living habits. This puts a damper on what is supposed to be a smooth experience, es­pecially when a student has re­quested to room with someone they know well. Barnum said, “I chose to live with my best friend my sophomore year in Spruce Hall.”

Spruce, like many of the fresh­men dorms, is a suite style, put­ting tensions on the whole suite. In this case, the suite consisted of seven girls instead of a double or triple traditional room. For quite some time, the decision whether to move out or have a talk with the RA was considered to save the friendship and not interfere or get the other suite­mates involved. This also means that even though there are multi­ple rooms, everyone has to share the same common area, unlike a double room dorm which con­fines two to three people to a double or triple room.

Barnum said, “I did not like my freshman roommates so I de­cided to look around for people I know in the Educational Oppor­tunity fund program to live with. To make matters worse, I got a very high lottery number limit­ing my options.”

Most students who want a suite prefer that they know all of their suitemates. Barnum only knew a couple of them prior to move-in day, adding to the night­mare at hand.

In sophomore suites and apart­ments, the RA is more of a moni­tor figure. More is expected in terms of conflict resolution since it is advised that students move off campus the following year. This is a very tight gripping resi­dential nightmare that involved the whole suite since it is very close with seven residents.

“We decided that we did not make good roommates but we wanted to keep our friendship,” said Barnum. This decision was not made lightly since Barnum knew that her friendship could be at stake if one of them decid­ed to move out of the building. It also could have allowed for a new person to transfer in later in the term, further exacerbating the situation for everyone still in the room.

Barnum did not seek help, but tried to talk it out with her room­mate and think about a way that they could both stay in the same suite without fighting about the situation. “Instead of being im­mature and moving out of the building, I moved into another room within the suite,” said Bar­num. This other room was not occupied by another person and allowed her to stay with her cur­rent friends for the rest of the year instead of trying to find an empty room to transfer to or ap­ply to live off campus in a rental.

One of the most important experiences while living in the residence halls is to learn how to cope with conflict. Behind this nightmare comes a very important life lesson which can be useful moving forward and can be taught to others. Just be­cause someone is a close friend does not mean it will be wise to live together in the same suite or room and that it is some­times more important to save the friendship than have a rough semester due to living arrange­ments and space.

Barnum said, “We could live together in the same area but not in the same room. Doing this saved our friendship and the san­ity of the suite.”

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