Sharing living space: not for everyone

For many students, leaving home and entering the real world can be a stressful experience. Because of the challenges that accompany having to move in and share a space with a roommate, living with a roommate could be a negative experience.

In some instances, problems with roommates have resulted in violence, court dates and even torn friendships.

Frank Windham-Milton, 22, a senior music education student from Lakeland, and Pierrette Jules, 22, a senior social work student from Fort Lauderdale, said they had severe problems with their roommate last semester. Milton and Jules said their landlord decided to give them a roommate without their consent. Milton and Jules said they had constant confrontations with the newcomer because of her failure to pay the light bill and other utilities. The situation resulted in a domestic case.

When Milton and Jules confronted the roommate about the light bill, they said things got out of hand.

“Over the Christmas break we informed her that the lights would be turned off, and she would have to put them in her name if she wished to have the power back on,” Milton said. “She went senile and bleached all of our clothes…she wrecked the house. We called the police and she was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree felonies with the intent to kill. She was also charged with criminal mischief.”

Not only did the roommate leave Milton and Jules without clothing, but she left them in a world of financial troubles.

“At this moment, we are waiting for the trial date,” Milton said.

While some problems with roommates exist off campus, others happen in the dorms.

 Sheila Josil, 19, a freshman business administration student from Palm Beach, said recently there have been a number of students who decided to switch their rooms and roommates because of ongoing problems. She is one of many students involved in roommate changing.

“My roommate changed rooms because she said she didn’t like my friends and that we had different views on education,” Josil said. “She even said she didn’t feel comfortable in the room. I told her it wasn’t my job to cater to her and make her feel comfortable.”

Some individuals have found the room changes to be quite helpful.

“I get along great with my new roommate because we kind of had the same roommate problems in the past,” Josil said. “Me and her are very considerate of each other.”

In order to get along with your roommate, Lotoyia Armstead, a Cropper Hall residential assistant, recommended taking certain steps to make living arrangements a positive experience.

“When you first move in with your roommate, make sure you establish house rules in the very beginning of the semester, or you can even write out a contract between each other,” said Armstead, 19, a sophomore nursing student from Tampa. This could help prevent anything from going wrong because all parties will know exactly what is expected of them.”

Although problems with roommates may seem unfixable, there are actually many ways you can help prevent and solve conflicts.

Web sites like Http:// is one of many that gives advice on how to get along with roommates. It also has helpful conflict resolution tips.