Many college students heading off to campus residential life are on a crash course to Where The Wild Things Are. But unlike Max, who conquers the beasts by "staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once," they might not be able to deal with crass roommates quite so handily. Whether college living situations are monstrous or manageable depends on: consideration, communication, and successful conflict resolution. Since even the best of friends can overstep relational boundaries when residing under the same roof, many roommates are using a written contract to define acceptable behavior.
Whether your roomie is an old friend or a brand new acquaintance, keep your contract simple. If you don't want the roomie's boyfriend or girlfriend in your dorm room or apartment after 11pm, then say so. If your roommate gets migraines from your favorite punk rocker, then specify quiet hours. Determine housekeeping and food prep duties. Remember that all of a sudden your room isn't just for sleeping--it's a living room, a study hall, a kitchen, and a closet.
For conflict resolution, calmly define the problem to your roomie-not your Facebook friends. Discuss possible solutions and make necessary changes. If conflict continues, consult the Resident Assistant and attempt resolution again. If necessary, appeal to your Student Housing Department for intervention. Bottom line: if a roommate's ungodly habits are a snare, then employ the apostle Paul's foolproof solution….FLEE! (2 Tim. 2:22)
Sounds elementary, doesn't it? But somehow, even though students and suitcases make it safely to campus, good manners tend to get left behind in the dresser drawers at home. Communication and consideration of personal boundaries---yours and theirs--is the Gospel solution to living in community. Conquering beastly behavior begins in your own mind and heart, because what a person believes affects how they behave.