College is a time of many “firsts”, especially for incoming freshmen. One of these major “firsts” is moving into a new dorm and getting assigned random roommates to spend the year with. Moving away from home can be an exciting yet scary time for new students, and many are unsure of what to expect. Having roommates can give new students the opportunity to create friendships in a place where they don’t know anyone, and have a solid support system throughout the school year.
Other times, roommates who get paired together may not mesh well which inevitably causes conflict to arise. It is not uncommon for students to run into problems with roommates throughout the year. Fortunately, when conflict does occur, students have their resident assistants to help guide them through the process and provide them with the best housing experience possible.
Molly Deichmann is a sophomore RA at the Scott Court dorms on campus. Deichmann is trained to handle whatever conflicts her residents come to her with, and is able to recognize when she needs to get involved. Her goal is to always be there for her residents and make sure they are having a pleasant college experience.
“From an RA’s point of view, usually we try to encourage roommates to deal with the issues themselves before contacting an RA. We are there to help, but in college we are all adults. If your roommate doesn’t do the dishes and it bothers you, you need to be able to have a conversation with your roommate before calling me. If you have tried to communicate and it doesn’t work out, that is when it is necessary to call me [the RA].”
In every building, each room is required to sign a roommate agreement. The agreement acts as a contract for roommates to uphold while they live there such as staying quiet past a certain hour, guest visits and chores. Deichmann uses the agreement throughout the year when residents run into issues.
“It’s like a set of guidelines that you can refer to. If something happens that you don’t like, we can say ‘hey, we talked about this before’ and go back to the agreement and the rules we set before. That’s usually pretty helpful, but if it’s a big problem we have the students check back in and go from there.”
Deichmann encourages her residents to stay involved on campus, and the RAs coordinate events in the building to help residents get to know each other and bond with their roommates.
“We hold floor events, building events and events between buildings. We do this to encourage our residents to get out and get to know each other. I try to always leave my door open so they will come talk to me. Sometimes you will get residents that won’t want to leave their room, so we post bulletin boards with information about different events happening on campus which is less interactive and a better option for certain residents.”
Deichmann keeps her residents busy with fun activities throughout the week such as hosting events like having breakfast for dinner, game nights and ice skating. They also host a “welcome week” at the beginning of the year for residents to feel welcomed at the dorms and get to know other residents.
“My freshman year, I realized how important it was to be involved on campus and how it’s not hard to take the initiative to do so. UNO has so much to offer for campus involvement, so I try to encourage my residents as much as I can to go out and find their place on UNO’s campus. I keep them informed and act as an advocate to help them with whatever questions they have about the different clubs and organizations. Aside from it helping you have a better college experience, it’s going to help you so much in the future and the rest of your life.”