Being randomly assigned a college roommate is akin to opening a box of chocolates! To quote Forrest Gump, “You never know what you’re gonna get!” I like to “try” to prepare my students for this because it can make or break their college experience. The saying that “you really don’t know someone until you live with them” is completely true. I was fortunate in my college experience to have great roommates, whom I got along well with, but not everyone is so lucky! This lesson tries to prepare them for the various types of “roomies” they could encounter and how to deal with each in a constructive way.
- Take the following surveys to see what kind of roommate you’d be: Roommate Readiness Quiz or The Roommate Compatibility Quiz.
- Poster Supplies
- Skit Props
- Discuss that students could possible encounter all types of scenarios and roommates in college. To introduce some of the personalities and qualities of perspective roommates, I count students off into 5 groups and break the article titled “Back to School: The 5 Kinds of Roommates You’ll Meet in College and How to Survive Living with Them” (see attachment below) into the 5 different types, giving each group a one of the categories.
- After reading about their roommate types, the group creates and performs a skit to introduce their type of roommate called “What’s a Roommate to Do?”. Students write their own scripts and supply their own props. They also have to create a visual to help explain the roommate, characteristics and ways to deal with them.
- As students perform their skits and visuals, the audience takes notes and completes the chart which they will refer to later.
- Provide students with this article on “How to Deal with a Bad College Roommate” to help them see constructive ways to handle disagreements.
- Share the Dear Abby College Roommate Letter with students. This is a true story shared with me by a friend/colleague and the author wishes to remain anonymous. However, she did give me permission to use it. After students get over being appalled by this type of behavior, I ask them to respond as Dear Abby would in a letter, addressing and providing solutions to at least four different problems mentioned in the situation. Students may refer to their class resources to aide them in their response.
- Students do turn their responses in for a grade, but we do discuss some of the possible solutions to the problems mentioned. I do fill them in that the room had to be evacuated due to the hazardous material left on the floor, a citation for destruction of school property was issued and eventually the author moved out and got a new roommate because the guilty party found it too awkward to discuss.So, I guess some problems are just too difficult to overcome and that’s when you request a new roomie!
- What’s a Roommate to Do (PPT)
- What’s a Roommate to Do Activity and Article (PDF)
- Dear Abby College Roommate Letter (PDF)
- Penn Live Article: Back to School: The 5 Kinds of Roommates You’ll Meet in College and How to Survive Living with Them”
- US News & World Report: “How to Deal with a Bad College Roommate”
Image courtesy of Nenetus at Free Digital Photos