The transition to college comes with a lot of changes. For many students it is the first time they are “on their own” and every aspect of life seems new.

Home-cooked meals around the kitchen table are replaced by swipes into the Dining Commons for a cafeteria buffet. Rides on the school bus turn into walks to class.

Homework assignments are now submitted online and we are forced to learn how to navigate Canvas to keep up with the technological component of courses. Most drastic of these adjustments is the transition to actually living somewhere new.

For most students the move means having a roommate for the first time. With a roommate in the mix comes a slew of potential problems.

We start out living on campus and most of us eventually move to off-campus apartments, but roommates are always a factor.

Sharing a living space can be much more affordable, having friends around can make long weeks of stressful classes seem to whiz by, but sometimes sharing a home with another person can be difficult.

How do you know when conflicts with a roommate have crossed the line of tolerable? Some problems are simple, like differing sleep schedules or the classic messy versus neat freak, but things can be more severe.

When I first moved in to Endicott College I lived in a single. The idea of moving in with someone after having my own space for so many years intimidated me and I decided to start off my dorm life solo.

Looking back I think that this might have hindered my abilities to socialize in the first few months of living away from home.

There is something very comforting about having a friend around when you are getting ready in the morning and someone to catch up with at the end of the day. During my time at Endicott I often felt lonely.

When I decided to transfer to Keene I chose to have a roommate.

As a sophomore I packed my things and headed to Keene State College. My roommate and I could not have been more opposite.

We hung out with different groups of people and engaged in different activities, but we shared a mutual respect for one another and got along fine.

During my junior year I had another new roommate whom I knew only from one casual lunch meeting before we moved in together.

Again, we were completely different but our respect for one another made the living situation work.

After enjoying my time spent living with strangers I decided that for my senior year I would move off campus into an apartment with a friend. How could it go wrong?

Over time things in our relationship shifted. Verbal shots were fired and our friendship had vanished. Although you do not have to truly love your neighbor, you do have to respect them.

When her negativity persisted and began to affect my focus on school I knew it was no longer wise for me to remain in our apartment.

I took action and removed myself from a negative situation, as I advise to anybody who feels their roommate is affecting their education.

Now, as a senior, I have returned to my original position of living in a single dorm.

At this point in my scholastic journey it is certainly the best option for my success. As students we must take action to provide ourselves with the best possible environments in which to learn and grow.

So when has it gone too far? When should you move out? Well, while this is a loaded question I think it can be answered.

Essentially, if you are in danger of being subjected to mental or physical abuse you must remove yourself from the situation.

As a young person struggling through the rigor of college you should not be stressed out by environmental factors.

If you feel unsafe or simply unhappy about where you live then search for alternative options. Home should be comfortable, safe and a place to feel, well, at home.

Arline Votruba can be contacted at

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