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The Roommate Relationship: Surviving Finals

By Mariah Wahl
Mariah Wahl '16
Editor & English Major

Finals are tough part of every semester. Whether this is your first finals season or your eighth, it's easy to fall into the trap of anxiety and stress that pervades the end of the term. Roommate relationships are often a casualty of this time of year, as living in close quarters with another person can be grinding when you're stuck inside studying. If it's your first year living together, or you've been living together for years, it's sometimes difficult to get along during finals. Here are some tips to encourage healthy roommate relationships as the semester ends:

1. Organize your space now, for your sanity and your roommate's
When finals week rolls around, you won't have time to organize your desk, clean your room, or do your laundry. Not only is a messy room frustrating for your roommate, it's distracting and stressful for you during an already stressful time. Nobody wants to lose their one and only bluebook in a sea of disorganized papers one hour before the exam! Do yourself and your roommate a favor, and get organized before the extra anxiety sets in.

A clean room is a happy room-- with happy roommates. 

2. Exchange finals schedules
Let your roommate now when your big exams and essays are and keep track of their assignments as well. This lets you know when to be especially mindful of their time. Especially if either of you likes to study in the room, knowing when a roommate might be extra-stressed can help you be supportive. You might even leave a note or send them a message to wish them luck before a big exam.

3. Be extra conscientious and respectful of each other
Sometimes, the pressure of finals makes it easier to snap at the people closest to you. The extra stress can also make it easier to ignore important roommate boundaries ("I'm late to my exam, so I'll just take my roommate's last banana for breakfast" -- me in an inconsiderate roommate moment). Understand that your roommate has a tough finals schedule too. Be forgiving with them as well as hyper-conscious of their stuff and their space.

Be especially kind to one another during finals! 
4. Especially each other's sleep!
This is the most important part of a happy roommate relationship during finals. If you're up late studying and your roommate is resting before or after a big assignment, it's best to hit up the library or another study spot on campus. If you finish your finals before they do, don't celebrate loudly or late at night in the room. Trying to sleep before a big test while the people around you party the night away is frustrating and exhausting. If you and your roommate are respectful of one another's sleep, I guarantee there will be less disagreement and anxiety for you both.

5. Find ways to enjoy each other's company
Study breaks are important. Not only do they help you absorb material in small chunks, they keep you refreshed and ready to learn. Consider taking these breaks with your roommate to make some positive memories during finals. Pay attention to different finals week opportunities on campus-- visiting with animals, eating nachos, or just grabbing lunch together. Taking the time to remember that you like your roommate (or can at least tolerate them) will help you survive finals.

Reducing stress is good for you and good for the roommate relationship.
About Mariah 
Mariah Wahl is a senior at Trinity University, studying English and women's and gender studies. She is the editor of the Trinity Perspective as well as the Trinity Experiential Learning Blog. In her free time, Mariah enjoys running and being outdoors. Currently, she is training for her second half-marathon. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau sorority.  


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