Fall in the forest is officially underway! While our trees haven’t yet shifted into their famous golden hues, we’ve welcomed the beginnings of cooler weather and a campus full of life.
For all on-campus students, several important messages were sent out as semester kick-off reminders for how to stay safe and healthy from our Housing team:
Supporting Your Student During a Roommate Conflict
Students are settling into a routine both academically and socially and well you guessed it, roommate relationships have begun to change like the leaves. September is usually the point when the newness has worn off and the little things start to frustrate – so much so that students feel the only alternative is to flee the situation via a room change. While a room change may end up being the result, we encourage students to utilize active listening and mediation techniques that may address the concerns and allow the two individuals to remain where they currently live. As parents and family members, you can partner with us in a variety of ways – most importantly through your own understanding of the process and helping your student(s) understand as well.
- Help your student(s) evaluate the situation
- Listen to them. Be a sounding board by providing support and perspective.
- Encourage them to consider the point of view of the other person.
- Remind them that living with another person isn’t always easy. Conflicts will arise but through effective communication they can work through the concerns (hopefully).
- Help your student(s) address the problem
- Encourage your student to talk directly and respectfully to their roommate about the actual concerns.
- Encourage the student to talk to them in a timely manner so the conflict doesn’t build up over time.
- Please know: if students cannot address the issue within their room one-on-one, they can reach out to their RA for assistance.
- Let your student resolve the problems in their own way. No need to swoop in and save the day – they need to learn these healthy conflict skills.
- Remind your student to use “I statements” to own their feelings and the thoughts expressed. “I feel______ when_____because_____so what I’m hoping is _____. “
- A complete example would be “I feel frustrated when the lights are left on after midnight because it is hard for me to fall asleep and then I don’t do well in my classes, so I’m hoping we can turn the lights off or dim them at a certain time every night or find another agreeable solution that works for both of us.”
- Help yourself and your student(s) by better understanding how we train our RAs to assist with this process.
- Please know, RAs are not full time conflict specialists but they offer up as much help as possible. For example, one of the listening models our RAs utilize: the LARA model when talking directly with the students experiencing a crisis.
L stands for Listen. In this stage of LARA, active listening needs to be practiced, by maintaining eye contact (if culturally appropriate), nodding your head, and showing that you are listening.
A stands for Affirm or Acknowledge. Much like active listening, this stage requires that the RA says something affirming like “Acknowledge the feelings and needs behind what is being said.
R stands for Respond. This is when the RA can respond to what was said – address the interests and needs that the resident brought up.
A stands for Add. Provide additional information or options about solutions. We don’t give advice or force your opinion on anyone, though!
If mediation doesn’t fully work on the RA level, we have Graduate Hall Directors and Community Directors to assist with further communication and to decide the most appropriate next steps in finding a resolution. Bottom line: help your student to help themselves when it comes to handling conflict. While it’s not always delightful, it is sometimes a necessary evil. Don’t forget that neither you or your student are alone in working through tough situations!
For #WFU25 family and friends, encourage your students to connect with their Faculty Fellows if they haven’t already. Each first-year community is assigned a group of faculty members who work to foster faculty-student engagement and to educate the whole person through enriching the intellectual, cultural, and social lives of our students.
Additionally, our newest Deacons are still encouraged to take part in as many of the Wake the Forest events as possible. Wake the Forest is a series of events designed specifically to help new students feel at home the first few weeks of school.
Looking ahead, have your students keep an eye out for information about our Resident Adviser position in early October; applications open October 6th! Additionally, our Spring 2022 Housing processes will begin in October. Make sure your students review all the information they’ll receive via email; particularly if they are currently abroad and returning to campus, departing campus to go abroad, or have a vacancy in their bedroom.
Have feedback or further questions? We’re available at 336.758.5185 throughout the week and at email@example.com.