Student Voice


November 30, 2023




Ask Colleen: Messy roommate and campus glares

October 13, 2016

My roommate has really been bothering me lately because she isn't even remotely clean in our shared living spaces and when I try to talk to her about it she gets very defensive and comes up with a million excuses and never takes responsibility. The opportunity for me to move in with another one of my friends has presented itself and I think I want to take it because it's SIGNIFICANTLY closer to my job, internship, and gym. It stresses me out when I have full days and I have to take a bunch of stuff with me because I won't have time to make the trip home in between obligations. More than anything it would be a move for reasons of convenience than because of anything my current roommate did but I don't know how to tell her, I'm afraid she'll take it personally and not want to be friends anymore. What do I do?

Dear Roommate Troubles,

I hope that’s okay if I call you that! From reading your question it seems like you already know what to do and that would be to move out. However, I understand your hesitation in moving out because you have a relationship beyond being roommates. Doesn’t it seem like every adult told us not to live with our friends prior to college? Of course no one ever listens to that and unfortunately it sometimes leads to situations like this. Realistically though, I think everyone goes through roommate drama and it all around sucks.

Moving out would not only eliminate the tension with your roommate, but like you said it would work a lot better for you. It is okay to be selfish and think about yourself. If you are not happy with your roommate and found a better fit, go for it! The number one person you should be focusing on is yourself. Remember the only person who can control your happiness is you. Actually building up the courage to address this with your roommate might take a couple monologues in the mirror, but you’ll get there. In other words, you’re going to have you talk yourself through it.

When you feel ready to talk to your roommate I would explain to her why this change would be beneficial for you. When it comes to addressing the other issues you have with her, I don’t know if it would be worth it to say anything at this point. You mentioned that you have already talked to her about being messy and not taking responsibility and nothing productive came out of that. If you’re going to move out anyway would it be worth it to bring these concerns up when you won’t be living with each other anyway? I don’t think so.

Ultimately I think this conversation and ordeal will prove the strength of your friendship. Anyone could agree that your roommate as every right to be upset that you are moving out. I think if this person is your friend they will be understanding and supportive of your decision because it will make your life a lot easier. It seems like you have a lot going on with school, work, an internship and working out. Don’t feel bad about doing what is best for you and your overall happiness. Any friend would be able to understand this and maybe you’ll become closer once you move out. Distant makes the heart grow founder or something along those lines, right?

Good luck,


Dear Colleen,

 After this semester I have one year left. This is the only school I've ever thought about going to, and I really don't want to go anywhere else. I want to finish my degree, but I'm actively disliked by almost everyone I was at one point friends with. It makes me uncomfortable to be glared at and avoided all over campus. I feel tied here because of the graduation requirement to finish up the last however many credits here at UWRF. I don't know if I'd be happier at a different school, even a tech school, but I'm so close, I don't really want to give up now, even if it'd be easier.

Thanks for your help,


Dear Doesn’t-want-to-be-a-dropout,

On a personal note I would like to say I am very sorry you feel this way and you can always find a friend in me. I would imagine that it would be very difficult to walk around your campus feeling that way and to be glared at, which I will say is very immature on their part. It is not a good feeling to be hated by anyone, let alone a group of people. I’ve struggled for years with learning a very simple concept: you can’t change anyone or their opinions. Once I was able to do this, a weight was lifted off my shoulder.

My advice to you is to not to go to a different school because of some people who don’t like you. Don’t let them push you out of a school that you enjoy attending. You said you couldn’t imagine yourself going to a different school and that you don’t want to go anywhere else. Good news, you don’t have to. Don’t let other people have that control over you. Besides, they are only a select few people.

I don’t mean to be a parent here, but I’m going to be a parent for a second. We can’t run away from our problems and going to a different school isn’t going to change the fact that these people don’t like you. Okay, I’m doing a parent now. My point in saying that is because I can’t see into the future and I don’t know if going to a different school would make you happier. However, what I can tell you is that sticking things out and persevering through a difficult time is as much as a challenge as it is a victory. There is this wonderful feeling that one gets when they know they made it through a painful time and can say they did it. No matter what that may be.

A great thing about going to a university is that there are plenty of other friends to be made. I’ve gone through friendship changes and it was very hard for me. My friends become like family to me and to lose one was heartbreaking. Friendship changes are normal and will happen many times throughout life. It doesn’t mean that someone is right or wrong, but as humans we change. I’m not sure what went down between your friends, but what I can tell you is a friend wouldn’t glare or ignore you on campus. That is a tough pill to swallow, but it’s not worth your time or energy to worry about things that are not in your control.

Try going to different events on campus, talking to fellow classmates, bonding with your co-workers, or talking to some random person at a coffee shop. Some of my strongest friendships have happened in the most accidental ways. The quality of friendships is much more important than the quantity. Through times of change the only thing to do is to be positive, which is easier said than done. Trust me, I can be a Negative Nancy some days. But who is that benefiting? No one.

Just remember there will always be a friend in the waiting, but it might take going out of your comfort zone to get there. I personally don’t think switching schools should be your first option because of some immature people. You said you didn’t want to be a drop out, but if that is what you decide, don’t sweat it. This doesn’t make you weak person or less than anyone else. It shows that you took the steps to better your happiness, which is all anyone can do in the first place.



Colleen Brown is a student at UW-River Falls.