Getting Along With Your Roommate

Twenty-one people walked into the Counseling Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30 to attend ‘Living Together,’ an hour-long workshop hosted by Friends Helping Friends, a group of UC Irvine Counseling Center peer educators.
According to Peer Program Coordinator Dr. Ken Caillet, the goal of the group is ‘to help students gain knowledge and skills that will assist them in dealing with certain types of issues, whether it be stress reduction or roommate problems or mediation.’ The workshops provided are free of cost and are open to all UCI students, giving them yet another easy and fun opportunity to become involved.
The ‘Living Together’ workshop taught how to live in peace and harmony with roomates. Led by peer educators Amanda Patrick, Brian Yu and John Phan, the event was quite a success.
The workshop environment could not have been friendlier, with plates of carrot cake and beverages offered upon entering and upbeat music softly playing in the background. After each attendee received a yellow packet, they were asked to anonymously jot down a random roommate experience they had had, and these were read throughout the workshop.
After an icebreaker led by Patrick, a fourth-year student majoring in psychology and social behavior with a minor in sociology, everyone was asked to take their seats while the three leaders went through the packet.
Brian Yu a fourth-year psychology and social behavior major, began by stating the two golden rules of living together: take the initiative and never assume.
John Phan, a fifth-year psychology major, then discussed how to live with a roommate, suggesting that roommates always remain honest and try not to let others take advantage of you.
Brian talked about creative ways to bond with your roommate, whether it be simply watching a movie together or cooking dinner for each other.
Phan also discussed diversity in culture. Rather than bluntly questioning roommates about certain customs and traditions, Phan suggested it is more beneficial to grow accustomed to who they are and what they value. Workshop participants learned that with a bit of effort and patience, it is possible to have an enjoyable roommate experience.
However, ‘Living Together’ was not merely a sit-down experience. Attendees were invited to play a game of Pictionary, with participants frantically drawing pictures of activities like doing the laundry, picking up the trash and washing the dishes as their fellow team members yelled out possible answers.
Patrick, Phan and Yu continued discussing the packet, covering topics like chores, finances, making the transition from a dormitory to an apartment and how to confront a roommate if and when there is an issue.
The three leaders acted out a skit involving a roommate leaving his shoes in the common area, and the other two properly handling and ultimately resolving the situation. The workshop wrapped up by providing crisis management as well as various campus resources students can contact if they are ever in need of assistance.
‘Living Together’ is one of the many workshops offered by Friends Helping Friends. Other recent workshops have included ‘Supporting a Grieving Friend,’ ‘Life Transitions’ and ‘Overcoming Shyness and Building Confidence.’
Each seminar focuses on a basic aspect of living, offering participants a chance to improve their lives.
Attending such a prestigious school as UCI and all the while attempting to have a social life can be trying on students. As Caillet notes, ‘These are areas in one’s life that can create a lot of stress,’ and for Friends Helping Friends, it is all about ‘teaching people skills that will help them to reduce their stress levels and learn management and coping skills.’
‘The whole program is about outreach. It’s about primary mental health prevention, and a big part of doing that is through these psycho-educational programs,’ Caillet said.
If you are interested in attending a workshop or becoming a peer educator, you can contact the Counseling Center at (949) 824-6457.