Friends and Roommates
Making New Friends
Here are some tips to help your student make connections at Cortland:
Attend orientation. Orientation can be a great time to meet new people – your student will be with a relatively small group of people and have the shared experiences of having just graduated and are now preparing to attend Cortland. Students will find that everyone is looking to meet new friends – the perfect place to start conversations!
Get involved. In order to meet new people, it is imperative that your student get involved on campus. Cortland has over 100 student clubs and organizations. Whatever your student’s interest, we probably have a club for him/her. If we don’t – consider chartering a new one!
Stay on campus. Your student may want to come home the first few weekends to visit high school friends. This is the time when new students are trying to get to know one another. Encourage your student to stay on campus so they won’t miss out on the weekend activities that bond college students together.
Utilize classes. Encourage your student to get to classes a few minutes before they start so they have time to talk with their peers. Sitting in the middle of the classroom can make it easier to strike up conversations with other students about homework assignments, upcoming tests, campus activities, etc.
Open door policy. Encourage your student to leave their door open when they are hanging out in their room. Other students are looking to make new friends as well, so many will drop by just to say "hey" if their door is open. They should also stop to introduce themselves if they see an open door. Please note: Your student should always lock their door when they are not in their room.
Study in public. Instead of studying in their room, encourage your student to go to the study lounge in their residence hall or the library. They’ll get in plenty of study time and have the opportunity to meet new people during study breaks.
Developing Healthy Relationships with Roommates
One of the biggest challenges your student will face outside the classroom is learning to live with a roommate(s). You can help your student in developing a healthy relationship by:
- Getting your student to acknowledge their living habits and values (i.e. hitting the snooze button 10 times, listening to music/watching tv while studying, etc).
- Encourage them to be honest when filling out their Roommate Agreement Form. The Roommate Agreement Form allows students to set out their expectations for the room regarding guests, borrowing/sharing things, music, etc.
- Talk with your student about valuing diverse perspectives.
- Encourage your student to maintain a positive attitude and be willing to compromise.
Even if your student is the best of friends with their roommate academic stress and homesickness can heighten tension and possibly lead to a roommate conflict. It’s natural for your student to talk with you about the situation, but remember, they’re probably calling in the heat of their emotion. Help your student talk through the problem and encourage them to talk with their roommate (instead of avoiding them or looking to make a room change). If assistance is needed, have your student go to their resident assistant (RA) who has been trained to assist with mediating roommate conflicts.
Residence Life and Housing will have your student’s roommate(s) information available on August 1. We encourage students to call each other before heading to campus so they can begin getting to know one another and negotiating their relationship. Please caution your student about making premature judgments about their roommate(s) based on pictures and posting on social networks (like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc). College is about getting to know people who may have different values, beliefs, and experiences. Work with your student so they don’t miss out on the opportunity to meet new and interesting people.