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5 ways to manage conflict on college at uni

By Anthony 11 Apr 2019
3 USQ Res College students chatting on the lawn at McGregor College.

On the day I moved into Residential Colleges, I was greeted by a small table of passionate Resident Student Club (RSC) members who were keen to show me the ropes of college life. Some of these skills included but are definitely not limited to:

  • The art of showing up to dinner just early enough so you can grab all the good food but not too early that you’re waiting ages
  • Managing to snag breakfast and make it to class on time
  • Balancing a healthy diet of movies, sleep and study

Something the RSC members didn’t tell me about was how to deal with the complex minefield that can be living with other people.

When you share so much space and live in such close quarters with people, it will become really clear, very quickly, that when people from all walks of life with different backgrounds and habits come to live at college, sometimes they don’t mix. It’s a fact of life that not everyone you meet you’ll like; they might not like you either. And that’s okay!

When living in close quarters with new people, tensions can arise from the smallest things…especially when exam stress comes into the mix! If a conflict does arise, how do you deal with it? Here are my 5 tips to deal with conflict when you live on college:

1. Talk to the person who is bothering you.

This is scary I know! But if someone is really bothering you with something they are doing, talk to them. This is by far the best way of resolving a small matter that is between you and them. If they’re talking too loud at random times during the night, just let them know. They might not even be aware their behaviour is having an impact on you, so once they know, they’re in a much better position to change their ways and it’s tons better than staying grumpy at them.

2. If the problem is a bit more serious, talk to an RA.

Residential Advisors are there to help you navigate your way through any challenges, so reach out to them!

3. Ever heard of the CWE?

That wacky acronym stands for College Wellness Educator. The CWE is there for you to vent your problems, big or small, and can also help you find solutions to conflicts you may come across on college.

4. Not comfortable talking about conflict to someone on college? Talk to your family or friends.

They will be able to lend a sympathetic ear and may even be able to give you some great advice from an outsider’s perspective.

5. Talk to yourself.

I know that sounds a little crazy. But try to think about the situation from an outsider’s position. Ask yourself, has the problem been blown up in your head? Sometimes, if the issue is small enough, the best move to take is just to let it go. This is a great skill to develop and it goes a long way.

These five strategies will help you increase you conflict resolution and interpersonal skills and, self-awareness, which will be useful in all areas of your life. Combating conflict is especially important when living on-campus, because you spend every day with these people, and more often than not, they turn out to be the mates you have with you for years to come.

Find out from Ashleigh why friends you make on college are friends for life.

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