As my time at BYU-Idaho comes to an end, one thing I’ve come to know is that the Student Living Principles are legit — they really do make a difference.

Out of my 10 semesters here, apart from one or two, I’ve had new roommates almost every semester and things between us were either great, just okay or poor.

It is crazy how much better my day-to-day outlook on the semester was when my roommates were mindful, respectful and considerate and how much worse it was when they lacked those qualities.

Of course, I made sure I had such characteristics myself before asking anyone else to have them, but when there was frustration or contention present in the apartment, it was because someone wasn’t practicing the Student Living Principles: love, mutual respect and shared responsibility.

Just think about it: if everyone was to follow those principles, the apartment would be clean and the environment would be more pleasant in general. With love, you can be more understanding and kind. With mutual respect, you’d be considerate and mindful of your roommates and not blast music into the wee hours of the morning or leave a mess in the common areas. With shared responsibility, you can watch out for your roommates as well as have them to help you out.

Moreover, it is also a lot easier to become friends when you aren’t annoyed or irritated with someone, and, if you are friends, you will usually put up with more — at least that was the case for me. Being friends with your roommates allows more opportunities to make great memories.

Though hanging out with roommates can be fun, it’s not a requirement. However, you should still be cordial and polite if you want the semester to go smoothly.

If there is something that bothers you, be open and speak up but do so in a non-contentious way. View it like you are just having a conversation. Your approach and attitude toward such situations can make all the difference. I find it has been best to get things I know could become a problem out of the way right at the beginning of the semester. Have a vote on what to keep the temperature set at, discuss how washing dishes will go, make it known if you like using your own dishes or sharing.

If one of my roommates is still getting on my nerves and doesn’t change anything even after talking to her, I try to ignore it or suck it up. I put myself in her shoes in an effort to understand what she might be going through. We all have problems, but not everyone copes with them in the same way. I encourage you to do the same — even if it means taking out the trash for the fifth time in a row.

You may be thinking, “Well, easier said than done.” That is true, but the things that are easier said than done are oftentimes the most worth doing.