roommates

How to Bond with College Roommates

The start of the fall semester is starting soon, and for many college students this means new living situations and often new roommates. Although some may be living with friends, there are plenty of students and especially freshman who have yet to form a connection with their college roommates. Here are some ways to form and improve a relationship with a new college roommate.

Find a Commonality

How to Bond With College Roommates

The easiest way to bond with a new roommate is to find something that you have in common. Try broaching a variety of subjects to see where your tastes are similar and find something that you have the same opinion on or same interest in.

Go Somewhere Non-School Related With Them

How to Bond With College Roommates

If roommate relationships are restricted mostly to the dormitories, they may seem forced. If you expand your relationship with your roommate outside of the dorm and go somewhere together either by yourselves or in a group, the relationship will feel more genuine and likely become stronger.

Introduce Each Other to Preexisting or New Friends

How to Bond With College Roommates

Making friends with your roommate’s friends and them doing the same is an easy way to bond with someone. If they get along well with your friends then it is easier to include them in group activities and thus become better friends outside of the dorm or room.

Attend School Organized Events with Them

How to Bond With College Roommates

Universities make events for freshman and even upperclassman to get out and meet new people on campus. By going somewhere with your roommate you can get out and meet new people on campus, but have a familiar face there who can back you up if you need a confidence booster or help meeting new people.

Set Expectations for Behavior Within the Dorm

How to Bond With College Roommates

One of the hardest things about having roommates is that everyone has differing ideas of how duties should be spread and how each other should act in the context of the room. It is important to have an initial talk about what both parties expect so that there are no surprises down the line and you lessen the chance of someone being overly annoyed at a particular action or way of living.

Freshmen Fears

When you start college it’s normal to be nervous—there are certain things that scare you, and that’s okay! As I start my senior year I couldn’t help but think back to my first time on campus and ponder the list of worries that had me scared to start my new college chapter.

Here are five common freshmen fears—ones I had myself and ones some of you may be having now! Rest assured, things seem scary now, but the next four years are going to fly. Your worries will seem crazy in a few semesters when you look back at far how you’ve come.

1.  I’ll be homesick—Sure home is great, so great, that it’s hard to leave. But, you’ll be glad you did. College is all about new experiences. Dorm life or even just living away from home is an adjustment but it’s well worth the uncomfortable pains that it takes to get used to everything. It’s hard being away from home, that’s where you’ve lived for the last 18 years. But, that’s what family weekend is for. You’ll see them before you know, and maybe even wish they would leave! (Hopefully not too soon!)

2.  I’ll gain the “Freshmen 15”—Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. Either way, it’s all going to be okay. College is a new chapter of your life and plus no one is supposed to look like they did in high school forever. Think about it. That would be weird, uncomfortable even. You are getting older and your change in behavior and eating habits your weight could fluctuate—increase or decrease. Heck, you could even get taller—I grew an inch! Just remember to be healthy and active. That’s all you can ask—staying the same as your high school self isn’t an option, and probably isn’t all that healthy either!

3. I didn’t pick the right school—When you first move in, it can be hard to feel at home. Where are you? What is this place? It’s all so different, and cold. But that doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong place, it just means you have to let yourself warm up to it all. Schools are all about fit. You can take classes anywhere, but when you start to feel the grove of a campus and start to feel yourself start to fit, you’ll know you’re in the right place. Just give it time, and remember to be open-minded. Even shoes need to be worn a few times to break them in—college campuses are no different!

4. My Roommate will be weird! —I won’t lie, when I first saw and met my roommate, I was nervous. We were complete opposites! She covered our whole room in pink fluffy stuff! But once we looked past the obvious differences and just started to talk and hang out we were completely fine. We ended up having tons in common and to this day are still roommates—three years later! Some of your very best friends can be found in unlikely places. My “scary” college roommate is one of my very best friends. But, look at us on Facebook 3 years ago and we couldn’t have appeared more different!

5.  I won’t be able to meet people! —Moving into college is stressful. So stressful in fact that students forget that everyone around them is same boat, all stressed, all nervous. Freshmen don’t come with built in friends. It takes a while to meet “your group”, but don’t think they aren’t out there. Don’t be afraid to talk to people when you move in. Go to activities; go to games, socials, and mixers—all the opening weekend events are put on for a reason! It’s to help all of the freshmen, however many there are, (maybe 900 hundred at small schools, 9000 at big ones) get to know each other. Don’t sit in your room hiding from your roommate. Get out there and take the risk of talking to new people, that’s what college is all about. You will meet people all over and some will end up being your friends forever and some, just friendly faces to smile at on your way to class.

Housing Nightmare- Single or Double

Single or double? Single or double? Student housing is always a nightmare.  No matter how many credits you have, how many friends you have or how awesome your school’s housing is, housing is as frustrating as registering for classes.  The people will either be the people in your wedding party, or the people you hope you never see ever, ever again.  Some will fade away with no hard feelings, but some you will look back in pure frustration.

A deciding factor in the question “will my roommates be a dream or a nightmare” is if you live in a single or double.  Sometimes, it is a lot easier to put up with:

Photo credit: codeblab.com 

…when you have your own clean room to go back to.

Some things to consider when deciding between a single room and a double room:

Single:

  • Your own level of cleanliness
  • Inviting guests
  • Could get lonely
  • Privacy
  • Wake up/sleep whenever is convenient
  • More expensive
  • More individual space
  • You have what you bring

Other Considerations:

How much time do you spend in your room?  Will you have other suitemates?

Double:

  • Someone else’s level of cleanliness
  • Roommate’s guests
  • Always someone around
  • Privacy? What privacy?
  • Sleeping with your roommate’s light on
  • Saving money
  • More space but shared
  • Shared tv, mirror, printer

If you find yourself on moving day, kicking yourself that you’ve made the wrong decision, have hope!  Most schools will let you switch rooms after two weeks.

 

Housing Hell: Finding Your Roommates, Finding Your Place

Towards the conclusion of freshmen year especially, it’s an exciting time to select your housing for the upcoming school year.  You might be inundated with offers to live with some friends on or off campus—or you might be struggling to find the right housing situation for you.  Either way, it’s recommended that you consider these five points when picking your housing for any year:

1.      Living with Friends 

At face value, it seems obvious that living with your closest friends is the best option.  However, this is not always the case.  In fact, it might be a poor choice more than it’s a good one.  When you live with someone you’re extremely close to, you might find that your living habits are drastically different.  This can lead to constant bickering and arguments about how you want your dorm room or apartment to be.  Unfortunately, sometimes this results in losing a close friendship.  This won’t always happen, of course, but if you’re planning to live with a close friend, make sure your living habits are compatible to some extent.

2.      Do You Have a Car? 

This wasn’t an issue my freshmen year because all underclassmen at my university are required to live on campus and freshmen are not allowed to have cars.  However, when you have a choice to live on or off campus, it’s important to consider your transportation options.  Is there a shuttle service from off campus areas to your university?  Is it within walking distance?  Will you have to commute far via car or bus to get to class each day?  These are always good questions to ask yourself before making the decision to live off campus.

3.      Pricing:  On Campus versus Off 

Sometimes living in an apartment with a monthly lease, rather than an on-campus residence, is less expensive.  Do the math.  If your school offers a dorm or on-campus apartment for $3500 a semester, how much cheaper or more expensive would a lease be at, let’s say, $500 a month?  When looking at rents you should also estimate utilities, cable, Internet, and trash pickup, as those are not always included in the base rent.  In addition, if you sign a year lease but won’t be around for the summer, you might also want to consider subletting.

4.      Furnished or Not? 

Most dorms and on-campus apartments are fully furnished, which is why those housing options are usually more expensive.  When you move off campus, you will likely be responsible for furnishing much, if not all, of your place.  You need to decide what type of furniture (i.e.:  a bed and desk) is necessary and what isn’t (i.e.:  a flat-screen television).  Then you need to factor in the cost, and estimate how close the price will be to the price of living on campus, if the money is of concern.  Finally, you need to plan out when and how to move everything in.

 5.      Available Resources 

Various resources are usually available on your school’s housing website, which should list the housing options available for various students, the rates, and the amenities.  There might also be a link to certified off-campus housing finders.  Do a quick Google search or sweep of your school’s website to fund such resources.

It’s always important to consider these points in order to avoid housing hell.  Having personally dealt with some roadblocks when trying to get the housing I needed at school, I recommend that you have a primary plan and a few backups.  Just remember the resources you have if your housing situation doesn’t work out, or if you run into some other problems along the way or during the school year.  Remember, housing only lasts a year (or semester if you really need to move somewhere else), and having a good environment to come home to after class or your extracurricular activities is one of the best sources of alleviating stress!

Avoid Catching Your Roommates Cold

“Uh, ah AHCHOO!  There’s no way I’m making it to class today,” moans your roommate, and now the clock is ticking as to when you will be feeling that way: sinuses clogged, headache, body aches, fever, pretty much every symptom on the front of the DayQuil box.  A good cold could put you a week or more behind in your schoolwork.  Even worse, it was Barney Stinson (of How I Met Your Mother) who said, “A week? That’s like a year in hot girl time!”  You don’t want your current crush to wonder why you haven’t been around for the past week or two. Luckily, there are some things you can do to protect yourself.

First thing’s first: stock up on supplies.  Hit the drug store and pick up some antibacterial spray for surfaces and the air (if you get the product that combines surfaces and air, you only need to buy one bottle instead of two).  Grab some Emergen-C or AirBourne to strengthen your immune system.  Soup would be a nice gift to your roommate since the quicker they get over the sickness, the quicker those germs are out of your dorm room.

Once you get back to your dorm, start disinfecting.  Hit areas that both of you touch: doorknobs, light switches, a shared bathroom, etc.  Be sure to open a window or two or you will end up coughing yourself from the fumes.  Even if its very cold or very warm outside, keep the window cracked so you can get some ventilation.  Be sure to adjust your air conditioner/heater accordingly.

After you have set up your room, this might sound harsh, but try to spend as little time in your room as possible.  This works for two reasons:  first, if your roommate has a migraine or headache you making noise or having lights on will not help.  Also, letting them sleep it off is one of the best things they can do.  Second, not being around gets you away from those germs.

Hope your roommate gets better and best of luck warding off their sickness.

-TravelBug

Easy Ice Breakers

College brings many new social situations along with it. Breaking the ice can be an awkward thing, that is, unless you read this blog! I’m here to give you all the tips and trick you need to succeed in a new social setting. Let’s try and steer away from the oh-so common, “how’s the weather?”

The first situation is with your random roommate. Odds are if you chose to get a random roommate you answered some basic questions about yourself to try and get someone somewhat similar to you. Regardless of similarity, the beginning stages of moving in with someone you don’t know can be a little scary. The first thing I would suggest is to talk to them ahead of time. Use Facebook message, texting, or even a call to get things in order. Talking to your roommate at least a couple times before you move in will ease your jitters. Go into the roommate situation asking the basic stuff, like where they’re from, if they have a boyfriend/girlfriend, and what they like to do for fun. Try and go out of your way to spend time with your new roomie be it study time in the library or a quick lunch, the more time you spend with them, the more comfortable you will be.

Next, let’s talk football games, pep rallies, or welcome week. When in a large crowd, make a point to talk to the people around you, or at least smile! You need to appear friendly and welcoming. If you are standing next to someone you don’t know at the game try talking to them about the game. That one is obvious. If you notice they are cheering extra hard for certain players ask if they know them in order to strike up a convo. Same thing goes for pep rallies or welcome week activities, the key is to pay attention to the person, and try talking with them about whatever interest them. When meeting new people you need to be a good listener above all.

What if the person I’m talking to is shy!? In this case, you might have to be the talker. If the person you are trying to get to know is shy, the key is determination without being annoying. Odds are, they enjoy people, and they just don’t know what to say. Try asking basic things like whether they have any siblings, play any sports, or live on campus. Eventually, they should loosen up, but you need to be patient above all in this situation.

Let’s say it’s the weekend and you get invited to a party where you know no one, except the person that invited you. Go! The key to meeting new people is to get out of your comfort zone. You need to realize that everyone else is also there to make new friends and have a good time. Try not to cling to the one person at the party you know, and get out there! Find something to talk about with the people around you. Like I said before, pay attention to the people around you and talk about their interest. If you notice they have some good moves on the dance floor try this, “you’ve got some good moves, where’d you learn to dance like that?” Compliments are always a go to in new environments.

But what if I get shut down!? The worst thing that can happen in a social situation is a person not replying. Honestly if this happens, pretend like you were talking to someone else and walk away. Or, ask again. Chances are they didn’t hear you, or they’re so rude they aren’t worth knowing anyway. There is nothing embarrassing about being ignored, more so, it just makes the ignorer look rude.

Use these basic ice breaking tips for any situation and remember to smile often! There are many new people to meet and it all begins with a simple conversation. Try and save yourself from, “So…how is the weather?”

-ToonyToon

How to Deal With a Horrible Roommate

It’s the nightmare that all incoming freshmen think about and a reality for some unlucky college students: the roommate from hell.  Although your university attempts to match you with a like-minded roommate, you may still encounter someone who leaves pop cans all over the room, uses your personal items without asking or creates gossip about the things you discuss with your family and friends in private.

Here is a warning to incoming freshmen: Brace yourselves because you could potentially have to learn how to deal with a horrible roommate. Roommates are not like your siblings who may make you want to pull your hair out. These are strangers whom most of you have never met a day in your life, but who you must live with for an entire semester or even a year. There are ways of dealing with situations that are less than perfect, and here are a couple of tips I’ve learned through my experience.

  1. Communication is key! You mean, I have to speak to my roommate?!? Yes, that means you actually have to put your cell phone down, close your Facebook, pause your Skype session, look at your roommate and tell them that you two need to speak. Statistics show that the stereotypes placed on roommates are three times more likely due to the fact that people choose to communicate improperly. You have to speak with the person you’re living with and tell them the things that you like, don’t like, what you’ll share and every other thing that makes up who you are as a person. It’s essentially how you begin to grow up in college. No matter how introverted or extroverted you are, communicating with your roommate will most likely alleviate potential problems in the future.
  2. Don’t gossip with your friends. While communication is key, the wrong communication can cause drama that you don’t want or need. Instead of telling your dorm about how Jane likes to leave her Doritos on the floor, you could take the time to either tell her or choose to just pick them up yourself. No one, no matter who you are, nobody likes to hear about problems between themselves and the person their living with from people they barely know. It’s embarrassing. Before you choose the road most traveled, why not give your roommate the respect of telling them to their face?
  3. If all else fails, speak with your Residential Assistant. If you’re communicating with your roommate and not spreading around heartless gossip, then the only other option is to speak with your RA about the situation. RAs were put in place because they’re someone who’s your age, but who can maturely help you deal with the situation you’re facing. In some cases, your RA will set up a mediation between the two parties and request that you both create a roommate contract at a last attempt at solving your differences. If that doesn’t work, then you have to go through the process of changing roommates.

At the end of the day, you’re going to eventually deal with someone in college who doesn’t make your list of people you plan to speak with on a daily basis. Sometimes these people are your roommates; however, learning to become an adult starts with you being able to face your situations with a mature mind. Don’t always believe what your friends or the media tells you. Roommates from hell do exist, but how you choose to deal with the problems is what makes the difference in the end.

-Compton

I’m reading America’s Courts and the Criminal Justice System