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5 Safe Activities to do with Your Roommates this Summer

By Alicia Geigel

The coronavirus pandemic has significantly changed our normal summer routines, from commuting to work to going to restaurants. Since the pandemic started spreading in March, many states have been in lockdown, with local governments enforcing restrictions regarding work, shopping, visiting hospitals and health care facilities, and social gatherings. While the virus has shown signs of slowing down, several states have seen a spike in cases due to a number of people ignoring CDC guidelines.

Most of us anticipated the virus to calm down by the summer, however, the recent spike in cases tell a different story. With several states enforcing restrictions and potentially going into lockdown again, it can be discouraging and disappointing to figure out activities to do with your roommates this summer. Though some of your normal summer routines or traditions are being interfered with because of the pandemic, there are still ways to have fun with your roommates.

Are you dreading the rest of the summer because of the pandemic? Looking for safe ways to enjoy some time with your roommates? Here are five safe, fun activities to do with your roommates this summer!

1. Bike Ride in the Park: During the pandemic, staying indoors for most of us has been mandatory. While being at home is nice, there is only so much Netflix, Hulu, or Youtube that you and your roommates can watch before it gets old and quite frankly, suffocating. Though going outside during the pandemic is a risk, there are activities you can do to have virtually zero risk of coming in contact with the virus. If there is a large park nearby, consider getting your bike and riding throughout the park with your roommates! This keeps contact with others to a minimum, while being able to enjoy the beauty and freshness of the outdoors.

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2. Drive-in Movie Theater: Summertime is always a huge season of the year for blockbuster movies. From scary movies to hilarious comedies, there never seems to be a shortage of great films to watch with your friends at the movie theater. As seating is close together in movie theaters, many have been closed down until further notice during the pandemic, leaving people wondering where they can get the same theater experience. Drive-in movies aren’t just a thing of the past anymore, rather, they are something that is becoming popular again! If there is a drive-in movie event in your area, gather up your roommates in the car and head over with some snacks, drinks, and of course, the popcorn! Watching movies like this not only keeps everyone at a safe distance, but it also gives you a chance to do something run out of the house!

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3. Walk in Your Neighborhood: There is nothing better than strolling around the neighborhood on a breezy summer night, watching the sunset, and breathing in the warm air of life around you. If you and your roommates are bored, get out of the house and go for a walk in your neighborhood or nearby if possible. Be sure to maintain distance between you and other people that may be walking by, as well as wear a proper face mask. Though it’s not the most exciting, it is a safe way to hang out with your roommates. You could even bring some music to make the walk more fun!

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4. Go to the Beach: In recent weeks, beaches have been a growing hub for people to flock to and unfortunately, spread the virus. While it is not an activity with the lowest risk of contracting the virus, going to the beach is a low-medium risk activity that you and your roommates can do. If you go to the beach, absolutely maintain six feet of distance between your group and others. Seek out a secluded area of the beach so you don’t have to worry about large crowds, and if possible, try to stay in motion during your visit.

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5. Have an Outdoor Picnic: What is more fun during the summertime than having a picnic with your cherished roommates? Sure, you all could sit around your kitchen table and have lunch but where is the fun in that? Pick a beautiful day, make sandwiches, assemble snacks and yummy desserts, grab some cold drinks, and pack everything in a basket. Head to a favorite spot, perhaps in a park, or even somewhere outside your home/apartment, and enjoy sitting in the grass being warmed by the sun. Again, social distancing from others is key; wear a face mask and do not share utensils or food with anyone other than your group.

Image via Pexels

Finding ways to have fun with your roommates during the pandemic may seem impossible, but these small activities can give you the opportunity to enjoy each other while staying safe at the same time!


What to Know if You Need to Break Your Lease and How to Talk to Your Roommates About It

By Victoria Robertson

Things come up in college all the time, whether that be study abroad experiences or internships that take you away from campus. Whatever the situation, there are many reasons for which you could need to break your lease.

That being said, having a difficult conversation with your roommates is no easy feat, and can be entirely overwhelming.

When it comes down to it, if you need to break your lease, there are six things you need to know.

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1. You Might Still Be On The Hook

First and foremost, just because you are planning on breaking your lease does not mean that you are escaping your contract, scot-free. In fact, leaving your roommates high and dry isn’t always financially feasible for them, so you may still be on the hook for your portion of the rent.

This is all dependent upon the leasing contract you signed, but this document could mean that you have to pay your share of the lease through the end of the lease term.

While there are typically workarounds here, you should always consider the option that you’ll still end up paying your share of the rent, which can certainly add up, especially if you’ll also be paying rent at a different location.

2. Subletters May Not Be An Option

Subletting your apartment is a giant pain in the butt, which is something I share from experience.

For one thing, you’ll need to see if this is an option in your lease. If it is, most often, you’ll have to find the subletters on your own, and then draw up another contract with your leasing office to write them into the lease.

From here, you should understand that, in most leases, you will be responsible for the damages done by your subletters. Ultimately, it’s your name on the lease, and therefore your money on the line, especially if your subletters default on their rent and don’t pay their share.

While this isn’t always the case, and you may have a leasing office that’s more hands-on with the subletting process, you’ll definitely want to look into that before making any commitments.

In addition, subletting may not even be an option at your apartment complex.

Many buildings actually put these clauses into their contracts as issues tend to arise when allowing renters to choose their subletters. For this reason, they simply ensure subletting isn’t an option, which, to point number one, would leave you on the hook for your share of the rent.

3. You May Need a New Contract

As previously mentioned, if you are leaving your lease, two, three, or four shares of the rent now change, increasing the rent of your roommates (assuming you won’t be using subletters).

In these instances, you should consider writing up a new contract with your leasing office to take you off the lease.

If your roommates agree to pay larger portions and change their minds later on, and your name is still on the lease, you are still responsible for your share, which may not be financially feasible for you.

Talk with your leasing office to determine if you would need a new contract or if you can simply buy out of your lease to avoid the fiasco later on. Because trust me, you won’t want to get hit with a bill for three months’ rent that you missed and cannot afford to pay.

4. Costs May Be Associated

The cost of breaking a lease will vary dependent upon the building. For some agencies, you’ll simply need to pay a month’s rent to break your lease. For others, you could pay three months’ rent or more.

In some instances, I’ve heard of individuals having to pay the remainder of their lease as “breaking” the lease wasn’t really an option.

Just know that breaking a lease is a challenge, and it could come with a high price tag attached to it. So consider these costs, check into whether or not that’s financially feasible for you and then move forward from there.

5. You Should Have a Contingency Plan

Now, what happens if you break your lease and your other plans end up falling through? What are you supposed to do then?

Breaking your lease doesn’t always mean that you have something nailed down otherwise, so what should you do in the instance that you’ve broken your lease and realize you’ve made a mistake?

These are all considerations you should take to heart before breaking your lease.

For one thing, you should be serious about these alternative plans. For another, you should be positive that you won’t be returning to the lease later on. If you are simply planning on studying abroad for a semester, you may want to consider subletting for that semester and then returning to your lease the next semester.

Breaking a lease should be used as a last resort if you can no longer stay in that apartment or building. Basically, it’s a final step to getting out of your lease, so you should always be confident in that decision before actually making it.

6. It May Not Be An Option

Last, but certainly not lease, you’ll need to consider the idea that it’s not even a possibility to break your lease.

Some leasing offices won’t let you do it, or will, but require that you pay out the remainder of your lease, which is essentially the same thing as not allowing it.

Such a high price tag may not be worth it, and you may want to simply consider subletting.

However, the only way to truly know and understand your options is to visit your leasing office and ask them some questions regarding your options. They’ll let you know what you can and can’t do, so this is a great starting point.

You should also read through the fine print in your lease to ensure you’re educated prior to this meeting, as you’ll want to be as familiar as you can be with the document that you signed.

So, once you’re well-versed in what you need to know when breaking your lease, you should also note that you’ll likely need to converse with your roommates about the change of plans.

Again, this isn’t an easy task, and one you should be well prepared for in order to ensure everything is done correctly and no feelings are hurt in the process.

So, to assist you in that difficult conversation, here are six things to know when talking to your roommates about breaking your lease.

1. They Could Be Angry/Upset

Conversations get heated all the time, but when you talk about breaking a lease and making plans that alter someone else’s plans, you can expect things to get a little emotional.

While most individuals will handle this news well, there are some that may become angry or upset at your change of plans. Just be prepared and expect that things aren’t going to be smooth sailing simply because you’d prefer they were.

Get ready to have a difficult conversation, and keep your cool throughout, no matter what. You’re throwing them the curveball, so you should allow them to cope with these changes as they need to.

2. There Will be a Money Conversation

Money is always a topic of conversation when living with roommates, and when breaking your lease, you should assume it will be another conversation.

For one thing, your roommates will be concerned that such a choice will increase their monthly payments, which may not be feasible for them. Remember that your decision can impact their wallets, so you should be mindful of that.

Be prepared to have a conversation about money and be ready to answer their questions regarding the next steps. You should look into your options with your leasing office prior to this conversation so you’re well versed in what’s needed from everyone in order to make this transition as smooth as possible.

3. They May Not Agree With Your Plans

Just because this is a decision that you’ve made does not mean that they have to be on board with it. In fact, you can expect that it will take them a little while to get on board with the idea, if at all.

That all being said, you should prepare for the idea that your roommates won’t agree with your plans and will try to talk you out of them. While typically for selfish reasons, when you live in close proximity to someone, you become close with them and blindsiding them with a move like this could hurt.

In addition, they may not be on board with subletting your room or paying an increased share in rent, which is their prerogative. Just be ready to have some difficult conversations about what they are and are not willing to do, and have a couple of options available to help appease the situation.

4. They Aren’t Responsible for Everything

If your conversation doesn’t go nearly as well as you would’ve liked, you may learn that your roommates aren’t willing to put themselves on the line, which, again, is their prerogative.

Understand that they aren’t responsible for your decisions, so you may end up on the hook for more than you bargained for, such as continuing your rent payments, dealing with roommates that won’t agree to a sublease, etc.

Just because you’ve made a decision doesn’t mean that they have made the same one, so you should definitely be prepared to deal with a couple of kinks in your plan along the way. When you have a roommate, they have equal say in the goings-on in the apartment or building and have just as much say over what to do with it.

5. You May Need to Show Them the Ropes

That all being said, your roommates may be super supportive and on board with your plans, but don’t really understand what this means for them.

For instance, some may agree with subletting, but may not know where to begin with that process, or may want you to take the lead and ensure you have someone to move in upon your leaving.

Basically, just because you’ve done the research and looked into the situation doesn’t mean that they are as familiar with the steps, so you’ll need to be patient and willing to help them learn what needs to be done, for everyone’s sake.

The more helpful and informative you are in your conversation with them, the more likely the conversation is to go well. Just be willing to step up and assist, as you are the one that’s making the change, not them.

6. Do What You Need to Do

Last, but not least, you need to do what you need to do. Odds are, you have not made this decision lightly, and you’re only trying to do what’s best for your education, whether that means studying abroad or taking on an internship, or leaving campus.

Whatever your future plans, they are yours, and you’re always able to do what’s best for you, as you should.

So the conversation with your roommates may be difficult, but if you’ve thought this through and decided this is what you want, then you need to stick to your guns and ensure you do exactly what you need to do in order to make your dreams a reality.

Don’t settle because you feel guilty; this is your education, and you need to do what’s best for you.

Photo Via Pixabay

Again, breaking your lease can be difficult, especially if you weren’t planning on it. Not only do you have to grapple with the logistics of breaking that lease, but you also have to consider your roommates and have the difficult conversation with them to ensure everyone is on the same page.

It’s not an easy task, but with the above 12 tips, you’ll be well prepared to handle everything with grace and ensure that all sticking points are worked through.

Good luck!


Tips for Cleanliness When Sharing a Bedroom With Your Roommate

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Living with roommates has plenty of upsides and downsides. There's the opportunity to lower your monthly rent and the opportunity to live with your best friend. There's also the opportunity to clash on a variety of topics: having guests over, whether or not to share certain items, and most importantly, how to keep your shared living space clean. With two separate schedules -- and often two differing views on the definition of clean -- it can get pretty difficult to keep your bedroom clean when living with a roommate. Here are a few key tips for cleanliness when it comes to sharing a bedroom with roommates.

Photo: Pexels

Establish a standard of "clean"

Roommates will likely have different expectations of "clean." So, establish a standard of what a clean bedroom is to you so that when someone cleans, they clean to that standard. While a roommate may actually spend time cleaning and say they're done, the other roommate may look at it and say the space still needs cleaning.

Communication is key when it comes to maintaining a clean bedroom when sharing it with a roommate. One roommate may be perfectly fine with the current level of mess -- clothes placed throughout the room, some dirty dishes on surfaces -- while the other roommate hates to see any item where it isn't supposed to be. Communicating with your roommate as early as possible to establish what each person's definition of clean is key. Not only will you better understand what each person expects from the space, but it can help you shape a cleaning schedule that works for both of you.

Assign cleaning duties and a schedule

Ideally, you and your roommate will split up cleaning duties so that no one is stuck with cleaning duty after cleaning duty. There are a few ways that roommates tend to split up cleaning duties so that it's split evenly among roommates.

One idea is to have alternating weeks where one person will clean one week, the other person the next, and so on. This way is fairly easy to remember as it's just a matter of remembering who is in charge of cleaning for the week.

Another idea that works for busier roommates is to split up cleaning duties every week and alternate those duties every week or month. For example, someone will vacuum and dust and the other will clean out the bathroom, the next week, these duties will be exchanged. This method works for roommates that don't want to spend a bulk of time deep cleaning their shared spaces but would rather spend a little time every week on a designated task.

Once you have a schedule set up for cleaning, you may also want to set up a detailed checklist. This checklist can help show what needs to be cleaned, especially when you and your roommate have different definitions of clean. It also can help ensure that both of you are cleaning the same way, week after week. As time passes and you both are used to clearing that checklist week after week, those cleaning duties will be your new normal and hopefully, no checklist is needed.

Keep up your individual cleaning duty

When you do create a cleaning schedule, it's important to also understand each person still has the individual duty to clean up after themselves. Just because one person is on cleaning duty for the week, doesn't mean the other person can create their own messes and expect the other person to clean up for them because it's not their week to clean up after themselves.

Not only is it disrespectful to make a mess and leave it with the intention for someone else to clean it, but it can also create unnecessary tension between roommates. Each person should still be cleaning up after themselves, putting clothes in the right places, throwing out their trash, and so on.

Act as if every week is your time to clean when it comes to picking up after yourself -- you wouldn't want to pick up after your roommate's clothes and dirty dishes when it's your turn to clean your shared bedroom, would you? Remember that small messes add up and try to do your part in keeping your room clean, even when it's not necessarily your week to clean.

Be flexible

With more than one person sharing a bedroom, there's more than one schedule to consider when it comes to keeping up the cleaning schedule you made. It's important to be mindful of each other's schedules and communicate when you can't keep up the cleaning schedule.

For example, one roommate may be having a hard week -- they have a lot of shifts at their job, an important assignment or exam coming up -- and the last thing on their mind is probably cleaning your shared bedroom. Instead of getting angry at your roommate for not being able to keep up with their cleaning duties, try to understand their situation and what you would ask for if you were in their position. Offer to take up the cleaning duties for them in exchange for them doing yours the following week, or when things ease up for them.

Also, leaving the mess for extended periods of time can just make the space messier and leave you both unhappy.

When sharing a bedroom, it's important to maintain open communication and a clear cleaning schedule when it comes to keeping your shared bedroom clean.


7 Ideas for a Roomie Date Night In

By Kailey Walters

After several months of spending all your time at home, you may be going a little stir crazy at this point. And if you live with roommates, you may just be getting a bit tired of being around them all the time.

Since you might not get the chance to go anywhere else any time soon, you and your roommates should come up with something new and fun to do together to change things up. What to do? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered here.

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1. Do a movie night.

This is a classic that never gets old. With so many different streaming services out there, from Netflix to Hulu to Disney+, you won’t be running out of movies to watch any time soon. (Plus, as a student, you can sometimes access these streaming services at a discounted or free rate!) Make some popcorn, grab any other snacks you love, and curl up on the couch with your roomie for a few hours of entertainment -- horror, comedy, romance, you name it.

2. Cook a fancy meal together.

This can be a lot of fun, whether you and your roommates are expert chefs or novices. If you have a specific dish you’ve been dying to try your hand at, go for it! If not, there are tons and tons of different dishes you could attempt to make, the recipes for which you can easily access online. Choose a specific dish, figure out what ingredients you need, and take a (safe) trip to the grocery store to pick up what you need.

If you can’t easily access a grocery store or would prefer not to go out at this time, you can totally switch this around and attempt to make a dish with the ingredients you already have at home. This may be a little more challenging, and it may not necessarily yield a great meal, but it can definitely be a fun process!

3. Blast some music and clean the apartment.

Okay, so maybe this isn’t the ideal fun thing to do for a night in, but it can be fun (and certainly productive) if you’re in the right mood. Besides, this gives you the chance to blast some of your favorite music -- you and your roommates can each take turns or, better yet, create a playlist of your favorite jams together -- and clean out your whole apartment. By the end of the night, your place will be sparkling clean, and you’ll be able to go to bed feeling accomplished.

4. Go on a mini-adventure.

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Traveling far and wide is not the smartest idea right now, but if you can swing a socially distanced mini-trip with just your roomie, you should totally go for it to stave off your boredom. That could mean driving over to a hiking trail and going for a hike together or taking a walk in a local park or neighborhood, all while limiting your run-ins with other people as best as you can. After spending so much time indoors, it’ll be good for you and your roommates to get out in the fresh air for a little bit.

5. Have a game night.

If you and your roommates love to play games, then a game night is perfect. Break out the board games and decks of cards, and play to your heart’s content! If you don’t happen to have any games with you in your apartment, you can order them online. It may take a while to arrive, but this way, you’ll have something to look forward to.

6. Have a crafts night.

Whether or not you and your roommates are artistically talented, a crafts night can be a lot of fun. Sites like Pinterest and Etsy offer a lot of interesting craft ideas and projects that you can take on, so you should have no shortage of inspiration. From knitting, sewing, and crocheting to drawing to painting, there are a lot of different crafts you can do to keep yourself occupied -- and you’ll have something cute to show off when you’re done.

7. Bake!

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Everyone’s doing it now -- even people (like me) who never, ever bake (so far, I’ve made an overdone cheesecake and a batch of brownies that turned out to be a really large cookie). There are tons of baking recipes you can choose from online, so don’t hesitate to pick something fun and get your bake on! To make things even more interesting, you and your roommates could do a bake-off and see whose product turns out better!

While you may be longing for the days when you can go out again, you can certainly make the best of your current situation and do something fun with your roommates.


10 Types of Roommates You Have in College

By Alicia Geigel 

Having one or multiple roommates is a standard part of the college experience. Whether it is during your freshman year in a dorm or post-college in an apartment, living with your new roommates may be either a dream or a nightmare, depending on the kind of person they are and how well you click together.

Everyone knows of at least one horror story involving a roommate, whether they were too messy, partied too much, or never left the dorm room. There are so many types of roommates out there, and if you’re not sure what to expect, you can become overwhelmed fast.

Are you about to move in with a roommate? Nervous about what to expect? Here are 10 types of roommates you can meet in college and how to deal with them!

1. The Neat Freak: Everyone typically likes their space tidy. The word ‘tidy’ may mean something different to someone depending on who you talk to, but generally, most people like a space that isn’t overwhelmed with trash or clutter. Then, there is the neat freak. As a roommate, the neat freak cannot stand to see a sign of dirt, trash, or clutter anywhere. They are constantly cleaning surfaces, Swiffer-mopping the floor, and might even ask you to take off your shoes at the door. Neat freak roommates can leave you feeling like you can’t keep up, do enough to satisfy them, or like you’re the embodiment of a mess.

Solution: Try your best to compromise with your roommate on tidiness, after all, it is the both of you that share the space and therefore you get a say as well. Establish a basic set of guidelines for cleanliness of the room, and abide by them. If your roommate wants to spend their time meticulously cleaning their side of the room, let them! Ensure that if you have a mess, it doesn’t encroach their space and give them the freedom to clean the shared spaces of your dorm if their heart deems it necessary.

2. The Slob: The polar opposite of the ‘Neat Freak’ roommate is the slob. For the slob, cleanliness is out the window. Tidiness? Never heard of it. As a roommate, the slob will generally not care about the state of the dorm room, leaving old graded papers, McDonald’s wrappers, and any kind of trash on the floor, in their bed, on their desk, in practically any space that can be occupied. Additionally, they don’t clean, so you can expect dirt and grime to build up on the floor, strands of hair on the floor or in the sink, etc. No one is absolutely perfect when it comes to having a clean space, but the slob throws that concept out of the window.

Solution: Living with someone is all about compromise. Similar to the ‘Neat Freak’ situation, try to compromise with your roommate on tidiness. Establish a basic set of guidelines for the cleanliness of the room, and ensure that you both abide by them. To make things simpler, you can alternate between who cleans what, and when. Set up a schedule where you and your roommate can clean certain areas of the room on a weekly basis. This way, the work gets divided up and your roommate doesn’t feel like they’re doing all of the work.

3. The Invisible Roomie: Part of what is so great about having a roommate is getting to know them, forming a friendship, and ultimately having them be someone special in your life for years down the line. For some roommates, however, forming relationships and being social is not something they are interested in. The invisible roommate is someone you know you live with, you’ve definitely talked to them and seen them before, but on a daily basis, you hardly ever come across them. Perhaps your schedules are that different, or maybe they really just aren’t interested in getting to know you. Either way, this type of roommate can be a bit of a head-scratcher.

Solution: If you appreciate your alone time and don’t mind being by yourself in your dorm most of the time, the invisible roommate isn’t too bad. But if you’re someone who likes to be social, make new friends, and get close to others, this might be hurtful and make you feel lonely. Ultimately there is nothing you can do in terms of changing your roommate’s habits or personality, but you can change what you do in the meantime! Try to visit your friends more, get out of your dorm, and go on adventures across campus, do things that get your mind off of the fact that your roommate is ghosting you.

4. The Hermit Homebody: After a long day of classes, work, and extracurriculars, there is nothing better than coming back to your dorm and unwinding with some TV or a good book. Enjoying time in your dorm is normal, but when it becomes a lifestyle, that’s when you are a certified hermit. This type of roommate rarely attends class, binges every series on Netflix, and is probably behind on all of their assignments. You wake up? They’re there. You come back from class? Yeah, they’re there. Coming back from a party at 1 am? You guessed it, they’re there. Hermit roommates never leave the room and rarely socialize with others, whether be in class or on your dorm floor.

Solution: Unless you are in desperate need of some privacy, the Hermit roommate isn’t too bad. Sure, sometimes you want the dorm to yourself, but at least they keep to themselves and don’t bother you! Try inviting your roommate to the cafeteria to have lunch or dinner with you, or invite them out to a small get together with some of your other friends to get them out of the dorm and socialize a little. Check up on your roommate routinely to make sure they’re ok and not struggling with depression or anxiety, which could keep them from wanting to go out or go to class.

5. The Party Animal: One of the best parts of going to college is socializing and having fun by going to parties. After a week of mountains of assignments, essays, quizzes, work, and other obligations, it's fun to let loose, hang out with friends, and go to a couple of parties! Unless, you’ve already done that multiple times, Monday through Friday. Yes, the Party Animal roommate doesn’t wait until the weekend to have fun, they do it at 11 am on a Tuesday or 4 pm on a Thursday, it doesn’t matter. Whenever you turn around, they’re either coming back from a party or trying to start a party of their own in the dorm. For someone who is focused on getting work done, getting decent sleep, and not trying to clean up your roommate’s drunk messes, this can be a bit of a problem.

Solution: Listen, no one wants to be labeled as a ‘party pooper’, but there is a line that has to be drawn when the fun antics of your roommate interfere with your lifestyle and your academic work. Like everything else in terms of conflict with a roommate, try and compromise. Establish some rules regarding partying, having people over, and drinking. Maybe you can set hours in the morning or nighttime that are reserved for being quiet. Set boundaries on the times they invite friends over, and the number of friends they invite as well. If push comes to shove, talk to an RA, or look for another roommate situation!

 

6. The Catty Roommate: No one really likes confrontation, but some definitely deal with it better than others. Being in college, you are considered an adult, which means you are expected (and should) handle things with maturity and dignity. This can be for something as small as a piece of trash left on your roommate’s side of the room or forgetting to turn off the light because you were studying late. While this is not a big deal to handle for most people, the catty roommate will deal with things of this matter passive-aggressively. You never really know what is going to bother them today, but you can expect to find post-it notes telling you what you did to annoy them. Words are never spoken and tension always exists because there’s no verbal communication.

Solution: At the beginning of the semester or whenever you move in with your roommate, establish specific rules and guidelines as to how you both want to live and what you expect from each other. Mention or include things like study/work schedules, cleanliness, when to have friends over, what to share vs. what not to share, etc. Doing so at the beginning should make things a lot easier in terms of knowing what to expect from your roommate. If a passive-aggressive note floats around your dorm, ask your roommate about it and talk it out.

7. The Roommate with a Boyfriend/Girlfriend: When in college, it is expected that you will date a few people. Given that you are socializing with others, meeting new people in classes, etc., dating and/or having a significant other isn’t something that anyone doesn’t expect. When you start to lose your sense of privacy and space because your roommate can’t seem to get enough of their significant other, then you are in for a unique situation. The roommate with the significant other is usually so obsessed with them that your roommate is around them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There isn’t a time when you can’t catch them staring deeply into each other's eyes, kissing, or going on about how much the other means to them. Love is fine, but when it suffocates you all the time, it gets exhausting.

Solution: You don’t want to see your roommate break up with their significant other, but you do want your space back. Kindly ask your roommate to consider alternating between your dorm and their significant others, so that you can have some space but aren’t kicking them out completely. Stress the idea that the room is also yours, and you have to study, work, or want to unwind without having to worry about what is going on between the two of them. Trust me, I think your roommate will understand.

8. The Borrower: Are you ever chilling in your dorm when you realize you’re missing your favorite sweatshirt? Or searching through your drawers you notice your box of cereal is half gone? I hate to break it to you, but there’s a strong probability that you’re living with the Borrower roommate. Their intentions may be good, but the Borrower roommate has no concept of personal space or belongings, and has the “what’s mine is yours, what’s yours is mine” attitude about nearly everything in your room. From clothes to food to shampoo, your roommate will use or borrow anything without asking, because that’s what roommates do right? Though it can be frustrating to deal with them, there are a few ways to get them to quit it.

Solution: All it takes to break through to a Borrower roommate is to have a conversation. Set clear boundaries as to what is yours and yours only, such as the food you buy, your clothes, toiletries, etc. Once you tell your roommate that there are certain things they can’t borrow or use, they will lay off and get the picture.

9. The Late Night Owl: Everyone has different schedules for the day since none of us are the same, we all handle the day differently. In college, most everyone runs on a similar schedule, as classes take up the morning to mid-afternoon. Because of this, going to bed at a decent hour and waking up on the early-end of the morning is a must, unless you’re the Night Owl roommate. When you’re falling asleep at midnight so you can get up early to study for an exam the next day, the Night Owl roommate is just starting their night. While they aren’t partying, they are most likely microwaving food, listening to music, taking a shower, chatting with friends, or wandering aimlessly around the dorm. All of this can put a strain on your sleep and make you want to pull your hair out.

Solution: Try compromising with your roommate and be vocal about what is bothersome to you at night. Is their music too loud? Are the lights too bright? All of these are important concerns to bring up to them. Additionally, a sleeping mask and earplugs can help too!


10. The Soul Mate: If you’re lucky, you can find the perfect roommate that clicks with you on everything. Your personalities mesh together, and its a win-win situation. My freshman year, after my first roommate moved out, a girl that I was friends with moved in with me, and it was the best roommate experience ever! We were on the same page, had fun, understood each other's habits and boundaries, and had an awesome roommate relationship, so much so that we are best friends to this day, far after we got our diploma!

Dealing with roommate problems isn’t always easy, but if you communicate effectively by vocalizing what bothers you and can find a middle ground, nearly all of your problems can be solved! As always, good luck!


How to Amicably Restrict Your Roommate's Visitors

By Madison White

We all know that we are living in unprecedented, uncertain, and difficult times. When our lives are still somewhat, if not completely, confined to our homes, some people may be struggling not only with the effects of quarantine itself, but with dealing with a difficult roommate too. While some people take the precautions very seriously, others may be less apt to follow the rules and prioritize things like their social lives over safety. If you are living with someone who is trying to bring people over despite the dangers, how can you politely but firmly ask them to stop? With a few helpful tips, you should be able to have a productive conversation that leaves both of you feeling better.

 

 

1. Approach the topic calmly

Many of us have never lived through an experience similar to the shutdowns due to Covid-19. Because of this, many people are reacting differently, and with varying degrees of restriction. Some of what is true about the disease changes every day and remains somewhat of a mystery. Depending on where you get your news from, you may have different ideas about the scale of the problem. While you may have very strong feelings about keeping safe during the pandemic, you want to approach the topic calmly. If you bring up the situation like it is the end of the world and nothing can be done, it will be easier for your roommate to blow you off and act like you are just being dramatic. Bringing the topic up with reasonable background knowledge and open to new information is a better way to approach the subject.

2. Talk about your reasons

While some things are still unknown about the virus, it is now common knowledge that the virus can be transferred through air particles, on surfaces, and via asymptomatic carriers. Some people will be quick to say that the people they are hanging out with feel fine, but that might not be enough. Discuss with your roommates how having people over to your shared space affects your safety too. You may want to talk about all the surfaces someone would touch while coming over—doorknobs, walls, couches, chairs, sinks, toilets—and how it would be nearly impossible to clean all these surfaces after they leave. Furthermore, if you have pre-existing medical conditions that make you more susceptible to the virus, you may also want to bring those up as well. Talking about exactly why other people coming over makes you uncomfortable is a better conversation than simply telling them no without any reasoning. They will be more likely to understand where you are coming from and listen to your point of view.

3. Show empathy

As most of us know, the mental effects of being trapped inside have been very challenging for most people. If your roommate is an extrovert who thrives on human interaction, this is probably an especially difficult time for them. When you talk about this issue, make sure that you are showing empathy for them. This is likely one of the ways they are trying to cope with the pandemic and showing that you understand or can empathize with their feelings can go a long way.

4. Offer other options

Having friends come over may have been their normal socializing before the pandemic so your roommate may have not thought about all the other options there are to get their interaction fix. You could suggest that instead of meeting inside your home, they meet either on your front or back porch. This could be a compromise so that both of you feel like you get what you want. You may also suggest that they meet up with their friend for a walk in an outdoor space like a park. There are also plenty of options for hanging out with people digitally whether it be through FaceTime or other programs like Zoom. There are loads of fun games that people can play in groups over the internet that are nearly as fun as hanging out in person! Helping them brainstorm other ideas may make it easier for them to give up the idea of having people over.

Roommate difficulties can definitely be heightened due to spending way more time together and because of the anxiety that a pandemic causes. Hopefully, you and your roommate will be able to understand each other better and reach a solution that benefits both of you. Don’t forget to be understanding and honest with each other about what is going on. A roommate can be a very important support system when it comes to trying times like these. It is much better to lean on each other rather than becoming enemies during a time like this.


Fun At-Home Workouts To Do With Your Roommate

By Danielle Wirsansky

If you are in quarantine due to the pandemic but still want to get your workout on, then this is the article for you! And if your roommate wants to join in on the fun, even better. Being stuck in the house for weeks on end can be pretty draining and it can be hard to find ways to work out or even stay motivated to work out. So if you and your roommate can get on the same page, working out together, even just at home, might be enough to help snap you out of your funk or keep you on track until the gym is a safe spot to return to.

You most likely do not have a lot of gym equipment at home, but you can use your partner to get the most out of your workout instead. Read on for some fun at-home workouts to do with your roommate!

Wheelbarrow Squat Pushups

This exercise titles might seem a little bit daunting but it is actually a lot of fun if you can stay focused on the exercise rather than laughing about your position. Each of you can take turns in the different positions so that you all get the full workout.

This exercise is nice because both partners are doing something a little bit different at the same time and no one has to wait around to wait for the other to finish their rep. It will not work unless the partners are in sync because they have to rely on each other to get the stretch done.

Partner A gets into a plank position, with their arms holding them up high. Partner B stands behind them by their feet. When Partner A is ready, Partner B grasps their ankles and hold them up in a wheelbarrow position. Once that position is attained. Partner A will bend their elbows into a push-up. At the same time, Partner B will do a deep squat, keeping Partner A’s legs level. About 10 reps will be enough to help you feel the burn.

Partner A needs to use their core to keep their body straight throughout the exercise. Partner B needs to do their part to keep Partner A’s body straight too and keep their back straight as they do their squats.

High Five Squat Jumps

If you and your exercise partner want to do the same kind of stretch in an exercise together and want one that will bring some positivity to your workout, then the high five squat jumps are for you.

This is a pretty simple exercise. If you know how to squat and how to high five, then you have already got this exercise down. Both partners should stand side by side facing the same direction. Leave a little bit of room between you. When you are ready to start, both partners should get down in a deep squat and then use this position’s momentum to jump upwards. As you jump, each partner should lift the arm closest to the other partner and high five. It will keep you and your partner in sync too because you have to high five each other at the same time. This exercise might also help you work on your coordination, because high fiving each other can sometimes be a struggle all on its own, never mind the deep squats in between them like in this exercise.

If you really want to bring some positivity into this exercise, you and your partner can say something positive to each other every time that you high five, like “You got this!” “We are so close!” and “Nailed it!” You can keep going until you lose your breath and can no longer say your positive mantras. But aim to do at around 20 reps if possible.

Clapping Side Plank

Another great partner exercise is the clapping side plank. The side plank is where you lay on your side and then elevate yourself to bear your weight on one arm and stretch your body out, with your top foot stacked on top of the other one. It is important to keep your core tight. Get into your side plank, but the partners should be back to back.

The hand that is free should come forward to wrap around your torso to clap your partner’s hand behind your back. Then stretch it up straight and high. Get some momentum as you move your arm and rotate it around so that you can high five your partner up in the air as well.

Use all this time at home to better bond with your roommate and keep yourself accountable with your health and fitness goals despite being stuck at home. Have the best time you can with these fun, at-home workouts!


Getting To Know Your Future Roommate Virtually If You Can't Meet Up In-Person

By Danielle Wirsansky

 

Keeping yourself on an even keel while in college can be difficult. It can be hard to find the right balance between all the different elements of your very busy college life. This can include your schoolwork, going to classes, homework, going to work, extracurricular activities, your family, your social life, and even your living situation. However, your living situation can often be the most important element of all. This is because what happens at home in your living situation can affect all the other elements. If you do not have a happy home it is short to come out in other areas. If you are having a stressful time at home, then it will be harder for you to succeed in the other areas of your life.

And within that element one of the most important parts about creating for yourself a happy home life is making sure that you can connect with and mesh well with your roommate. However, oftentimes in college, whether you are living in a dorm or off-campus, you may have to be assigned a random roommate.

When you live in a dorm, they often assign you a random roommate and this will be based on a questionnaire that you fill out. Yet we have all heard the horror stories and know that those questionnaires don’t always help connect the best-suited roommates.

When you live off-campus, is more likely that you will be able to choose your own roommate. However, if you are unable to find someone that you would like to live with many apartment properties or complexes will match you with other students that are also looking for roommates and that way you can all have separate leases but still share an apartment. This is because most college students cannot afford the lease for an entire property on their own. Rental properties maximize their profits and the likelihood of students renting from them when they offer this service. Some properties offer a questionnaire just like the dorms do but others just put people who are interested in the same kind of property together without paying any attention or paying heed to what those people are like.

Regardless of where you are living or why, a college student will often not know their roommate in person ahead of time. Perhaps they have a busy school schedule, or you have a very difficult work schedule to maneuver around, or perhaps one or both of you are not staying in your college town until it is time to move in. This means you have to take the time and effort to get to know your roommate on your own time.

And one way to do so is virtually. So if this is the case and you need to meet or get to know your roommate virtually, there are many different strategies that you can try so that you can get to know them and make sure that your living experience together is the best possible outcome that it can be. Read on for tips on getting to know your roommate virtually if you can’t meet up in person!

 

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Video Chat

The next best thing after meeting in person is, of course, seeing each other through video chat! If you are interested in video chatting, there are many different platforms you can try and use to do so.

If you want to go old school, you can go through Skype. Most people have a Skype account or they can get one and it is free and easy to use. However, many people in the younger generations no longer create or have a Skype account. If this is the case, you may want to use a platform that you already have an account with.

Another option to try to video chat through is Google Hangouts. Most people have a Gmail account, or if they do not, are interested in making one. You need one in order to have other accounts like a YouTube account so it’s very likely that your potential or future roommate does have a Gmail account already. This means you also have your future or potential roommate’s email address at the same time.

If speaking or video chatting through Google Hangouts is not an option, then you can always try the video chat feature that Facebook Messenger has to offer. Most people today have a Facebook account. Messenger is easy to use because it can be on their phone or use through a computer desktop or laptop. This makes it especially convenient to use for video chat. And this way if you are chatting with each other ahead of time which many roommates do and you are using Facebook you can keep a record of all your communications in the same place.

If you want to go a more professional round, you might want to try Zoom. Zoom is a video chat software for professionals that has really boomed over the last two years. And after the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, it is especially in high demand. In fact, Zoom has now opened its platform so that anybody may make a free account. However, these free accounts will only allow you to chat for 40 minutes at a time before kicking you off. If you want to splurge you can pay a monthly fee to be a member of the platform, then you can have unlimited video calls. The connections are usually better than other video chatting platforms and you can also conveniently give yourself a background that hides whatever your actual background is, so you don’t have to worry about finding a picture-perfect spot to make a good impression.

You and your roommate will have to choose what’s best for you.

Connect on Social Media

Another way to get to know your future roommate virtually if you cannot meet in person is to connect on social media. Most people have at least one account on social media, no matter which platform it is. And there are definitely a lot of different platforms to choose from. The most basic social media account you can connect with your future roommate through his Facebook.

Most people have Facebook though the younger generations tend not to use it as often as other social media platforms. Even if they don't use it that often, you can usually still learn something about your roommate and use it for messaging and video chatting purposes. If they are engaged with their Facebook, they will also usually have some of their likes and dislikes listed on their profile as well as pictures or old posts that will allow you to learn a little bit more about their personality.

Another great option to try is Instagram. Younger people tend to use Instagram more often than Facebook. Using Instagram to get to know your future roommate, you will be able to get literal snapshots into their life. You can see what they look like, the things they like to do, the kinds of people they surround themselves with, what their hobbies and interests are, and more.

If you were looking to connect with your future roommate and learn more about them in a more intimate way, you can also connect through Snapchat. Snapchat will also give you literal snapshots into their lives. You’ll get to see them being themselves, being more comfortable in their own skin, and seeing what they do in their own time.

Some people may not want to connect through Snapchat immediately until they get to know you better, as it is a more intimate social experience. Be sure to ask your future roommate if connecting through Snapchat is OK before you just add them.

There are plenty more social media platforms for you to try and connect through if none of these seem like quite the right thing for you and your roommate. Find the one that works best for both of you and that helps you get to know each other best, pending on your personality. You also want to be aware of what you post and how that might come across to your own future roommate.

 

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Ask Questions

In order to get to know your future roommate well, even if you have to communicate virtually at first until you meet each other for the very first time, you have to ask questions. The questions that you need to ask your roommate are the same kind of questions that you would ask them if you were meeting them in person. Asking these initial questions is a very important step in getting to know your roommate. They will give you invaluable information that will help you to deal with this person better and make sure your living situation is copacetic.

If you are not sure what kind of questions you should be asking your future roommate, here are a few examples:

●      Do you smoke?

●      Do you have any pets?

●      Do you like to cook?

●      Do your friends come over often?

●      Do you ever have trouble paying your rent on time?

●      How often do you like to clean?

●      What is your schedule like?

●      How often do you like to go out?

●      Do you have any allergies, food or otherwise?

●      What temperature would you like or prefer for our living space to be?

●      What do you like to do on the weekends?

●      Are you still friends with any of your former or past roommates?

●      Are you in a romantic relationship?

●      What time do you like to go to bed?

●      What are your pet peeves?

These questions, and questions like these, can help you get a lot of insight into your potential roommate. They can help you to know what to expect, help you to adjust, help you to make the most of your situation, or even help inform you that this living situation is not a good idea and that the two of you will not do well together. Be sure to think of your own personal and unique questions that you would like to ask your roommate to help you get a better idea of what they are like and if you too can live together well.

Set Ground Rules Ahead of Time

Just as you would if you were meeting your future roommate in person, you need to set your ground rules ahead of time virtually. These ground rules include your cleaning schedule, guidelines for having guests over to the property, and your expectations for courtesy to each other, just as a few examples.

You need to make sure that you both have an understanding and are on the same page. It is far better to make sure that you are on the same page in advance before you move into the property together. This helps to make sure that you are not a poor match and will be unsuccessful roommates once you have moved in already and it helps you and your roommate stay objective rather than defensive so that no one feels to surprised or ganged up upon once they are already moved into the space.

For example, if you are allergic to cats and your roommate has a cat, that might not be a good match. Or if you are a homebody, and your roommate likes to drink, party, and have guests and romantic partners over to the apartment all the time then it might not work out either. This is why setting ground rules ahead of time helps stop bad situations from occurring once you are finally moved in.

 

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Getting to know your future roommate virtually is a very important step, especially if you cannot meet them in person before your move-in date. Do not take it lightly. Make the effort to get to know them and get to know them well. Find out the important things about them so you can be sure to have a harmonious living experience and a positive college or University experience as well. A happy home makes a happy life which is what we all want.


How To Cheer Up Your Roommate When They're Having A Tough Time

By Danielle Wirsansky

Whether you are the best of friends or just casual acquaintances, your roommate is a big part of your life while you are in college. Most college students do live with a roommate or two or three (sometimes even more). And your roommate is important, not just because they pay half the rent though that is an incredibly important element too.

Your roommate is also important because you share a living space, and their mood can affect your mood. If they are mad, you will probably be able to feel it. If they are happy, you will probably be able to tell. And if they are sad, then it can bring down the vibe of the whole apartment.

Everyone goes through tough times every once in a while, so you should try to be supportive when you can. You want your roommate to be happy, healthy, and paying their share of the rent. Read on to learn how to cheer up your roommate when they’re having a tough time!

Take Them Out To Eat

Whose spirits aren’t lifted by a bite to eat? Eating food generally makes one feel better. First We Eat explains, “We’re innately pleasure-seekers, and studies like this one have shown that certain foods—such as sugar, salt, and fat—are potent natural reward-drivers. This reaction occurs because they trigger the release of key ‘pleasure’ neurotransmitters—such as dopamine—more than their healthy counterparts. Ever felt your mouth water at the sight of pizza, but not kale? You already know.”

In addition to the food making your roommate feel better, taking time to sit, eat, and be relaxed and talk to you can help distract them and cheer them up from whatever tough time they may be having. Eating a meal together can be a very intimate thing and it will help to strengthen your bond together. If you can swing it, offer to pay to go the extra mile. But a lot of the time, just the simple invitation to go and break bread can be quite enough. Who knows, it might be just what your roommate needed!

Do Their Least Favorite Chore

We all have a least favorite chore, right? Roommates usually split up the chores between themselves so that everyone does an equal share and no one is overburdened. If you can tell that your roommate is feeling a little overburdened themselves and going through a rough time, a nice gesture might be doing a chore for them.

Most people do not really enjoy doing chores, so doing a chore for them could definitely cheer them up. But if you want the most bang for your buck with this favor, you might consider doing their least favorite chore for them so that they are especially uplifted by and grateful for this action. Do they hate doing the dishes? You can do them today. Do they have trouble lugging the garbage out to the dumpster? You can get it done instead. Does the sound of the vacuum give them a headache? Do it while they are out of the house! Maybe they hate scrubbing toilets—you can do it for them just this once.

If you do not know what their least favorite chore is, then any chore will do. But if you know what it is, then it is highly recommended you try that chore out. Would you be appreciative if they did your least favorite chore for you? You already know the answer.

Give Them Space

Another strategy you can try when your roommate is feeling down is just to give them space. Sometimes, when people are going through a hard time, they want to be by themselves. They do not want to talk about their problems, they do not want anyone to feel bad for them, and they just need to sort it out themselves.

Even if you have the best of intentions, doing nice things for them might make them feel vulnerable or weak or ashamed. The best thing you can do in those situations is just let them take a step back and breathe.

Every person, every roommate, every situation, and every roommate relationship is different, so you have to choose what feels right to you based on your own personal knowledge and experience. You definitely do not want to misstep and make your roommate feel worse or put them in a worse situation. Be sensitive. The fact that one, you have noticed that your roommate is going through a hard time and two, you care enough about them to do something about it already speaks well about your efforts. Just do your best! A lot of the time, it is the thought that counts.


Saying Goodbye to Your Roommate From Afar

By Alyssa Laffitte

As we part with our roommates for the year, it's likely we won't see them again for a while. In this article, we will discuss ways to say goodbye to your roommate from afar.

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Text Them

Texting is one of the easiest, most convenient methods of communication today. You can quickly send a message to your roommate at your convenience, and they will respond whenever they have the chance. Texting a good way to have a quick conversation with your roommate, but it is limiting. Your roommate might be busy and can't respond for a while. Plus, some conversations can be difficult to have over text. Deeper, longer, more serious conversations can be held over the phone, where you can hear the other person's voice, and they can respond right away. For that reason, you can keep in touch with your roommate through text, but you should save longer, more serious conversations for a phone call when you both can give the conversation your full attention. Texting is a good way to say goodbye from afar to your roommate and to stay in touch with them.

Video Chat with Them

Although texting is an easy method of communication, it is also easy to stay in touch with people who live far from you through video chatting. Video chatting is better than a phone call because you can actually see the other person. In addition to hearing the other person's voice, you can also observe their body language, which is an important part of communication that gets lost through text or a phone call. You can use one of many video chatting platforms, such as FaceTime or Skype to see your friends face to face while still keeping your distance from them. When you video chat, rather than text or phone call, it's more like an in-person conversation because you two are face to face. Video chatting is the best way to say goodbye to your roommate from afar.

Multi-Person Video Chat

What's better than video chatting with one person? Video chatting with many people! If you have many roommates or mutual friends with your roommates, you can video chat with all of them at the same time. You can use the same video chat platforms you would use to chat with one person, but you could also use platforms like Google Hangouts, Zoom, or House Party since they are conducive to having multiple people video chatting at the same time. You will be able to see and hear everyone at once, and they will all be able to see and hear you and each other. You can coordinate a time for everyone to get on a call or on a video chat room, and you can all talk to each other there. In other words, you can say goodbye from afar to multiple friends or roommates at the same time by using a multi-person video chat.

Write Them a Letter

Writing a letter and sending it via snail mail seems old fashioned, but it's still a good option to say goodbye from afar. You will be able to write them a letter, it will be like having a pen pal! Plus, your roommate would probably enjoy receiving a letter in the mail. Unfortunately, it's not as quick as a text message or a video call, so it's not the best option for an urgent message. However, it's a good way to send a meaningful message that your roommate can keep. Sending letters back and forth could be a fun way to spend your time away. If you and your roommate want to do a fun, pen pal-like project, you can consider writing them a letter to say goodbye from afar.

Send Them Something

Along the same lines as sending your roommate a letter to say goodbye from afar, you could send other things to them, too. For example, you could send them a food delivery, like a pizza. (Of course, it's a good idea to let them know to expect something, but they'd surely be happy to receive something from you.) Sending your roommate something is a sweet way to say goodbye from afar.

See Them Through a Window

If you and your roommate live in the same city, you could say goodbye to them in person through a window. This is a good way to say goodbye if you want to do it in person. It would also be a good opportunity to drop off anything you might want to leave for them (like a note or food). As long as you stay outside of your roommate's place, and they stay inside, it should be okay to say goodbye to them through a window.

If you want to say goodbye to your roommate, but you can't see them physically, you can do the things in this article.