College Roommate Tips
By Elise Nelson
Navigating life with a roommate, whether you’re living in a house, an apartment, or a dorm, can be stressful enough as it is. You may spend a lot of time reading up on roommate etiquette and coming up with detailed roommate agreements. Living together in harmony means working out bills, chores, conflicts, personal space, and more. On top of that, there’s now one more challenge thrown into the roommate mix: COVID. It’s a scary thought, but it’s important to think about what to do if you or your roommate test positive for COVID.
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Remain calm and create a safe plan together.
Your roommate just got the test results back: they are COVID-19 positive. A few immediate questions may cross your mind: “Does this mean I have COVID too? Will I have to quarantine? Should I stay somewhere else for a while?” First things first: make sure your roommate is alright. Try to remain calm and avoid making any decisions. You and your roommate will be quarantined, so take some time to make sure you both have everything you need. Ordering groceries or takeout for contactless delivery is going to be your best bet, so make sure you’re set to use services like Instacart or Uber Eats.
Your first instinct may be to head home to your parents’ house, but this isn’t always the safest choice. Remember that the goal is to keep contact with others as minimal as possible, so it’s best to just stay put.
Get yourself tested as soon as possible.
Many schools have developed their own guidelines for what you should do if your roommate tests positive, so check your college or university’s website or contact the campus health department for specific procedures. Generally, the CDC considers roommates to be close contacts, so you should make an appointment to get tested for COVID as soon as possible – even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms.
Some schools, such as the University of North Georgia, offer COVID testing at their Student Health Services locations. Otherwise, you can schedule an appointment with your health care provider, your local urgent care center, or CVS’s Minute Clinic.
Quarantine immediately. Self-isolate, if possible.
Even if you don’t feel sick, it’s important for you to quarantine after discovering that your roommate is COVID-19 positive. According to the CDC’s definition, close contacts of COVID patients should stay home for 14 days. Monitor yourself for any symptoms and check your temperature frequently. Your local health department may have specific qualifications to shorten your quarantine period.
Your sick roommate should self-isolate (stay away from others in the home) until at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, or until symptoms improve. Of course, this isn’t always possible if you’re living in a dorm room. Check with your school to see if there are any temporary housing solutions available for sick students and close contacts. Penn State’s Eastview Terrace, for example, has been used as a quarantine and isolation space.
Avoid contact in shared spaces.
You should try to remain as isolated as possible, but it’s only logical that you’ll need to enter a common space every so often, like the bathroom or kitchen. Avoid being in these locations at the same time as your roommate. Disinfect thoroughly when you’re finished with the common space. The CDC also recommends wearing a mask when you do need to be in shared spaces.
In the same vein, avoid sharing any objects, like kitchenware. It may be best to include some disposable plates, napkins, utensils, and cups with your grocery order, and you should each have your own food items. Again, keep things as separate as possible and disinfect when you can.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
Sanitize and disinfect a little extra.
No matter what degree of cleanliness you normally maintain in your home, it’s important to step up the sanitization efforts. Retrace your steps and thoroughly disinfect any surfaces and objects that you come in contact with, especially if they’re shared with your roommate. You’ll want to kill any germs as quickly as possible – even if you think you might be healthy. Hand sanitizer and frequent hand washing are a must during quarantine. If possible, try to do some extra loads of laundry to take care of any worn clothing and your bedsheets.
Remember to support each other.
Above all else, you and your roommate should support each other. Getting COVID is a very stressful situation and the extra support is important when contact with anyone outside your residence is limited. If only your roommate is sick, you can care for them while still maintaining a safe distance, and vice versa. Try leaving any medications and food at their door, and make sure they are staying hydrated. You can also virtually keep each other entertained by texting, video chatting, playing online games, or using Teleparty to watch shows.
Remember that you and your roommate are in this together, and you will get through COVID together.
You don’t need to be in a relationship to celebrate Valentine’s Day. You can still enjoy the holiday and celebrate the idea of love and the love you have for other people with your roommates.
Long gone are the days of being sad that you’re single on Valentine’s Day. It’s time to look at love in another light and celebrate this candy-filled holiday with the people you love to live with.
These are nine epic ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your roommates to ensure your holiday doesn’t go to waste.
1. Celebrate with Chocolate
What is the number one thing associated with celebrating Valentine’s Day? Chocolate!
Don’t wait for someone else to buy you some chocolate and do it yourself so you can celebrate Valentine’s Day with your roommates by indulging in a variety of chocolates. If you really want to go all out, get a chocolate fondue fountain and experiment with dipping different foods under it.
You’ll be sure to have a sugar high after satisfying your sweet tooth.
2. RomCom Marathon
Who doesn’t love watching a cheesy romantic comedy to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Heat up some popcorn, buy some junk food, and indulge in a box of chocolates at you and your roommates enjoy some of the greatest rom-com movies of all time according to Rolling Stone.
3. Spa Day/Night
You deserve to pamper yourself to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Whether you decide to book the day at a spa or do it at home, you and your roommates will feel relaxed and tranquil as you soak in healthy nutrients that make your skin glow and paint beautiful colors on your nails.
Don’t forget to light some candles and put on some relaxing music to really get in a calming mood.
4. Do a Craft
If you and your roommates and the DIY type, then doing a craft is the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Browse Pinterest for some inspiration and ideas and choose which craft you’d like to do together then take a group trip to a craft store and get your supplies.
You can even all work on a craft that will serve as a decoration in your apartment such as a wreath, bar cart, or collage with photos.
5. Wine Tasting
What makes chocolate even better? Wine!
If you and your roommates have a special appreciation for different types of wines and the flavors that each bottle holds, a wine tasting is a perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day together. You can either go to a winery and have a professional wine tasting or have one at home.
If you decide to have one at home, have each roommate buy a bottle of wine and research what foods pair well with it (chocolate preferred.) Then enjoy your wine tasting and experience the play on flavors between the food and the wine.
6. Have a Tea Party
Are you obsessed with Bridgerton lately and want to host a traditional English tea party? Valentine’s Day is a great way to do it.
Get dressed up in your finest and most posh attire and sip on tea while enjoying light finger sandwiches and gossip about celebrities and high society. It’s a fun way to tap into your childhood and posh alter egos.
7. Volunteer for the Day
Spread the love on Valentine’s Day and volunteer in your community to give back. Whether you work at a food drive, volunteer at the library, or serve food at a community kitchen, you’ll surely feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing you’ve helped people who need it most.
8. Painting with a Twist
Pour yourself a glass of wine and paint a beautiful canvas with the help of an instructor with Painting with a Twist. While you can go to a studio and do it with other people, the company also offers virtual events so you can do it right in your home! Who’s thinking pajamas, wine, and painting right now?
9. Photoshoot Night
Is it time to give your Instagram profile an upgrade with some creative and unique photos? Pick a few of your favorite outfits, do your makeup, style your hair, and set up your apartment like a photoshoot studio and spend the night taking photos with your roommates.
Pro tip: Prop up your phone somewhere and use the self-timer to get cute photos of all of you together!
How Will You Celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Now that you have nine awesome ideas of how to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your roommates, how will you decide to do it?
Will you indulge in chocolate and wine or sit in front of the TV rewatching your favorite romantic comedies? Maybe you’ll get in touch with your creative side and do a craft or participate in Painting with a Twist.
No matter what you do, always appreciate the ones you love and those who love you back!
Even if you spend days or weeks searching for the perfect roommate and you are convinced that you found the one, things may not be so perfect once you actually start living together. Whether you live in a dorm or an apartment, your space will likely be on the smaller side, and living in tight quarters with others can prove to be a challenge. If you and your roommates end up not being as compatible as it seemed you would be, there are things you can do to ensure that you all make it to the end of the semester without going completely crazy.
Communication is key
While it may be tempting to give your roommates the silent treatment if you end up not liking them, it is best to communicate, especially when issues arise. If you live with other roommates, do not talk about the roommate you do not like behind their back as this could cause further issues. When you talk to the person, be direct yet respectful. Ask your roommate(s) if there is anything you can do to help make the living situation better on your end. Listening is just as important, if not more so, than talking in order to help communication stay open.
As soon as you sense that things are getting a bit tense, arrange a time where you can have a conversation with your roommate. Consider meeting at a restaurant or coffeehouse. Be honest about how you have been feeling without pointing fingers. It is possible that your roommate might be dealing with stress and does not realize how they have been acting. However, if they are acting how they are because they genuinely do not like you, make a plan for how to move forward.
Other tips to help communication improve is to avoid hiding behind a computer or cell phone to have the conversation and to avoid being passive-aggressive when discussing your concerns. Also, initially, keep the conversation one-on-one. If things are not improving or get worse, you may opt to bring a neutral person in, but only do this if things do not get better.
Image: Trung Thanh via https://unsplash.com/photos/LgdDeuBcgIY
Avoid political conversations
Many incompatibility issues may stem from differences in political opinions. It is important to meet people with different views in order to learn, these differences become difficult if your roommate is unable to agree to disagree on issues or becomes demeaning of your views. If you do find yourself having an argument about politics with your roommate, do not take their opinions personally. Try your best to stay calm, avoid cursing, and find things that you can agree on. Ideally, you should try to avoid political conversations if you know they will cause major disagreements and fights.
Set boundaries and enforce them
Boundaries are always important, but they are especially crucial if you end up disliking your roommate. Creating a roommate agreement with rules to follow, such as guidelines for having people over and personal space, is a great way to enforce boundaries. The agreement can be amended if new issues arise, but the guidelines should be followed for the most part. Create set times for studying and figure out how you are splitting room and utility costs. Make a chart that maps out who is responsible for what chores and when they need to get done. Set up consequences for times when these guidelines are not upheld by you or your roommate.
One boundary that you may want to enforce is borrowing each other’s stuff and eating each other’s food. If these have been one of the causes of the problems, you may want to enforce rules such as not borrowing things, especially without asking, and not eating the other person’s food. Reducing the issues you have to deal with can make living with a difficult roommate that much easier. Include these rules in your roommate agreement so that you have them in writing in case you need to reference them later.
Once you set boundaries, make sure you are actually abiding by them. If you yourself are not living up to your rules and boundaries, you should not expect your roommate to. Do to others as you would want to be done to you, as the golden rule states, and it is very true in the case of dealing with a difficult roommate. Even if your roommate refuses to follow the rules and boundaries, you can rest assured that you are holding up your end of the deal.
You may not like your roommate, but you are stuck with them for the time being. Things will be much easier for both of you if you agree to respect each other, even if you are not the biggest fans of each other. Remember that you will not be roommates forever, so hang in there and try your best to not be a terrible person. Say hi, keep them updated on friends coming over, and do your share of the chores. This will help you survive until you can move out and find a new place and new roommates. Resist the urge to just give up and not care about your side of the rent and the chores, as this will shine a bad light on you. Keep your space clean, especially if you know that your roommate needs cleanliness.
Get another party involved
Sometimes, getting a neutral party involved can be useful in figuring out how to move forward. It may be your landlord or Resident Assistant, or even a campus counselor. Getting an unbiased opinion can help you and your roommate manage the situation of not getting along, or they may be able to help you figure out how to get out. If you have a roommate agreement, share it with whoever your unbiased person is so they can keep you accountable and step in when issues arise. Try to avoid asking family members or friends to be the third party as they may be biased toward whoever they are related to or are closest to.
That said, you should be careful of who you bring in and when. See if there are ways that you can help smooth the situation over on your own. Also, be sure that the person you bring in is neutral and does not favor one of you over the other. Be cautious of who you tell even before bringing someone else in, and take any advice from family and friends with a grain of salt. Close friends and relatives are likely going to see you in a positive light and point fingers at your roommate. This may seem comforting in the moment, but if there is something you need to do differently in order to make things better, you need to hear that side.
Image: Priscilla Du Preez via https://unsplash.com/photos/LxEsi17Au6U
Be willing to compromise
Being in a disagreement where you and your roommate are polar opposites and things seem impossible to resolve can be tough. However, if you show that you are willing to compromise and meet somewhere in the middle, it is likely that your roommate will follow suit. While it may not be the most ideal situation, meeting in the middle allows you and your roommate to each get a bit of what you want while helping to end the disagreement. Showing that you are willing to work together to solve the problem can help the situation be better.
When you talk to your roommate, you may discover that they are having trouble keeping their space clean or keeping on top of their chores because of mental health issues or life problems in general. While you may not want to take on extra work, offer to help them when they do their chores and try to be understanding. It is likely that your campus has mental health resources that you can refer them to so they can get the help they need. Being willing to compromise may mean taking on some extra chores to help them through their tough time, but set a time limit so they do not keep taking advantage of this offer.
Dealing with roommate issues is stressful, but it is better to handle the problems when you are level-headed. If your roommate does something and you get angry, walk away, and take some time to calm down. Confronting your roommate while you are still angry can cause you to say things that you may regret and can cause issues down the line. Being calm will help you explain yourself in a way that makes sense and does not necessarily point fingers at your roommate. If you feel yourself getting upset when talking to your roommate, take a few deep breaths and try your best to keep your cool.
Do not wait for things to worsen
You may not feel like the issues you are facing are bad enough to address them with your roommate, but things will only get worse as you continue putting them off. If you wait too long, you or your roommate are likely to explode in anger and frustration. As soon as issues arise, make a point to address them. It may be tempting to ignore the problem, especially if you and your roommate are both busy, but it is much better to address issues as they arise so things can get resolved. That way, you are less likely to have feelings of dread when interacting with your roommate.
Be willing to change
While it may be tempting and easy to point fingers at your roommate as being the problem, but if your roommate brings something up that has been bothering them about how you have acted, you need to be willing to change to help make things better. It can be difficult to see faults in yourself, but nobody is perfect. Being willing to change your thoughts and habits can help ease any tension that exists between you and your roommate. Also, do not expect your roommate to think and behave the same way you do. Everyone is different, and one of the points of college is to learn about ways of thinking that are different from yours. Keep your differences in mind as you are navigating any issues that may arise so that you can know how your roommate may respond and what your roommate is willing to do. Keeping an open mind is a crucial skill in many areas of life, and this is one way to practice it.
Spend time with others
You may be tempted to spend all of your time outside of class with your roommate, but if you are having issues getting along, it is important that you give each other space. Find some new friends to spend time with, and do activities that do not require being in your apartment with your roommate. Explore the city or town you live in and see things you have not been to yet. Try new restaurants and shop at local stores. Go to campus events and join a student organization. Getting out of your apartment and branching out to meet new people can give you new perspectives and help you navigate any issues that may arise with your roommate.
Hang in there
It may seem like time is moving super slowly, but remember that this situation will not last forever. Try to make the most of the situation by having a sense of humor. If things are truly bad, see if there is a way you can move out or get a different roommate. Remember that college is about learning, and part of that is learning about new people. Having a roommate is a unique experience, so make note of any lessons you learn through the struggle you face. Also, remember that tough times help make you stronger. It is frustrating when you are going through it, but once you get through it, you will be able to look back and be proud of all you have been through.
Dealing with an incompatible roommate may seem impossible to survive, but the situation will not last forever. You will get through it and you will be proud of how strong you are when you reflect on the situation.
Whether you are rooming with your best friend or a complete stranger, living with roommates is far from a breeze. Some type of conflict is bound to occur when you are living with roommates, from small arguments over whose turn it is to wash the dishes to larger situations where you can’t stand being in the same space as one another. Some conflicts may be resolved quickly with an apology, but some situations may need something more serious, or permanent, like a roommate moving out.
Unfortunately, you may find yourself facing the choice of evicting a roommate due to a conflict that just won’t be solved. Depending on the situation, eviction may be your only option and you may very well not know how to go about handling evicting a roommate. Keep reading to learn more about navigating evicting a roommate.
Explore your options
When you have any negative feelings toward your roommate, your go-to thought may be just to give them the boot. It may seem like the easiest option — making them go away would mean that all the issues tied to them will automatically go away. However, eviction may not be your best option, especially if you haven’t considered the other options you have for dealing with your roommate issues.
First, assess the conflict between you and your roommate. Try to look at the situation with all personal feelings taken out. Is the root of the situation really just a matter of multiple small arguments that have been left unattended, and have escalated into the situation you are facing now? Try to talk matters out. Sometimes a situation can be fixed with clear and effective communication between roommates that leads to a compromise that works for everyone. In these cases, eviction can be avoided.
These compromises may be a new cleaning schedule, a new schedule for who gets access to parking spaces, amended roommate agreements on your guest policy, and so on.
Unfortunately, not all roommate issues can be solved this easily and eviction can likely be your only available solution.
Check your leases
If you are living together, you most likely all have signed the same lease. While some may have the opportunity to sign individual leases, so that each person is liable for paying their own rent each month and adhering to the policies outlined in the lease, most are equally accountable once the lease is signed. So if your roommate conflict is because one roommate isn’t paying their monthly rent on time, it puts everyone in jeopardy for violating the lease.
Laws vary from state to state — LifeHacker recommends searching the name of your state and “tenant handbook” on Google to get more information about your rights as a renter in your state. When in doubt, go to your property manager or leasing office to learn more about what you can do in terms of your lease.
If you and your roommate are both on the lease, for example, search for joint or several liability on your lease. If you are jointly liable, you are responsible for paying the full rent regardless of who is paying or how they are paying. You may be paying your rent on time, but your roommate isn’t…and you are still responsible for that unpaid portion. If you’re severally liable, you are liable for your sole portion of the rent. If you are both, you are still responsible for your roommate’s rent but have the legal grounds to sue your roommate for their delinquent rent payment.
If you are co-tenants, you can’t file to evict your roommate, but your landlord can file for eviction. It is important to note that this eviction would appear in public records under both co-tenants’ names, but you can ask your landlord to sign an agreement that releases you from liability if you have been following your lease’s terms. You can file for eviction if you are the master/primary tenant and your roommate is a subtenant. You should have already had your landlord’s permission to sublet to another tenant. Make sure that you are always checking your individual state’s laws to see what rights you have.
Document the conflict
The age-old saying of “Pics or it didn’t happen” can definitely apply in the case of roommate conflicts. Sometimes, it may be a matter of your word against theirs when in an argument, or, when things escalate into a lawsuit. To protect yourself, document the ongoing conflict between you and your roommate.
This does not mean you should install hidden cameras around your apartment to track everything they do, but make sure you are keeping track of the reasons you are evicting your roommate. Are they destructive to the property? Take pictures of the damage they are doing or have done — broken fixtures, messy areas, damaged personal property. These can help you in the event that you need to provide proof for eviction.
If things are getting particularly nasty, such as exchanged threats, be sure to record/screenshot any threats your roommate may be making via text or social media.
Roommate conflicts are never easy, especially if your only solution is likely eviction. With this information in mind, navigating the process of evicting your roommate may be easier.
With the start of the new semester fast approaching, there are bound to be a few new changes that await you in this new year. One of them might be that you’re getting a new roommate, which could happen for a variety of reasons. Maybe you and your previous roommate didn’t get along very well and mutually agreed to switch. Perhaps you’re going back to campus, but your former roommate has opted to stay at home for the new semester, which leaves a spot open in your dorm. Whatever the case may be, adjusting to a new roommate mid-year might not always be the easiest thing to do — but there are a few ways you can get used to this new roommate and handle the situation well.
Be open and welcoming.
When you’re first getting to know your new roommate, it’s important that you maintain an open and welcoming attitude toward them. Whether you’re moving into someone else’s dorm or they are moving into yours, the principle of openness remains the same. From your first meeting with your new roommate, you’ll probably be able to gauge what kind of person they are and how interested they are in getting to know you better. From there, you can work toward forming a sort of relationship with them. Of course, this process will work most smoothly if you show with your body language and behavior that you’re very open to getting to know them. So don’t hide yourself away or let yourself become isolated; be as approachable and friendly as possible so that they feel comfortable talking to you.
Try to become friends.
Once you and your roommate have established some sort of relationship with each other, you can work toward becoming friends. Perhaps it may be a bit disorienting to try to make another new friend in the middle of the school year, especially if you already have an established group of friends, but chances are that it’s not as hard as you think. You two will likely spend a decent amount of time together, so you’ll have plenty of natural opportunities to get to know each other better, talk more, and potentially make plans to hang out.
Of course, if you’re trying your best to become friends with your roommate but it’s not really working out, you don’t have to push it. You’re not meant to become friends with everyone you meet, so it’s not a big deal. As long as you and your roommate are able to maintain a decently civil relationship while you’re living together, that’s the most important thing.
As with any roommate relationship, it’s important that you both set boundaries and expectations. Discuss with your roommate what you are comfortable sharing, what chores and responsibilities you each want to have, and anything else that needs to be established in order for your roommate relationship to function well. It may also be helpful to know if either of you is comfortable with having friends over (including how many and at what times of day or night), what time you both wake up and go to sleep, what your class schedules are, and whether you prefer to study and do work in the room or elsewhere, such as the library. Knowing these things can only help your relationship with your roommate, as you will both have clear boundaries and know what to expect from each other.
Plan time to hang out with each other.
If you and your roommate happen to hit it off, you may want to plan some time to hang out with each other. Intentionally spending time together can help you both adjust to being roommates with one another. The time hanging out will give you the chance to become better friends in a natural setting and do fun things together. It also can be helpful to find some common interests that the two of you share. Perhaps you both love watching the same TV show, or you have similar hobbies like playing badminton. You can use these common interests to find something fun and entertaining for both of you to do.
Have a form of conflict resolution.
Even if you and your roommate get along fairly well, there is still the possibility that you two could end up having a conflict of some sort, which means it’s necessary to have a form of conflict resolution in place. You and your roommate should have a smart, level-headed discussion about the issue so that nobody blows anything out of proportion and so you can come to a reasonable solution.
Adjusting to having a new roommate, even in the middle of the year, doesn’t have to be overly complicated or stressful. Make sure that you maintain a friendly, open posture and work on developing a good relationship with your roommate!
As the holidays quickly approach, the time to find the perfect gift for your roomies narrows, as does the selection of items in stores. And for a college student on a budget, finding the perfect gift is even more of a struggle.
But not to worry! Rather than panic shopping and selecting an imperfect gift simply because you need to choose something, these 10 budget-friendly gifts to get your roomies for the holidays will give you a great starting off point. So even if you don’t find something on this list that suits everyone on your list, you’ll have plenty of ideas to run with to ensure you’re able to get your shopping done as soon as possible, and with plenty of time to spare!
Photo Via Pixabay
Why get someone a single present, when you can get them a present every month for the next several months? Gifting your roomie a membership is a great way to remind them that you not only know them well but that you also went above and beyond in getting them the gift that keeps on giving.
Membership plans can be as expensive or inexpensive as you’d like, with 3-month plans being the most inexpensive and 12-month plans being the most expensive. Plus, there is such a wide array of options to choose from when considering a membership for the holidays.
You can opt for food or drinks with a meal kit service or wine delivery service, or you can even opt for monthly coffee delivery services that provide coffees from around the world.
If you want something more unique, there are also services that provide monthly makeup subscriptions, monthly clothing subscriptions, and even monthly book subscriptions. So whatever your roomies’ likes and dislikes, there’s a service for that!
2. Household Goods
Odds are you’ve heard your roomies mention things that they need while going about their day to day lives at your house/apartment/dorm. Rather than brushing these off, start keeping a list of items they need so you can surprise them during the holidays.
Some items may be out of your price range, but the small items needed here and there can make excellent gifts while also showing your roomie that you care and that you’re listening to them.
So whether they simply need a new cast-iron skillet for the kitchen or more picture frames for their bedroom, you’ll not only be on top of it and snag the perfect gift for them, but you’ll also show them how much you care in the process.
There’s nothing quite like the smell of a brand new book to join your overflowing shelves. However, note that this gift is not for everyone. If your roommate is an English major, odds are they’re a little tired of reading outside of classes. (Conversely, your roomie may be a giant book nerd and have a long list of upcoming books that they want to get their hands on).
If your roomie is one of the latter, books are a great present during the holiday season. All you need to do to select the perfect book gift is learn about the genre your roomie loves, take a look at some of the works that they currently own, and do a little research.
If all else fails, you can always take a look at the bestseller lists of various outlets, as you’ll ultimately end up finding something that they’ll like, but when in doubt, check their bookshelves out! There are plenty of books out there just waiting for you to find them and share with your roomies this holiday season.
Everybody needs clothes, and so they are always the perfect holiday gift. That being said, clothes can pose a bit of a challenge, especially if you’re not very close with your roomie (or know their size). While you can never do wrong with a new sweater or some matching pajamas, you can also take a look at your roomie’s wardrobe to get ideas.
Take note of their personal style, the colors they typically wear and the types of clothes they turn to again and again. You can easily replicate some of their favorite pieces in a quick shopping trip, thus avoiding the ever-prominent “taste” problem.
Additionally, you can always ask your roomies what clothing they need. This is a good way to avoid any issues with guessing their sizes and you’ll end up picking out the perfect piece that they actually wanted anyway.
If your roommate is the picky type, you can always take a trip out with them and have them select a few pieces they like, turning around to grab them at a later date. Whatever method works best for you, you’ll end up with the perfect selection of gifts!
So long as you and your roommate are of legal drinking age, alcohol is always a solid holiday gift choice, as it allows you to go as expensive or inexpensive as your budget allows.
Simply select the type of alcohol your roommate likes and then shop according to your budget. If you can’t snag alcohol that’s too expensive, you can always spruce the gift up with an additional, complimentary item, such as a drinking game or new glasses.
Conversely, if you’re not interested in buying them alcohol itself, you can always find items like games, drink jewels, and other like items that will be just as cherished for a fraction of the cost.
Basically, this is a simple gift that can feel impersonal, so be sure to add your personal touch to it and take it to that next level!
Infographic Via Canva
6. Binge-Worthy TV Series DVDs
Amidst the pandemic, we’ve all been relying more and more on television to get us through, especially now that winter has hit. Whether rewatching the same old favorites or taking up some new television that we never had time for previously, the amount of TV we’re all watching has definitely increased in the past year. However, many of us don’t have subscriptions to all of the many streaming services out there, and so there might be a few hit shows that we haven’t seen yet.
If you know of any shows your roomie has been dying to see but doesn’t have access to, purchasing some DVD sets of that show is a great way to help them survive the winter.
Again, this can be expensive, so feel free to only select a season or two, or a show with fewer seasons, but there are countless shows out there to select.
Just be sure that you or your roomie have a DVD player! In the age of streaming, many people don’t, so you don’t want to get them a gift that they can’t even use!
7. The Necessities
As previously mentioned, you should always pay attention to what your roommates say they need. While this could mean household goods, you should also take note of whatever else is on their shopping list.
While it’s a lot less fun than going out and selecting something they haven’t thought of, you typically end up saving them money in the long run when buying them the things they need. So if you think they’re going to go out and get it, beat them to the punch! Just be careful not to buy anything they need to quickly, or they may just beat you to the punch and you’ll be without a present for them come the holidays.
It sounds ridiculous, but some people out there really do love getting socks for the holidays, so getting them such things is never a bad idea!
8. Comfy Blanket
Everybody uses them, and everybody loves to get them. Honestly, think of a time that someone has said no to a free blanket, I’ll wait. Yes, we all have many of them lying around, but no, we wouldn’t say we have too many (or even that we have enough).
Comfy and cozy blankets are the perfect gift for the winter, and again, they can be expensive or inexpensive, depending on your budget.
Most people find it helpful to pick these up in person, as you can feel how soft and durable they are in the store. However, if you need to do your shopping online, just be sure to read all of the reviews, as they’ll give you all the details you need to ensure you don’t end up with a cheap gift that feels even cheaper.
Of course, you can always splurge for a brand name blanket that sits atop an armchair as a decorative piece or grab them a snuggie that’s perfect for those roomie movie nights. Regardless of the type of blanket you select, they’ll absolutely love it and use it time and time again!
9. Thoughtful Items
This is the type of item that is going to win you major points when it comes to finding the perfect gift. Anyone can pick up any of the other items on this list, but a thoughtful item specific to the intended recipient truly can’t be beat.
First, you should always consider what your roomie likes. Are they a big fan of a certain show? Are they the library type? What are their interests? You should start here and then begin your shopping.
When in doubt, you can always personalize the gift to them. Whether that means embroidering their name on an item or purchasing a pre-made item that speaks to their interests is up to you. Either way, they’ll be shocked in the best way when they open your gift!
And despite popular belief, thoughtful doesn’t need to mean expensive. The idea here is to show your roomie that you were thinking about them and that you know them well.
Basically, you’ll need to think of a list of things they like or what their interests are and then begin your shopping second, rather than the other way around. This is sure to ensure your gift is specific to them and is one that they’ll instantly fall in love with!
Last, but certainly not least, it’s never a bad idea to gift your roomie some food. As previously mentioned, you can always do this via subscription services, but on a more personal level, you can take this a step further and make them a meal.
As college students, it’s no secret that budgets are much tighter than we’d like them to be. For that reason, a home-cooked meal can be done inexpensively, but what it says is so much richer.
Perhaps you select their favorite dish and make it for them, or pick an inexpensive dish and set up a movie night that you can all participate in. You can even get everyone in on it so everyone can bring a dish and you can have a holiday feast.
This option doesn’t have to be expensive (though it can be), it just needs a little pre-planning and heart to go into it. But regardless of how you do it, your roomie is going to love it!
Photo Via Pixabay
The holidays are stressful enough without also considering the difficulty of finding the perfect gift for your roomies, especially if you feel the pressure to get it right. Whether your roomie is an expert gift-giver or you really just want to step-up your gift-giving game this year, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Not only will these 10, budget-friendly gifts be a great starting off point when considering what to get your roomie, but you’ll also be able to take care of everyone else on your list, with plenty of time to spare before the holidays.
Just make sure you start ideation and shopping now; the holidays are approaching even faster than you may think, and the perfect gift isn’t going to sit on the shelf forever!
Happy shopping (and Happy Holidays) to all!
The holiday season is coming up, so it’s almost time to celebrate! However, as a college student, you are likely sharing a room with people of different backgrounds and religions. Part of the college experience is learning to live and work alongside a diverse group of people. The holidays are not an exception to that! In this article, we’ll discuss celebrating the holidays with your roommate when you are different religions.
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Put up multiple different decorations
Decorations are a big part of the holiday season. For example, many people think of a Christmas tree or a Menorah when they think of the holidays. A good way to include all your roommates in your holiday celebrations, allow everyone to put up their own decorations. Not only will it be beautiful to have all those decorations up, but it will also be a way to make sure everyone is represented. Just make sure everyone has an equal amount of space since you don’t want one person’s decorations taking over the entire room. You can even go shopping for the decorations together, that way you can choose colors that won’t clash with each other. Shopping for decorations together is also a good way to make sure everyone is on board with the decorations that will be up since you wouldn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable with decorations in their own living room (since it’s their living room, too!). One way to celebrate the holidays with your roommates of a different religion is to put up multiple decorations.
Be respectful of your roommates
Of course, this is a good rule to follow all year long, but please remember during the holiday season to be respectful of your roommates. Living with others involves compromise, and the holiday season is no exception. As long as things are fair and you are respectful to each other, you can have a fun holiday season.
Include your roommates in your celebrations
Another way to celebrate the holidays with your roommates is to include them in your celebrations. It’s a sweet gesture to ask your roommate if they would like to help you wrap presents or participate in something like a gift exchange or a Passover meal. Even if they decline, it still shows that you want to involve them in your celebrations. An invitation is a way to include your roommate, that you want them there even if they do things differently. It’s a great way to make memories and to celebrate this wonderful time of the year! In other words, you should definitely invite your roommates to participate in your holiday celebrations.
Join in your roommate’s celebrations
Conversely, if your roommate invites you to join in their holiday traditions, you should definitely accept! Participating in your roommate’s holiday celebration will not only educate you on how different religions celebrate holidays, but it will also help build your friendship with your roommate. It shows that you care about them and their traditions, which is a nice quality to have in a roommate. Plus, it will be fun to try something new as you celebrate the holidays. Part of going to college and living with a roommate is expanding your horizons and making friends. Accepting your roommate’s invitation to participate in their holiday celebrations is the perfect way to do both. In short, if your roommate invites you to participate in their holiday celebrations, accept the invitation!
Cook different types of food for the holiday dinner
Besides decoration, food is a big part of the holidays. For this reason, you and your roommate could cook different types of food to celebrate your respective holidays You and your roommate could cook different holiday foods and share them together. Eating typical food from the holiday your roommate celebrates is another way to participate in their celebrations (as I mentioned earlier in the article, participating in celebrations shows your roommate that you care). If you don’t want to cook a full meal, you can just opt for something more simple and likely to please everyone: baking cookies! If you want to celebrate the holidays with your roommate of a different religion, you can cook different holiday foods or bake desserts together!
Start new traditions together
Finally, another way to celebrate the holidays with your roommate of a different religion is to start new traditions together. You could borrow ideas from both of your religions and traditions, or you could do something completely different. When you create traditions together, everyone will feel included and involved. For that reason, you can decide to start new holiday traditions with your roommates.
In summary, it’s easy to celebrate the holidays with your roommates of different religions. As long as you are respectful of each other, you should have a great holiday. You never know if it will be a way to bond with your roommate!
By Naomi Fink
Moving into a dorm room or an apartment with someone else can be an exciting step in your journey toward independence. It’s also a great opportunity to decorate your room the way you’ve always wanted to. There’s just one catch: if you have a roommate, then your room isn’t only your room; it belongs to both you and your roommate. This means that the way you decorate your room isn’t entirely up to you. While getting in touch with your roommate to talk about color schemes and room themes may be a good place to start, coordinating the finer aesthetic details of your room together may not be the best idea. In fact, here are five reasons why you shouldn’t coordinate decor with your roommate.
1. You may not agree on what looks best
You and your roommate might have the same taste in music and movies but coordinating decor means the two of you need to agree on what looks best...and that might not happen. You might like green while your roommate prefers orange. You might like things to have a clean, contemporary look while your roommate is more into the old-fashioned, woodsy look. Either way, if you’re planning on coordinating decor with your roommate, then both of you need to be okay with each other’s sense of style and agree on each other’s purchases for the room.
Photo via Unsplash
2. The room may not end up feeling very “you”
Even if you and your roommate approve of each other’s styles, the way the room turns out may end up feeling like a compromise. By extension, this may feel somewhat inauthentic. If you’re purchasing new items for your room, you want them to be representative of you! The way you decorate your room can be an expression of your personality, likes, and dislikes. Unless you and your roommate are truly on the same page about everything, it may be worth it to split the room in half and allow each of you to decorate your side as you see fit. Another realistic thing to consider is the fact that you and your roommate are probably not going to be roommates forever. You may be okay with compromising on decor for a semester but odds are you aren’t going to want to buy all new decor again next year if you get a new roommate or choose to live alone. Make sure you’re happy with your purchases independent of your roommate so that if/when you go your separate ways, you still have the things you like best and that feel most you.
3. You may have different price ranges
Regardless of what styles you and your roommate might like or which specific items feel authentically you, there’s still the ever-pressing question of what you can afford. If you and your roommate come from different socioeconomic backgrounds or simply have different views about what prices are reasonable and what items are “worth it,” it may be a good idea not to coordinate decor. As college students, many of us feel that cheaper is better, but this isn’t always the case. If your roommate is pushing for something beyond your price range or wants to purchase something of sub-par quality just because the price is right, then it may be a sign that coordinating decor is not the right course of action for the two of you. There are enough roommate issues to figure out and talk through without arguing over the monetary aspect of decor choices.
Photo via Pexels
4. Coordinating is a hassle
Let’s say you and your roommate have similar price ranges and tastes in decor. It should be easy to coordinate decor then, right? Wrong. Coordinating can still be a hassle, especially if one of you is more of a planner than the other. For example, your roommate may see something in the store that they think would look great in your room and buy it on impulse. Meanwhile, you may have spent half an hour researching top brands and getting lost in the never-ending rabbit hole of Amazon reviews in an attempt to purchase the same item. The above is more of a communication issue than anything else but it’s still something to consider. Do you really want to check in with your roommate about every purchase you’re thinking about making? Not everyone takes coordination to this extreme, but in general, coordinating with your roommate can end up being more hassle than the aesthetic of your room is worth. Pick out decor that you like and that works with your finances; you’ll have plenty of other things (class schedules, sleep habits, guest policies, etc) to coordinate with your roommate as the semester goes on.
5. What you end up buying might clash
One final reason against coordinating with your roommate is that even if you manage to compromise on decor styles, agree on prices, and go through the logistical hassle of coordinating, the things you purchase may still end up clashing. In fact, the likelihood of this happening is pretty high unless you and your roommate shop for each item together. Colors look a lot different in person than they do online or over FaceTime. Avoid clashing by opting for a general color scheme or room theme instead of trying to coordinate all of your decor with your roommate. Having a roommate and decorating your dorm room or apartment can both be wonderful things, but perhaps the logistics of each should be kept somewhat separate. Communicate with your roommate and make sure to be true to yourself in values, boundaries, and decor!
It’s officially November, which means embracing the chilly fall temperatures, having some pretty photoshoots, and of course, preparing for Thanksgiving! Though it’s only the beginning of the month, many people, like myself, start preparing for the holiday now.
Thanksgiving practically dictates all of the November month, just as Halloween does in October and Christmas does in December. For nearly everyone in the US, Thanksgiving means enjoying time with friends and family, celebrating the numerous blessings of the year, watching football, and of course, enjoying a marvelous feast of delicious food.
This year, the Thanksgiving holiday falls amongst some stressful and unusual times. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many people are unsure how to go about celebrating the special day with their dear friends and loved ones. Officials across several states have issued different recommendations for those who are planning to gather on the holiday, such as socially isolating for two weeks beforehand, limiting the number of those you are gathering with, and wearing masks when possible, depending on your location.
If you’re cooped up on campus with your roommates during fall break, you can still have a great Thanksgiving, and in fact, you should according to Krystine Batcho, Ph.D. and Professor of Psychology at Le Moyne College. She notes, "It isn’t just fun to interact with other people, it is essential to well-being to maintain healthy social connections. During the period of social isolation imposed by the pandemic, indicators of anxiety, depression, and feelings of hopelessness have increased. By prioritizing relationships, holidays strengthen prosocial emotions and behaviors, including compassion, empathy, forgiveness, and altruism.”
Though it may not be your usual gathering, there are several fun things to do with your roommates to enjoy the holiday and spend time together. Here are just a few ways to kick back with your roommates this Thanksgiving!
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1. Make the Meal Together: So much of what is nice about Thanksgiving is spending time with the people we cherish. Though we are used to seeing our roommates on a daily basis, taking the time to thoroughly enjoy each other’s company makes all the difference. What way to spend time with your roommates than to prepare the Thanksgiving feast together? Every roommate can be assigned a dish to make, like a hearty stuffing, creamy green bean casserole, or delectable macaroni and cheese, while perhaps one or two roommates tackle the turkey (or whichever your household preference is). Collectively making food together is a great bonding experience, and boy is it rewarding when it’s time to sit down and eat.
2. Break Out the Game Collection: In the chaos of everyday life, unfortunately there often isn’t enough time to simply let loose and revert to some of our beloved childhood fun. While the turkey is getting juicy in the oven and the kitchen is cleaned up, break out your game collection to play with the roommates. Get some chill music going, light candles, and try not to be too competitive playing an intense game of Uno or Monopoly with your roommates. Fun like this doesn’t require much and gives you all an opportunity to further bond together!
3. Enjoy the Parades, Virtually: Thanksgiving often is associated with food and family, but we can’t forget about the parades too! The iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, local parades, and of course, the Purina Dog Show are all important events to enjoy on the holiday. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will most likely be a limited amount of people allowed to attend the event in person, so watching the parade from home is not only a safe option but a fun one as well! Everyone can pick their favorite floats, favorite pups, and appreciate one of the country’s greatest traditions.
4. Share What You Are Grateful For: A lot of us get distracted by the food, the fun, and the friends during Thanksgiving, and while all of that matters, what matters the most is remembering what we are grateful for. 2020 has been a rough year for all of us, and while there are plenty of things we wish we would change about the year, there are so many things to be grateful for. Gather all the roommates around, have each person write 3 things they are grateful for, and take turns sharing and reflecting on the good in their lives. Doing so can further uplift us all and set a great mood for the day!
5. Share the Love With Others, The No Contact Way: If you and your roommates are looking for a way to give back this Thanksgiving holiday, consider donating canned goods and non-perishable items to a local food pantry or church! Additionally, if you or your roommates cannot see loved ones due to the pandemic, considering collectively preparing a meal or meals and delivering it to their door for a contactless way of showing love.
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While this Thanksgiving will certainly be unlike any other we have experienced in our lifetime, there are still ways to enjoy the holiday and even establish some new traditions along the way!
Living with roommates can pose several challenges, especially when considering a work from home situation. As many of us face remote work, it’s important to ensure you have a space set up that can accommodate your busy schedule, whether or not you have roommates.
So as we struggle through the difficult times, we can at the very least ensure that our home office set-ups are conducive for productivity, despite living with one or more other people. So, to help you get your home office set up, here are some setups that work when living with roommates.
Photo Via: Pixabay
1. Bedroom Office
When working from home, it’s typically best to choose a quiet location from which you can get the most work possible done. If at all possible, it’s best to set up a desk in your room that you strictly use for work (whether homework or professionally).
You can get as fancy or minimalist as possible with this setup, the main purpose is to have a distraction-free zone from which you can work without risk of being interrupted by a roommate in passing.
If you set up a bedroom office, just make sure you are minimizing the distractions, so the room shouldn’t have a TV (or at least, you shouldn’t turn it on during the day) and you should dedicate the desk space to your work, specifically so as not to impact your sleep schedule.
2. Shared Office
If you and your roommates all work, you could consider a shared office situation. This can be done in a number of ways. First, you could all use the same office at the same time. This solution works if you are all self-motivated and able to work (undistracted) in an environment where you’re surrounded by others.
Second, you could take turns using the office, depending on your schedules. For instance, if you work on different days of the week, you could switch off using the office. Otherwise, you could share the office to use for important Zoom meetings or other important situations, and use a different shared space when it’s in use.
3. Portable Desk
If you happen to live in a small apartment, don’t have room in your bedroom for an office, or simply prefer to work in comfort from your bed or the couch, you could get a portable desk setup.
Most people simply work from their laptops, so getting a portable desk that fits on your lap can make you slightly more comfortable, and offer a space for you to hold a cup of coffee or pen and notebook, depending on what you need for the day.
4. Balcony/Outdoor Setup
If you’re lucky enough to live in a state with warmer weather, it may be an option to get an outdoor setup for your workspace. While you should account for noise pollution, especially if you have an abundance of video conferences and calls, if you strictly work on documents, spreadsheets, or anything else throughout the day that doesn’t require talking to other people, outdoor setups can be relaxing and make you more productive.
This could be as simple as setting up a table and working from there every once in a while, or bringing your portable desk outside on nice days. Obviously, this isn’t an everyday solution, dependent upon the weather, but when it’s an option, it’s one that you’ll want to take advantage of.
5. The Library
Last, but not least, there is always the ‘ol reliable option: the library. Whether this means the campus library or the local library, you can always bring your items with you and set up there.
Again, if you have a lot of calls or conferences, this may not be the ideal setup. However, if you don’t, then this is a great way to maintain some normalcy, as you can essentially get up and ready as if you’re going through your normal commute, all while going down the street to get some work done in a quiet setting.
And as previously stated, this option doesn’t have to be your everyday plan, but if you have a lot to accomplish throughout the day and are worried about the distractions at home, this is an amazing option.
Working from home, whether in terms of school work, an internship, or a professional occupation, is a challenge, especially when living with roommates. So rather than diminish productivity by working from a setup that prevents you from getting any work done, you can instead create a workspace that helps you to be as productive as possible.
The above setups are perfect for getting your work done, regardless of your living situation. It comes down to this: figure out what makes you the most productive, and ensure that it’s reflected in your office setup. Then, nothing will be able to stop you!