I Hate My Roommate!

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Maybe you were expecting it, or maybe not. The roommate seemed like such a nice person on move-in day…! They say you never truly know someone until you live with them. There is no harsher reality then moving into your freshman dorm with a complete stranger. You can hit the lottery and find your best friend, or it can seem like a living hell.

Schools use a very flawed system  to make the best matches possible. Information provided on student housing questionnaires just scratches the surface of what it will really be like living with someone. But inevitably — rules will be broken, limits stretched and established habits discarded. Some personalities just don’t click even when everything looks good on paper.

It’s a life lesson.

An annoying roommate can be the first time that young adults have to deal with conflicts that cannot be immediately changed. In the past, if conflict arose, our room at home may have been a safe space where you could get away from everyone for a while. However, with a troublesome roommate this is no longer the case where the small dorm rooms provide little privacy and personal space.

Here are our top 5 roommate conflict tips:

  1. Remember this is a time of transition and adjustment for both of you. Things may work themselves out, if you give it the chance to do so.
  2. Examine your own expectations. Focus on the positive aspects of the situation. This isn’t forever — next year you’ll have more choice and control about where you live and who you live with.
  3. If an issue comes up with your roommate, try to open up a dialogue that can lead to resolution. You may both need to budge a bit. Compromise is a great skill to learn.
  4. Establish clear boundaries in terms of your space and your stuff. It’s a good rule not to share clothing and expensive items.
  5. Get to know your RA (Resident Advisor). They are there to help mediate conflicts and keep the residence hall running smoothly and it will be easier for your RA to support you if you have a friendly relationship.

Ongoing interpersonal conflict in what’s supposed to be a “safe space” can wreak havoc on your academic and personal life. If your roommate situation becomes hostile or causes emotional or physical problems, it may be time to request a new roommate or explore the possibility of a single room.

The good news about roommates

Even with bumps along the way, most roommate relationships are successful or at least tolerable. Stress and drama will be minimized if both parties are willing to communicate and respect one another. The hated roomie may become a dear, lifelong friend after both have grown up a bit during the challenging early months of college.

How to Coordinate Dorm Shopping Online with Your Roomie

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When you get your first roommate assignment, you might be tempted to go out to the store and immediately start buying everything you want to decorate your dorm room with. But hold up! Before you start putting your favorite bedspreads and picture frames into your shopping cart, remember that you have a roomie who’s going to want to decorate, too. Plus, you don’t want to duplicate your shopping and end up with two TVs and no extra lighting. In order to make sure your dorm room looks good and has everything you need, here are some tips for coordinating your shopping with your new roommate.

 

Pick Out Matching (or Coordinating) Bedding

There’s nothing more awkward than walking into a room where the bedding clashes. To avoid this, talk to your new roomie about what colors and designs you both like. You might even consider getting coordinating sets from the OCM collection. Our Complete Campus Paks are a great place to start, giving you all the bedding you’ll need, plus towels, under the bed storage, and even a hamper.

 

Determine Light and Climate Control

Are you the kind of student who gets up early before class to study, or do you prefer to stay up late reading? Do you like it cool while your roommate prefers to sleep warm? Rather than fighting over the thermostat or the light switch, consider getting a reading lamp or a small fan that keeps up with your lifestyle. Our Easy Clip Value Pak, which includes both a reading lamp and a small bedside fan that clip onto your headboard with ease.

 

Get Your Fridge On

Whether you’re planning on getting all your food from the cafeteria or you’re hoping to use your residence hall kitchen to whip up some of your favorite recipes, chances are that at some point you’ll need to keep your food cool. Talk to your new roomie about renting a fridge for you both to use. If you really want to buy a small, dorm room-size refrigerator,make sure your roommate knows that you’re planning on making the big purchase. If you decide to split the fridge 50/50, make sure you know going in who is going to take it at the end of the year to avoid any issues or hurt feelings down the road.

What’s in the Kitchen

Speaking of food, you’re going to need something to eat off of when you order late-night pizza or bring home leftovers from the cafeteria. You could always go basic and stock up on paper plates, napkins, and plastic silverware. But if you want to go greener and save on the storage space, consider getting plates, bowls, and mugs that you can both use. Our College Kitchen Duo Value Pak has everything you might need for two people — plates, bowls, mugs, and silverware, plus a can opener, a sharp knife, and various mixing bowls for storage.

 

Whether you’re rooming with your best friend or someone you’ve never met before, you have to make sure you have those important discussions with your new roomie about who’s bringing what and how you can make your dorm room look and feel like home. Once you do that, you’ll be all set for move-in and a great year ahead!

What to Do When You Don’t Trust Your College Roommate

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Living with someone else is always a difficult experience.  Remember living with mom and dad, or, worse, siblings? It’s definitely not easy, even when it’s your family.  So living with a relative stranger can be especially rough, even more so because it might be your first time living away from home.  If you and roommate just don’t see eye to eye, that’s one thing, but what about when you really don’t trust them?

For whatever reason, you’ve been paired with this… sketchy person.  Maybe you used to get along, and now not so much.  Maybe you were trusting, but last semester they showed you that that was a mistake.  Maybe you’ve switched dorms only to discover that that was a mistake.

Talk to the School

The first thing you need to try to do is convince the school that it was a mistake.  Approach your RA and explain the situation.  It’s important to communicate that you do not trust your roommate, not just that you don’t get along.  They need to understand that this isn’t normal roommate squabbles; this is a whole other level. Your RA will definitely have steps to take to hopefully be able to separate the two of you.  There is likely a vacancy in another dorm, or you might be able to switch with somebody.

However, if you can’t afford to move to another dorm, or perhaps you signed a lease for an apartment off-campus, then you might need to take a different course of action.

Protect Your Items

You might not think that your valuables are safe, either because your roommate will use your things without your permission or worse.  Try and organize your things underneath your bed, conceal them in a trunk, or even in storage lockers. If necessary, make sure that you get a good combination lock.

Don’t leave cash lying around, or let them have access to your credit or debit card.  Luckily, you should have a chip card now instead of a magstripe one, so it will be harder for them to strip your information, though they can still copy down the numbers.

Keep Yourself Busy

Alright, this may sound counterintuitive, but it’s actually probably better that you keep yourself occupied.  As long as you make sure that all of your items are safe, then you don’t want to interact with your roommate more than you have to. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in more messy arguments and the target of ill will.  Keep busy with homework, and if that’s not enough then there’s plenty more you can do.

  • Get involved in clubs or athletic groups.

  • Make new friends.

  • Find internships in your major; the career center should be able to help you no matter if you’re majoring in a STEM fieldcounseling, or even art.

  •  Get a part time job, as long as you believe you’ll be able to balance those responsibilities and school.

College campuses are abundant with activity.  You should have no problem finding activities that occupy your time.

Set Things Up for Next Year

Make sure that you get an apartment or some other housing accommodation for next year.  There are certainly challenges to living with your friends, but it will certainly be a better situation that what you’re currently going through.  If you don’t have any options for roommates next year, hold interviews or make sure that your school matches you up with someone better.  They need to understand that a repeat of this situation is not an option.

Overall, this sort of situation is unpleasant but bearable.  You will get through this.  The light is at the end of the semester, which seems so far away, but I promise it will be the end before you know it.  College roommates are always a unique situation, but there are ways for you to get around it.  Just make sure that next year you’re in a better place.

 

Getting to Know Your New College Roommate

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One of the scariest parts of going off to college or living in the dorms for the first time is getting your roommate assignment. For the next school year, you’ll share a space, sleep next to, and most likely hang out with a person you barely know. That can be quite intimidating!

While there are plenty of roommate horror stories out there, the majority of roommate situations are friendly, and many turn into awesome friendships. By putting in the effort to get to know your college roommate, you can build a positive relationship without the drama.

Plan Room Decor Early

Before you move in, you’re going to want to check in with your roommate on some of the logistics of your room. For example, how would you like the room to be laid out (especially if your furniture can be moved around or stacked) or if the person plans to bring a fridge or a TV.

If all is going well with the more logistical side of dorm living, why not try planning room decor together too? Talk style ideas or coordinating themes. Show them some of the bedding you like or plan a craft night the first few days you are there. You can even make a date for a shopping trip to a local thrift store that gets great reviews or share a Pinterest board if distance makes it hard to connect in advance.

Set Aside Time

With school starting up, boxes to unpack, and nerves on an all-time high, it can be hard to find time to just sit down and talk. That’s why it is important to have a roommate-only time set aside within the first week or two of moving in. This may be a few hours to watch a movie or a trip to the cafeteria with just you two.

Your time can be totally laid back and just an informal way of talking through some questions. Or you can bring along a roommate agreement or roommate rule list to talk through. By doing it in public or with a fun activity like trying out a new restaurant, there’s less chance it will be awkward!

Play the Roommate Game

Breaking the ice can be a bit uncomfortable. After all, how do you naturally ask how many siblings your roommate has or if they like country music or rap? You can get these answers by playing a fun getting to know you roommate game! Make it just between the two of you or invite your next door neighbors to play along too. You can even suggest this to your floor’s RA as an activity night idea.

The game is pretty simple, and if you’ve seen the TV show The Newlywed Game, you already know how to play. One roommate is given a piece of paper and a marker to answer questions such as “What is your favorite food?” while the other roommate is outside. When a group of three or four questions are asked, bring in the second roommate and have them try to guess what their roommate said. For every correct answer, the “team” gets a point.

While this game works mid-year when you’ve really gotten to know them, this game is also totally fun to play in the beginning as a guessing game. You may find you have a ton in common!

Ways to Bond with Your New Roommate

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Living with a complete stranger can be a challenge, especially when you first move in. Getting to know them, understanding their likes and dislikes, and forming trust require time and attention on both your parts. If you’re ready to build that bond with your new roommate, here are ideas that will break the ice and get the conversation going.

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1.   Plan Regular Lunch Dates

Nothing connects people better than a meal. Planning to meet up for lunch or heading down to breakfast together can be a great way to chat. Take advantage of your dining hall options on campus.

2.   Make a Roommate Agreement

The Roommate Agreement is a pre-emptive strike against issues that may come. For example, if you two agree on no overnight guests, having the rules in handy will help you when a situation or disagreement arises. Sitting down and talking about what you want out of your roommate can be a powerful tool to discuss your habits and even find some common ground.

3.   DIY Together

Building something together creates a sense of accomplishment. It shows that working in tandem, you can create something special or unique. Try your hand at making motivational wall art posters or little DIYs such as Mason jar drinks.

4.   Combine Your Styles

You probably brought to school your own bedding in your favorite colors, along with your own décor items. While a space can look awesome with two personalities, combining both your styles can help you get creative.

5.   Throw a Party

Hosting a get-together among mutual friends cannot only bring you and your roommate together, but it can also bridge the gaps between your friends and hers. Parties are fun place to let loose, shake off the week, and bring a little fun into your lives.

6.   Start a Routine

Do you love starting the day with a good morning run? How about watching your favorite television show on Sunday evening? Whatever your particular routine, share it with your roommate. Develop a routine that engages both of you to find common interests.

7.   Explore Campus

A new environment like a college campus is just dying to be explored. Why not bring along your roommate while you go hunt down hot spots to hang around? Make it a mission to find the best ice cream shop in town or the comfiest couch at the student lounge. In the end, both of you chose to attend your school for a reason. Using that as a foundation allows other doors to open.

How will you bond with your new roommate this year? Let us know in the comments!

How to Deal with a Difficult Roommate in College

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I consider myself one of the lucky ones, because my freshman roommate was one of my best friends and still is to this day (shout out to Katie!!), but I have definitely witnessed quite a few roommate relationships spiral out of control in the past two years, and I know it isn’t always easy to deal with. But it can be done.

If you’re dealing with a difficult roommate, there are plenty of steps you can make to take action. Don’t let this relationship suffer, you’re spending months with this person!

1. Address your concerns respectfully. The last thing you want to do in a rough roommate relationship is create even more strife. Remain polite and calm and tell your roommate what is on your mind. Refrain from sounding accusatory or harsh. It will make your roommate much more receptive.

 2. Don’t only state the problem, suggest a solution. In trying to make your issues as simple as possible, tell your roommate what you would like to happen going forward. It can be hard to hear that someone has a problem with the way you’re doing things, but if you give them an idea of what to do instead, they aren’t simply left confused and guessing. Be clear and concise about what can be done to fix the issue.

3. Try to distance yourself. Yes, your room is your room just as much as it is theirs, but it can be hard to spend so much time in such tight quarters (let’s face it, dorm rooms are small) and never get space between you. Learn to step away if things are tense. A little space to breathe will keep things from escalating to an unnecessary point. Take a walk through campus or visit a friend in a nearby room.

4. If the problem persists, don’t be afraid to consult your RA. They’re trained to deal with these situations and more likely than not have had experience with your type of roommate drama. You are only one of the many, many college students that find rooming with a complete stranger a (sometimes) stressful time!

There are several different types of difficult roommates, and you can’t always deal with them the same way. Have you ever had to deal with a not-so-easy roommate? How did you handle it? Let me know below in the comments and help others going through an experience like yours.

11 Questions to Ask Your New Roommate BEFORE Move-In Day

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An envelope has arrived, and inside it is information that may change your life forever. It’s the name of your new college roommate! It’s exciting, sure—but also a bit daunting. How can you move in with someone you have never met? Make the transition easier for both of you by reaching out and asking these 11 important questions.

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1. How are you moving in?

Get the logistics out of the way first with a couple of questions about their move-in day plans. Are they arriving on move-in day (and if so, what time) and do they have help? Are their parents or friends sticking around? These questions are more for your benefit than for theirs as you can plan around their schedule and make the move-in process less hectic for everyone.

2. What are you bringing with?

Skip the awkwardness by arranging who is bringing what in advance. This mainly applies to big, shared items such as appliances, area rugs, and window treatments. You don’t want to end up with two refrigerators and televisions! Share our College Dorm Checklist with your roomie and mark off items together to avoid duplication!

3. What’s your style like?

If your décor is going to be shared, you will want to discuss style options. This may include if they had a theme or vision in mind or if they hate a certain color scheme. While both of you will have your own designated space, you do want to be considerate of their likes and dislikes as they will be looking at your area too!

4. Do you know anyone at school?

Some students start college with a blank slate and none of their friends joining them. Others pick colleges because their friends are there. If they have friends around, you may be having to deal with a social butterfly from the start. If that makes you uncomfortable, suggest setting down ground rules about friends.

5. What’s your intended major?

Some schools pair up students by their major or department. Others randomly toss students together. Break the ice by asking one of the most commonly asked questions for a college student: “What’s your major?” Their choice of study may reveal a lot about their personalities and habits. Such as, a music student may be bringing along instruments while a business student may be working while studying.

6. Are you a night owl or morning person?

Not everyone will sleep like you. Some will appreciate a late night out. Others want to wake up fresh with the sun. It’s hard to change sleep habits, so be respectful if you are not on the same page. Talk about bed arrangements so that one can sleep while the other watches television. Purchase noise-canceling headphones if they prefer to get up early with an alarm clock.

7. Do you have any allergies?

If your roommate has any allergies, you should know about them before you move in. It will prevent you from bringing in banned food, and it may even keep you from purchasing bedding that they cannot be around. If you’re the one with allergies or other medical issues, do not be afraid to bring it up so that your roommate has a chance to adapt in advance.

8. What’s your class schedule like?

Like it or not, 8 a.m. classes are a real thing. If you or your roommate is anticipating many early morning lectures, speak about it in advance so you can plan a schedule. This is especially important if you are sharing a common bathroom.

9. Any favorite activities?

Asking about activities will show you if your roommate plans to be out or if they prefer to do their own thing in the room. If their activities are things like playing video games or designing websites, they may be more homebodies.

10. What cleaning supplies should I bring?

Cleaning questions are two-sided. If they answer that they are bringing many supplies, you may have a roommate who is a neat freak. If they haven’t thought of it or do not care what you bring, you may want to be on the lookout for messy habits.

11. How can I be a good roommate?

It’s a simple question, but it can tell you so much. Being a good roommate doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they want or change some things about you. It means that both of you are considerate of how the other person likes things to be and are open minded about how to make the living situation better. When both of you agree and make an effort, having a roommate can be the best part about college.

What questions will you be asking your future roommate? Have you been in contact yet? Let us know!

3 Easy Tips for Living with a Roommate

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If you don’t already share a room with somebody, be ready for a major change when you head off to college. Living with somebody who may be a total stranger to you can be exciting and terrifying at the same time, especially if you’ve never lived with anybody before. At times it can be challenging to share a room and spend so much time with each other. However, living with a roommate can be a very rewarding experience if you can make it work out. Here are some ways to ensure that you make the best of what might seem like a tough situation:

  1. Try to talk/meet up before school starts– This may not work out for everybody since there may be geographic restrictions on meeting each other, but you can definitely call, text or e-mail to get to know each other. However, if you can find a time and place to meet each other beforehand, it would be extremely beneficial since you can talk face-to-face and not have to wait until move-in day. If your school allows you to request a roommate, you should try and find somebody to room with so it’s not completely random. You might be able to ask a friend if they know somebody going to your school that you could possibly room with. This way you can hear your friend’s opinion on them and see if you would be a good match. I personally found my roommate through the University of Rochester’s 2016 group, which allowed me to talk to him before we decided to room together. Even if this didn’t work out, it was still a good way to talk to people and meet your future classmates. Ultimately, getting to know your roommate before you get to school is a good way to start off your relationship and create a less awkward first encounter when you arrive.
  2. Communication is key– You’ve probably heard this many times before, but it’s very true. Once you get to school, it’s probably a good idea to set some rules so that you can get along. This might include setting a time you shut the lights off to go to sleep, when you can have people in the room, and when you plan on doing your work. Obviously nothing is going to be set in stone since plans may change last minute, but at least you have some guidelines to live by. Also, if you ever feel like something is wrong, don’t be afraid to talk to your roommate. You have to live with them for the whole year, so you might as well make the best of it. The more you talk to each other, the easier it will be to get along.
  3. Don’t think you have to be best friends– It might happen, but don’t think that you have to be BFFs with your roommate. I’ve seen many people make it work, but I’ve also seen a number of people get sick of it very quickly. My advice would be to stay friends, but keep your distance. If you go into this relationship thinking that this person is going to be your best man/maid of honor at your wedding, you might be let down or overwhelmed. Just go into this being yourself and see what happens. If you two click, then great, but if you don’t, it isn’t the end of the world. My roommate and I were good friends, but we didn’t spend every minute together. Basically, don’t try too hard to be best friends, but do try to put in some effort to be friends.

Following these three tips will definitely help make your college rooming experience a lot better. It may take a lot of effort and compromise, but in the end you’ll be happy that you made it work out. Also, remember that if it doesn’t work out even after trying your hardest to make it work, it’s only for a year.

Summer Before College Series 4: Choosing A Roommate

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Howdy!

The next topic that I would like to discuss in my series is choosing a roommate. Roommates are a key part of the college learning experience. You must learn to live with someone, who will most likely be on a different schedule than you, every day. Learning to live with someone other than your family can be tough, but choosing the perfect roommate for you can make it easier! There are two ways to choose a roommate in college: random selection and choosing to live with someone that you know/have met. Either way, I will give you a few tips to choosing the perfect roommate for you!

If you are choosing a roommate from home or through social media, make sure you take the following tips into consideration:

  1. You want someone that you can both get along with AND can live with. Sometimes these two just do not go hand-in-hand. More often than not, students do not have a good living experience with a friend who has the same or a similar personality to them. They feel like they can be more confrontational because they know the person. This is not always the case, however! Some friends who choose to be roommates actually have a great living experience; it all depends on what you both want for your room.
  2. Make sure that you get to know the person, their likes, dislikes, wants, and needs, before you decide to room with them. Sometimes students choose to room with someone just because they are going to be attending the same school. That’s great, but it is also important to get to know that person as well. You want to make sure that you both want the same things for your room (lights out, electronics, music, guests, etc.). Your room must be comprised of rules from everyone who lives in your room. If you are choosing a roommate from Facebook or another form of social media, ask them for their number so that you can chat about these sorts of things! Showing that you care will make him/her/them feel more comfortable in selecting you as well.

If you are choosing a roommate through random selection, take the following into consideration:

Random selection is usually done through a survey consisting of several basic questions about what you would want in a roommate. Your school then takes your responses and matches them with someone your age that answered similarly to you. Below, I have listed a few tips to make this process easier.

  1. Never lie on the survey. You want to be completely honest with yourself and answer with the responses that you want, not what you think a certain type of roommate would want. These surveys are designed to pair you with a student that wants the same things as you. If you lie on the survey, then you take the risk that you could be paired with someone who wants the polar opposite of you, making your roommate experience extremely hard.
  2. Take the survey seriously. Really consider what you want before taking the survey. This is the only measurement that your school will have of what you want in a roommate and the type of personality that you have. This survey is the only chance you have of getting a good roommate for you.

Choosing a roommate, randomly or purposely, can be a scary experience, but if you follow these tips, you will be one step closer to getting that perfect roommate!

 

3 Awesome Roomie Gifts

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There’s no question that college students are always strapped for cash when it comes to buying gifts and personal expenses. This is sometimes hard around the holiday season when you want to show everyone you care about how special they are with that perfect gift. Unfortunately, being a full time student permits you from working more than a part time job and that leaves just enough money to take care of yourself.

If you’re one of the lucky students who really hit it off with their roomie, you may be worrying about what awesome gift you can give them for their birthday. You both don’t have enough money to buy each other cool gifts, but you still want to do something for them to show how much you appreciate them! If you’re thinking about ideas of what to get your roomie for their birthday on campus, here’s three ideas!

It’s The Thought That Counts– Your roomie knows just how hard it is to remain stocked on cash while being a full time student. They don’t expect you to buy them something lavish and expensive. In fact, they may not even be expecting you to do anything at all! Even if you don’t have any money, you can still make your roomie feel special by making them things or heading to the local dollar store for helium balloons. Put the balloons around your dorm while they’re at class and make a sign out of construction paper that says ‘Happy Birthday!’ and tape it right where they can see it when they get home. Maybe buy a few bags of candy and sprinkle them in a bag with a photo collage you made of your awesome memories together! This would be a really nice and inexpensive way to show your roomie that you thought about them for their birthday. You can order a bunch of prints from your local Walgreens, CVS, Harris Teeter, etc and get them all printed for under $5! And, the collage will be a cool addition in your dorm for both of you to enjoy! If you want to get really snazzy, cut out letters from magazines and form them into your favorite inside jokes together and randomly place them around the photo collage. That way, every time your roomie looks at your collage, they’ll think about all the funny jokes you all have come up with!

The Essentials– Sometimes we like to go a little crazy with gifts. We buy a bunch of silly things that are fun to think about and play with, but quickly lose interest. These things are fun to make a situation a little more entertaining, but they aren’t really used for anything more than that. As a college student, I’m sure you know just how much it stinks to be away from home without certain things you’re used to having or really need. It gets expensive racking up enough money to buy all of the essentials for your dorm room; food, clothes, gas, cleaning supplies, bathroom essentials. Buying something silly like a stress ball shaped like Snooki is funny, but really useless, and a big waste of your money. Instead, take notice of the things that your roomie really has been saying they need or have run out of. See what their favorite foods or drinks are and stock your mini fridge before they get a chance to. If you still want to buy them a unique gift, get something they can use and will enjoy at the same time, like a really awesome USB flash drive shaped like Darth Vader or food! You can buy USB hubs in practically any shape you can think of and for relatively cheap. Think about ordering them off of Amazon or heading to stores like Microcenter for ideas!

Do Something Nice or Plan an Outing- Sometimes, the best gifts come in forms that aren’t concrete. Nice gestures are a really great way to show that you still cared to do something for your roomie even if you maybe didn’t have the money to buy them something. Cleaning the entire dorm room sparkly-clean while they’re out would be a pleasant surprise for them to walk into when they get home. You could wake up before they have class and microwave something delicious and amazing for a birthday breakfast treat! Try taking a glazed donut, sprinkling a few colored sprinkles on it and putting a candle in it! Lighting the candle might be a fire hazard (which is a dorm room no-no) so just placing the candle in there will still get your point across and they’ll be thrilled at such a cute wake up call! You may even be able to find an electronic candle at the dollar store that you can turn on and off with a little switch. Either way, your roomie will be impressed! Another nice gesture you could do for your roomie is secretly gather all of your roomie’s friends and important people and have them all in your dorm room and ready to go out. Your roomie will be so surprised when they get home from class and see that everyone got together to celebrate their birthday!

Whatever you decide to do, don’t feel like you have to break the bank to give your roomie an awesome birthday. Just goofing around your room will be fun for both of you, and that requires no money! If you have a little extra cash to spend, try to order a pizza and have it sitting on their bed when they get home from class. Many universities and neighboring pizza shops have college deals, so you should be able to snag a ‘pie’ at a relatively good price!