Common College Roommate Conflicts and How to Solve Them

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Although living with a roommate can be fun, the harsh reality often sinks in several weeks in: living with someone is hard. If you shared a room with siblings while growing up, you have some idea of what that can be like. If you are an only child, it can be even harder to understand just how to get along. But conflicts and fights are common and not necessarily a cause for alarm, as long as you know to expect them and how to deal with them. Here are some of the most common issues college freshmen go through when living with someone else.

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Cleanliness

Possibly the most common of all dorm room problems, you’ll likely fight with your roommate about the cleanliness of the room. This can go both ways. Maybe you are the one who has neatness in their blood and can’t leave the room unless your dorm bedding is perfectly folded and the room is spotless. On the other side (of the room), your roommate may not be carrying her weight by leaving dirty dishes around or not picking up after themselves. OR maybe you are the one who is a little laid back and don’t understand why your roommate is so uptight about a cleaning schedule.

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When it comes to being clean, and how much each person puts in, it is best to discuss the roles of each person. Does one person take out garbage and the other wipes down the bathroom sink? Or do you alternate your chores? These are good ground rules to lay out so everyone knows each other’s job. This way, if anything is not done, each person knows if they are or aren’t responsible. A quick resolve for this problem is to create a chore schedule using your dorm room dry erase board or wall organizer.

Other rules to make sure to discuss stem around clutter. Is it OK to leave a text book out on the desk but maybe not on the floor? Do you not mind a jacket thrown over a chair or does everything need to be hung up? It’s very important to make any pet peeves clear so that no one steps on toes. If you’re the messier of the two, look into getting more storage for your clothes and supplies. Explore OCM’s long list of dorm storage ideas!

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Also, check out our article on quick and easy ways to clean and organize your dorm room!

Noise

Another issue many roommates run into involves noise levels. Maybe your roommate is too loud. You come back to your dorm room after a long day of class and they are loudly chatting on the phone, or have their music blasting from their computer speakers. You just want to curl up with a book and relax in silence.

The best way to approach this is to try and give each other dorm room alone time. So, maybe Monday evenings you’ll study at the library so your roommate can blast music all they’d like. The next compromise would be for you to have your own day or days to have the dorm to yourself.

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While you are both there, it’s important to not impede on each other’s space. Rules should be set for headphones to be used or the television to be watched at low volumes. Cell phone calls should be taken to a common area, especially if your dorm room is very small. Compromise is key!

Having People Over

Lastly, a big problem with many roommates can be the issue of people coming (and sometimes staying) over.  Technically, in most dorm room cases, guests are not allowed to sleep over, but this can happen when an out of town family member or friend comes to visit. If your roommate is in the habit of having these guests over frequently, remind them of the dorm’s rules.

If it’s more an issue of friends stopping by and impeding on your space, or staying late while you are trying to sleep, set up some restrictions that you can both agree on. For example, let each other know at least 12 hours in advance if someone is coming over and ask permission; don’t just assume it is ok. Agree to a rule where a certain time at night is the end of visiting hours, whatever works best for both of you.

Remember that while fights are common and can usually be resolved by talking it over, if your roommate is becoming hard to live with, you can always speak to your R.A. If matters really become bad, you can request a new room or roommate for the next semester.

Photos: 1, 2, 3,4

Sorority & Greek Dorm Room Decorations

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Being part of a sorority can be a very exciting time. You get to be a part of something greater, make new friends at college for life, get involved in school spirit and show your letters with pride. To match your new sorority lifestyle, it’s only right that you show it off in your dorm room, too! Whether it’s showing your letters, colors, or just being yourself, here are a few ideas for your new sorority dorm.

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Use your Letters

The letters of your house are what set you apart from other sororities and what you live by. So why not use them in your dorm décor? It’s easy to find Greek alphabet letters in some form to hang up on the wall. If you can get them in a plain wood design, you can even take the time to decorate them to add your own flair. Paint them in bright colors, add a little sparkle to them with glitter, whatever makes them stand out.

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How else can you use your letters? Think about Greek letter throw pillows. Find your letters and place them together over your twin XL sheets or spread across the room. For extra comfort, get a customized fleece that can be monogrammed with the Greek letters.  This can apply to all sorts of décor, from bath and hand towels to your bath mat.

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Having a hard time finding exactly what you like? You can always take matters into your own hands and try DIY dorm decor. For example, consider finding some cheap baskets for organization on your desk, wrapping them in a nice paper and stenciling your letters on them.

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Sorority Colors

Some sororities embrace their own colors or use school colors to distinguish themselves. Either, way, take these as inspiration for your room. If you’re not looking to cover your entire room with the same two colors throughout, that’s ok. Use them as accents; incorporate them into you bed sheets or a throw rug with similar colors. You can even build the rest of your color wheel around them! If you don’t know which color scheme to pick, check out this cool color wheel tool.

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Show Off Your Personality

If you live in a sorority house, now is the great chance to show off another side of your personality to your fellow sisters. Go for the kind of décor that makes you feel at home, the kind of patterns and colors that you love most. Add some of your favorite positive and fun quotes — whether in stencils, wall decals or just DIY creations to hang up on the walls.

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Sororities can be one of the best parts about college for any young woman. If you can’t get enough of Greek life, make sure you make your dorm or room décor reflect that!

Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

 

Dorm Room Decor for Art Majors

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Art and art history majors can be some of the most colorful, introspective students on campus and that translates to their dorm décor. To really get that art major vibe in your dorm room, it’s about paying homage to the greats and embracing color and design.

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It all starts with your bedding

Bedding can be anything you want, but keeping it colorful may truly show off your artistic side. Consider stripes of varied colors, or buying your dorm bedding in pieces to mix and match colors. Purple twin XL sheets, blue duvet cover and pink pillows? Totally! Go with whatever strikes your fancy; the more colorfully outlandish, the more it will stand out among the typical.

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If not mixing colors, also consider colorful brocade designs. Sheets and bedding with intricate designs are more eye catching that plain solid colors. They might even inspire your next big project!

Make your desk YOURS!

Think of your desk as a blank canvas, both literally and figuratively. While you can definitely decorate it however you like with items on top, consider actually painting it! Grabbing a cheaper, white or light wood desk can provide you with the space you need to go nuts. Whether you want to draw out sketches on the surface or paint it with splashes of color, let your inspiration be your guide. Just make sure the DIY project is properly done without ruining the dorm room! Check out our articles on making your cute and organized desk and DIY dorm decor, too!

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If you don’t want get too crafty on your desk, use your tools as your décor. Have a great collection of paint brushes? Display them in a colorful organizer or pencil holder. Use your in progress projects as a spring board to work further. Place a pegboard behind your desk and keep your sketches and other ideas posted up there. Not only do they help you on your work, but act as an added touch of personality to your décor.

Wrap it up with the walls

Decorating your walls can be the most fun and open ended part as an art major. Your dorm wall décor can cover the gamut of the great artists, from classics like Van Gogh and Picasso to 20th century artists like Andy Warhol, you can find prints of their works or even of profile pieces of the artists themselves.

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Beyond the more obvious choices, though, are plenty of other cool pieces. Consider a clock with the color wheel. These can be found in various styles but all have the same idea; a full color wheel as the background of your wall clock.

Need a message board to let your roommate know you’re out for the night, or that there are leftovers in the fridge? Consider hanging a classic Mondrian-style message board. Even non-art majors will get the reference.

Wall decals and removable wall paper can really let your corner of the room shine. Even better, they can be put up and taken down easily, so you won’t have to worry about incurring any fees for changing anything permanently, and you can find any kind of design your heart desires.

Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4

How to Make Your Dorm Room Game Day Ready

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No matter what your “game day” definition is, whether it is football, baseball, basketball or even badminton, getting your room ready for the big game can be a lot of fun. It’s a must if you plan on having friends over to watch a professional game and a great motivator if you are rooting for your school’s home team.

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Get Decorations

Decorations of course are key here! Get the colors of your school in streamers or banners and hang them around the ceiling or tape to your dorm room door. Even better, look for items with your team’s logo on it. If it’s not something that can easily be found, don’t worry; considering buying large poster board and drawing your own logo to either hang on the wall or even in your window for everyone on campus to see! Read our post on DIY dorm decor for more options too!

Consider keeping things low key with colors in the inside otherwise; place some throw and study pillows mixing the school colors or even changing your dorm bedding in support. Every little detail will really bring the whole room together.

Make sure you have plenty of fun disposable plates, napkins, and other items if you are throwing a party and entertaining guests. You might only be able to fit a couple of people into your dorm room, but you want to do it neatly and with style.

Snack it up

You have to get the best snacks, of course, for the game. Make sure you have plenty of bowls and serving dishes for the various options. Chip bowls are great, with divots that hold different chips and a middle area to actually rest your dip, or even spread it out.

Sweet treats are always a great option as well. Consider decorating cupcakes as the main ball of the game. These are easy to bring with you to the game or to an after-game party as well!

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Dressing the Part

Not only is it important to get the dorm fully decorated for game day, but you also have to decorate yourself! Head over to our college fan gear section and wear your team’s jersey or colors. Some people like to really get into spirit by dying their hair or painting their faces. This is all good and well as long as it won’t cause any problems during class or for your professors!

By getting your dorm room game day ready, you’re going to make sure that people know your dorm room is not only in support of the home team but a great place to stop by and have a good time after the victory!

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Photos: 1, 2, 3

Starting Over; A New You

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Moving away to a different state or getting that acceptance letter from college means that you have a fresh start to be a new you. You can choose to reinvent yourself in any way that you desire. Maybe you have goals to be healthier; join a gym and follow an exercise routine. Maybe you want to surround yourself with different people than you did before. Maybe you want to crack down on your studies and be that straight “A” student you always knew, but were too distracted, to be. Whatever it is now is your chance to make the changes you want to make to be a better you.

The first important thing to remember about this is not to lose the sense of who you are. If you made some mistakes in your past that you feel haunt you, forgive yourself for them and move on. You can’t change the past, but you can always prepare for a better future. That class you failed or that friendship that you left on the rocks doesn’t define you as a person. Sometimes, you need to step away from a situation long enough to get a clear perspective on things.

You often hear about people using New Years to make a “set resolution” or to have an excuse to be healthier or change something about their lives. As I admire their effort and motivation, you shouldn’t wait for an opportunity to better yourself. You can start to be a better you at any time. Resolutions and “new image” ideas often fade so change you for YOU and not to prove a point or meet a goal. If you’re moving to somewhere new, take in your surroundings and learn to appreciate the people around you. These people will be the backbone to your emotional support while you’re redefining yourself.

Most importantly, don’t forget about why you wanted a fresh start in the first place. After getting that refreshing new start in a new area with new people and new activities, it’s easy to get caught up in that feeling of “re-birth” that you forget why you came to this point in the first place. Don’t torment yourself about it, but remember what mistakes you made or what things you wanted to change about yourself to begin with and keep them in the back of your mind. This will humble you and allow you to forgive yourself. It’ll also allow you to let go of any pent up frustration that you had while you slowly see yourself becoming the person you set out to be.

College is a great way to get out of your normal surroundings and find “a new you”. You can meet new friends who can bring different aspects of their world to you. Since college has students from all around the world, you’ll get to meet new friends with different perspectives and interesting stories and ideas to bring to the table. This will shape you more as a person and allow you to encounter outside worldly experiences that you can’t necessarily experience in your small town back home. You’ll see that maybe the things you were worrying about happen to everyone, and that you’re not alone.

When you move into your new dorm and your parents drive away, remember that no one is expecting you to be anything. You aren’t pressured to fit a certain image or fill any shoes. Similar to you, other students are moving away from their homes and safe zones and trying to find who they are. So be friendly with everyone you meet, and learn a little bit from every experience. This is your time to grow and expand your mind, so don’t limit yourself to one category. You’ll change once, and then change again. Then, after a while you’ll change again. It’s all a part of growing up and learning to find who you are.

The “Oohs and Aahs” of Online Classes

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Oh the bittersweet world of online classes. They’re three parts awesome and one part oouuuch. They’re awesome because they allow you to be able to sign up for your classes and actually do the work whenever you want (as long as you do all of the required conferences and get everything in by the due dates). You don’t have to drive to campus (or walk), and can sit in front of your computer in your dorm room in your fleece Elmo pajama pants and slippers. If you happen to doze off while reading the chapter, no one’s going to point and laugh at you, and you can wake up and finish reading it whenever your wake up in a panic. They’re also awesome because you don’t have to wake up at 6 A.M. and sit through a 3 hour lecture or haul your books to and from class.

The “ouch” comes from the smack of realization you’ll get soon after you start your class. The trick about online classes is that they require extreme dedication. I know what you’re thinking, “Any class takes dedication”. Well, yes. BUT with online classes, you don’t have a class that is mandatory to go to everyday, and you don’t have a professor in your face yelling at you if you doze off or don’t do your work. The online conferences and quizzes will come, go, and lock up on you so that if you miss the deadline, there’s no going back. You also miss out on the social connection of meeting your classmates in class and hanging out at the library after. With online classes, it’s super easy to fall behind if you keep pushing things off. Trust me, I know. I waited until the last week of my online class last semester to cram all of the work into 7 days. It was brutal, and my grade wasn’t what I’d normal receive if I would have paced myself.

For some people, online classes are relaxing and make taking that extra class a little easier. You can do the work at your own pace and not worry about showing up late for class or falling asleep during the lecture and missing notes. You can also access your online classes’ chat room and arrange to meet up with some of your classmates on campus to study or hangout. If you need help, there’s always an in-class e-mail system set up where you can e-mail your teacher and schedule a tutoring session or stop by their office hours. Once you get the hang of reminding yourself to log into your class and do the work, you’ll find it much easier to not miss deadlines and have them lock up on you.

Online classes have been really helpful for me in many cases, and if you stay on track they can really be beneficial to helping you knock out some of those general requirements that aren’t as hard as your core major classes.

I Threw Out the Bait, Where’s the Nibble: Trying to snag a new job

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You may have heard that the job field is a dog eat dog world in today’s competitive market. While this may be true, you are perfectly equipped and qualified to go in and rock that interview. You’ve read over the job description and you have the experience. You’re feeling confident and excited about going in and meeting your potential new co-workers and “wowing” them during the interview. Always remember, it’s okay to be nervous! Being nervous shows that you care about making a good first impression, which is always the most important thing to do.

You pick out your perfect outfit and make sure everything is ironed and ready to go with every hair groomed and in place. You get to your interview ten minutes early and you’ve remembered to bring a copy of your resume. You’re confident, and prepared.

After what seems like two hours waiting in anticipation, you’re called back and interviewed on your skill sets. You’re a little nervous, but you hide it with confidence and answer any question they throw your way. The interview ends, and you feel like it went really well.

The first part is to congratulate yourself for being proactive and shooting for success. Showing up early with a copy of your resume shows organization and dedication. You stepped into that office showing them that you were ready to contribute to bettering their business. Regardless of the outcome of the interview, you have gained important experience that will help you improve for your next time.

The interview lasts for about 15 minutes and then it’s over. All that anticipation for 15 minutes, you’re relieved. Your interviewers shake your hand and thank you for coming in. You walk out of your interview to 4 texts from your friends and 5 from your mom asking you how it went. You felt it went really well, and you’re not afraid to talk about it. You know it takes a few days for potential employers to get back to you, so you go through the rest of your week with your phone attached to your hip, just in case.

A week goes by, and then two. You still haven’t heard anything. You check your e-mail constantly and refresh your inbox to see if anything new came in. Maybe they forgot your number or you accidentally wrote down the wrong information in your nervous panic. Maybe they hated your interview and don’t even want to speak to you ever again. Maybe your breath was so offensive during the review of your resume that you clouded their judgment and they forgot who you were.

The truth is the answer is none of the above. You really DID do great on your interview, and they’re more than likely keeping you in the back of their head as they grow a running list of candidates. Sometimes we get so excited about job interviews that we forget that other people need to be interviewed for the position as well. And, in most cases, the interview is done in waves, where a smaller group is selected and then re-interviewed (either in person or via phone) to find the ultimate candidate. Just be patient. Know that you did your best and that you are just as qualified as anyone else they interviewed.

Make sure you follow up after your interview and after sending your resume to stay on track with the process. This doesn’t mean call five times a day, but sending a nice, “Hi Joe, this is Sarah. Just checking to see if you’ve received my resume and if there’s anything else I can provide you with during this process” e-mail is a good way to re-iterate your interest in the company. Keeping touch while polishing your image with things such as a personalized cover letter for your resume are the cherry on top of that perfectly frosted cupcake. It shows that you’re really interested in the position, and want them to know so.

When you finally do get that call, just remember that regardless of if you got the position or not, you tried your hardest, and that’s what counts. You’ve gained the experience and know what to expect for your next interview. Maybe there are some things you’d like to do differently, or maybe you want to knock it out of the ballpark in the future like you did with this one.

The call with the job offer is one of the best moments ever. You feel so accomplished and qualified. All your hard work and following up was worth it, and now you’ve snagged that awesome position. No more staying up late playing video games and going to late movie showings with your friends during the weekday anymore. You are now employed, and would like to stay that way!

If the call doesn’t turn out how you expected and they decided to go a different direction with their choice of hire, don’t get discouraged. There are plenty of job opportunities out there for you that are waiting for you to send off your resume. Sometimes, you can ask the interviewer why they went with a different candidate, and they may tell you they were looking for someone with a bit more experience, or maybe they won’t. The important part of this is to learn how to reflect on what happened, and take it in constructively for future interviews. Don’t get discouraged, you WILL find that perfect job and it will be worth it when you get it. Be proud of yourself for the effort, relax a bit and try again tomorrow.

How to Stay Focused in Class

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When school just starts up, your motivation levels to succeed and study hard are sky rocket high. You still have you parent’s voice echoing in your head to study hard and do your homework. You haven’t yet experienced what it’s like to wake up late for class, and you’re still getting over your new-to-college jitters. Even if you’re a returning student to a university, you always promise yourself a fresh start to your academics and to aim for that Dean’s list.

But, as time goes on and the weather changes, the motivation to be early for class and get an “A” on every assignment slowly dwindles down. You start waking up later and postponing your studying later and later. You’ve met tons of people in your residence hall and in class and have started going out with them to the local hang outs after classes. You’re so amped up about making new friends and your growing social circle that you forget the reason why you’re really at school, to learn.

If you find yourself sitting in class with your mind focusing on everything BUT the lecture, you’re suffering from more than a lack of focus; you’re suffering from lack of motivation. It happens to the best of students from time to time, and if not taken care of quickly enough can result to bad grades or in the worst case scenario, failing a class.

If you find yourself feeling unmotivated, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1) The reason that you are away at school, is to go to school. Meeting all of your new friends and having you first place away from home are added bonuses. Your job as a student is to study hard and get good grades so that you can get your degree and better your future. A lot of money goes into you receiving a top of the line education that is only there for you to be successful later in life.

2) Setting up a reward system for yourself can be an excellent motivator. If you are really feeling sluggish and dragging your feet to write that paper, set up a reward for yourself for when you complete it. A trip off campus to your favorite restaurant with a friend or a relaxing run at the gym are great ways to keep your mind stimulated while doing your work. The important thing is to not rush through your assignment to get to the reward. If you’re going to use the reward system, make sure you’re putting in 100% effort and not just blasting through the work to get it done.

3) Have a friend be your personal cheerleader! Okay, so that’s a little much, but having your friends on board with your efforts to get back on track will help keep you motivated. If they’re good friends, they won’t bug you about going out when you have work to do, and will even offer to stay in with you and crank it out while they do some of their own homework. Remember that there are plenty of times to go out and be social with your friends, but there IS a due date for that assignment you need to finish. You’ll feel so much better after it’s out of the way, and you’ll feel good when you get it back with a good grade (with no late deductions).

4)Sit in the front of the class- We all know lectures can be a little boring. In fact, every college show I ever watched growing up had at least one student drooling on their desk mid-class. I always noticed that I’d stop paying attention in class if I couldn’t see well or couldn’t hear what the professor was saying. The feeling of being able to doze off in class unnoticed was also a contributing factor to me slacking off. To curb the habit, I found myself a seat at the front of the class that kept me awake and stimulated the whole time. Knowing that the professor was right there to yell at me if I dozed off was enough to keep me bright eyed and bushy tailed long enough to get through the class.

5) Take a break. Sometimes focusing too hard on your work can create a mental blockage. Writers often experience this as “writer’s block”, where they’re prevented from moving on with a piece due to clouded or jumbled thoughts. If you’ve been staring at an assignment for three hours and can’t seem to get it done, get up, take a walk, grab a snack or stretch your legs a little. Standing up and re-stimulating your brain gets your blood pumping and gives you more energy. You’ll sit back down with a clear mind and will be able to tackle that assignment from a new perspective.

What Does Your Residence Hall Decor Say About You?

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Going off to college is the first exciting experience of your youth that allows you to live on your own and express your creativity. At home, your parents usually take care of the decorating and get to choose which laundry detergent you use. Heck, most the time, your parents are even still washing your clothes for you. You haven’t yet been introduced to Ramen Noodles, but don’t worry you soon will. You will become the Chef Ramsey of residence hall cooking, using only Ramen noodles, Cheetos and water.

You have so many ideas of how you want to decorate your new space and have picked out the perfect shower shoes to match your bathroom tote. You’ve got it all figured out from the type of shampoo you want to buy down to the very last fluffy knit of your throw carpet. As you shop around for residence hall linens and apparel, you notice that there’s so many colors and patterns that you love! Maybe decorating your room was a bit harder than you thought.

If you’re having trouble deciding how you want your residence hall to look, here are a few questions you can ask yourself before going shopping.

1)What colors do I want my room to have?- Maybe you love hot pink and black mixed with animal print. Maybe you’re more of a subtle decorator and want pale greens or deep blues. Perhaps you want to cover your side of the wall in posters of your favorite bands and brands. Whatever the case may be, make sure you pick a color scheme. This way, it’ll be much easier for you to find pieces and accessories that match those colors.

2) What do I want my room to say about me?- Am I trying to pull off a sophisticated look with blacks and greys? Do I want to be super feminine with purples, pinks and lace? Do I want to cover my walls in beautiful wall art of the New York Skyline? Maybe I want to show off the interior designer aspect of my personality and create an outside look, inside. Finding out what message about yourself you want to send out will help you start the shopping process.

3) What’s comfortable?- Is your residence hall always particularly chilly or breezy? Maybe you need to invest in linen with a heavier thread count to dive under after your hard day of classes. Do you prefer to sleep with thinner sheets and lots of throw pillows? Maybe buy a thinner bed spread and cover your bed in throw pillows with different messages and images. Find what makes you relaxed, and go with that.

4) Accessorize, accessorize!- Surrounding yourself with things that remind you of home or that make you happy is a great way to ease any anxiety you have about being on your own. Load up on wall decals, picture frames, and fluffy rugs and throw blankets. Give your bed that extra sense of comfort with an egg crate mattress topper to put under your sheets. This is your first place of your own, go wild!

After you’ve picked your items and you’re ready to move in, remember that you’re going to be sharing your new space with another person (unless you have a single residence hall room to yourself). Be courteous of their decorating desires as well, and don’t take up the whole room before they get there. Putting posters on your side of the wall is fine, hanging your wall art and moving your items over to their side of the room is pushing it.

You have every right to be excited and ready to decorate your new residence hall, but keep in mind that your new roommate may not have the same opinions or likes that you do. So before you start hanging hot pink drapes over your windows wait it out until your roomie gets there and decorate together. Who knows, maybe the mix of both of your items together will make for an interesting and unique living space. Decorating together could be a fantastic first bonding experience that can set your relationship off on the right start.

Studying with Music- Good or Bad?

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If you’re like me, the type of music you listen to depends on your mood. If I’m feeling peppy and energetic, I’ll listen to pop music or something with a good beat. If I’m feeling a bit more tired and sluggish, I’ll listen to something a little softer with a slower tempo. When it comes to studying, I’ll either listen to music that keeps me awake if I’m tired or will keep me relaxed if I’m anxious about a test or exam.

Studying with music has a different effect on everyone. What may work for you may distract someone else around you, like your roommate. If you’re one of those people who likes to have the music playing while you’re studying or doing your homework, make sure it’s soft enough to not disturb your roommate if they’re trying to sleep or study themselves. An alternative is to wear ear buds or headphones so that you can listen to whatever you want and not bother anyone else around you.

For me, I always found it helpful to have music playing in the background, even if I’m not particularly listening to it. I more so cringe at the sound of “dead air” that eventually will put me to sleep and curb my studying efforts. Listening to music while studying help keeps my brain awake and gives me enough pep to work through my assignment. On the other side of the token, if my assignment is really difficult and I don’t understand the instructions all too well, listening to music sometimes scrambles my brain more.

If you’re studying for a test where you have to remember a lot of key points, figureheads or dates, sometimes using the beat to your favorite song with some creative lyrics can help you come up with a catchy way to remember what you’re studying. My professor once made a song about the artists and dates of famous paintings that I remembered for months on end. I’ve lost it now due to lack of practice, but at the time I referred to that song every time I had to recall a painting from that era.

The point here is to find out what works best for you. If you noticed that you don’t write your best work while listening to your favorite music station, then try writing your next assignment with your music off. If you notice that you can concentrate more and your thoughts are less scattered when your music isn’t playing, then maybe you are one of the people that work better without background noise.

If you’re one of those people who hate “dead air” like I do and need to listen to music while working on your homework or while you’re writing, make sure it’s something low key enough to not completely distract you from your work. After you’re done writing, turn your music off (or at least down) and re-read your paper for clarity and fluidity. This will make sure you haven’t skipped over any small details while bobbing your head back and forth to the ever so viral “Call Me Maybe”.