Setting a Budget for the Remainder of Your College Career

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counting quarters when budgeting

Welcome to adulting! It seems fun at first, but it’s also pretty risky. There’s a lot that can go wrong — especially with your money while you’re in college. The best way to protect yourself from debt or pesky fees is to set up a budget.

Here’s how you can make the best one possible in just a few easy steps:

  1. Gather Your Supplies

Before you get started, you’ll need your paperwork. Get a hold of a copy of every bill you pay regularly. Some frequent ones include your car insurance, phone, credit card, medical bills, debt to your parents, gym membership, Netflix subscription, etc. If you live in an apartment, bills would include your rent and utilities.

2. Categorize Everything

Then, if you use a debit or credit card, look at your complete spending statements from last month. Write it all down or print it out so you can categorize it. Our most common categories include Housing, Phone/Cable/Internet, Transportation, Food, Lifestyle, Entertainment, Insurance, Debt. Giving, and Savings.

Take those receipts or statements from your bank and start to give everything you spent a category. Eating out goes in Entertainment. The shoes you bought is classified as Lifestyle. Your credit card bill is in Debts. Do this until you’ve got a full picture of every dollar you’ve spent over the last month.

making a budget spreadsheet

3. Look at Your Income

Next, look at your paychecks, as well as any extra regular money you make from side jobs like babysitting or allowances from your parents. This is defined as income. If it’s not steady (say you work hourly or get tips), round down an average to be safe.

Compare your income and your total spend from last month. Does it cover your bills? If yes, then you’re doing great and proceed to step five. If not, move on to step four.

4. Get a Reality Check

Overspending in college is a huge issue and we rarely fail to see it until it’s too late and we’re short on cash. Now that you know you’re in the red, you need to act. Go back to those categories and see what you can cut. You can probably do without daily coffee or another new outfit in your closet every single month.

For example, if you’re consistently short $100, take $10 off of each category or cut out your shopping habit altogether. Can’t cut anything? Time to make more money with a side job or extra hours!

5. Give Yourself an Allowance

One great way to keep yourself within your budget is to ditch the cards and go cash only. I know — crazy! But it works, especially for overspenders! Having cash will make you think twice about those splurge night outs. And it will help you visualize your money. Use envelopes, clips, or even dividers in your wallet for your categories.

If you’re not comfortable carrying large amounts of cash, you can set up checking bank accounts or a reloadable Visa gift card for your big spend items (like eating out or shopping).

Start saving, even if it is just a piggybank!

6. Be Wise With the Extra

Now is the time to pay down your student loans. If you pay while you’re in college, even a small amount monthly, you’ll save HUGE on the amount owed when you graduate. No student loans? Get investing! Open a Roth IRA or Traditional IRA and save for retirement. Or open a traditional savings account and save for that future expense like a new car or your study abroad. When you know how to budget, you can afford to treat yourself.

Taking the initiative to establish a budget while still in college is one of the most important money-conscious actions that you can take. If you can abide by a stricter budget while in college, it will be a breeze post-graduation. Not only will you feel like a million bucks by having your finances under control, you will be well on your way to saving that million!

10 Halloween Costumes You Can Make In Your Dorm Room

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Making your own costume is a must when you’re on budget. But when you’re a college student living in a tiny dorm room with limited crafting resources, making your own Halloween costume can be tricky. We picked out our top ten creative ideas for college-approved costumes to help you pick out your winning look.

     1.Crazy Cat Lady

Bedhead, mixed matched clothes, stuffed cats pinned to your clothes or carried in a purse. That’s all you need to pull off this nightmare costume!

     2. Candy Crush

There are so many food-related DIY ideas out there. Our favorites are a gumball machine (red skirt or pants and taped fuzzy, colored balls to a white t-shirt), pineapple (yellow dress with green, leafy headdress), and can of soda (dress or single colored outfit with your flavor printed across your chest and a tin colored paper plate hat as the cap). So easy and sweet!

     3. Stickfigure

White shirt and pants and black electrical tape lining the body make an instant stick figure. Add string, battery powered lights and you’re the glow-in-the-dark version! Another twist is to be the women’s or men’s bathroom man or woman using cardboard cutouts.

     4. LEGO Piece

A large Amazon box and glued on containers painted in one color makes the perfect lego you can wear around all night. The trick is finding a box big enough!

     5. Fortune Teller

If you’re into the boho look, you can basically take anything in your wardrobe (crazy colored skirt or pants, bright colored top, knit sweater, and oversized headband) and go with it. Bring a crystal ball (glowing bouncy ball works) to tell fortunes all night.

     6. Game Piece

If you have a suit, you can be the Monopoly man with his monocle and fake money. You can DIY a Guess Who piece with a cardboard frame and some inspiration from the real characters. Add Operations cute body parts to nude colored clothing (and don’t forget the red undies). Or, consider buying the Twister mat and DIY-ing a simple dress for the night.

     7. Work of Art

If you’re great with makeup and a fan of fine art, combine your skills and recreate your favorite painting. Some popular choices include the Girl with the Pearl Earring, a Lichtenstein character, or even a Greek statue.

     8. Emoji Characters

A yellow outfit and some cut out facial expressions makes a quick and easy emoji. You can also be the more expressive emojis out there like the boy running or the girl crossing her arms.

     9. Brand Labels

Starbucks lovers can become a cup of whatever they order with a white or brown outfit and the Starbucks logo wrapped around their waist (giant green straw optional). Flannel loving guys with a beard (or a fake one if you have the patience to draw or glue one on) make great Brawny paper towel men. If you’ve got a yellow raincoat and an umbrella, you can become the Morton Salt girl in seconds! Get creative with your pantry items.

     10. Protesting Halloween

Maybe you’re not in the spirit or Halloween isn’t your thing. That’s okay too. Instead of playing along, make the message loud and clear by dressing in another holiday’s outfit instead. Wear an ugly Christmas sweater or a Santa costume. Bring out the Easter bunny baskets and ears. Go all Uncle Sam. It’ll have everyone talking!

Common Myths About Communal Bathrooms: DEBUNKED!

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communal-college-bathrooms

Whether you’re totally new to dorm life or transferring to another building, living in shared spaces is intimidating. Throw in a communal bathroom to the mix, and you may have some added fears and anxieties. No worries! This is normal because there are a lot of myths and legends about communal bathrooms. We’ve debunked the most common ones so you can learn the truth about sharing your bathroom.

 

Myth: You’ll Be Showering With the Opposite Gender

Truth: In most dorms, you’ll have a communal bathroom for ladies and another for men. However, it’s important to note that this isn’t a universal truth. Some dorms will have gender-neutral restrooms, but they likely will have separate showers. In others, you’ll share the entire bathroom, showers included, with the opposite sex. If this makes you uncomfortable and is a possibility, be sure to let Residence Life know ASAP.

 

Myth: Communal Bathrooms are Super Dirty

Truth: If you have an open bathroom (that is, if it isn’t shared among a small number of people in conjoined rooms), you may have a cleaning person who comes in daily to manage the mess. It’s almost as good as if mom is there cleaning up after you. Though, communal shower manners are that you clean up after yourself, including drains, stray hairs, and leftover soap.

 

Myth: You’ll Have to Walk Around Naked

Truth: Robes will become your best friend! This should be at the top of your list if you haven’t gotten one already. Pick one out that is a size larger than you normally wear so you can wrap it around for more modest coverage. You may also want to do a test run to see if it’s clingy when you’re wet or if it is shorter than you expected.

 

Pro tip: shower caddies will make shared facilities so much easier

Myth: There Will Be Fights for the Bathroom

Truth: During the first few weeks of every semester, you’ll go through an adjustment period during which everyone will be off-schedule. But after that, you’ll start to notice that you like to shower at the same time every day or that your roommate goes to the bathroom before their bedtime. Everything will link up quickly and you won’t need to worry about it once the schedules are set!

 

Myth: You’ll Be Too Shy to Use It

Truth: Though you may feel odd at first, you will quickly learn that everyone needs to use the bathroom. Some like to spend all their time there doing their hair or makeup while others are in and out. You’ll find a comfort level that works for your needs. We promise! In fact, communal bathrooms are great places to make friends or to bond over a favorite lipstick or a great smelling shampoo.

 

Myth: There’s a Chance I’ll Get Sick or Catch Something

Truth: Germs spread everywhere, even when the cleaning crew goes through. All dorms are like this, with or without communal bathrooms. That’s why it is important to keep up your bathroom hygiene. Carry around some hand soap, wash and avoid touching anything after using the restroom, wear flip flops when showering, and don’t share anything that is on your face, hair, or body.

 

The ultimate truth is that communal bathrooms can be an important part of your college experience! Make friends while brushing teeth, get your clean routine down, and don’t be afraid of being uncomfortable at first.

 

 

Check out our selection of college bath supplies — from shower caddies to robes, we’ll have you ready for the communal bathrooms at your dorm.

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.

 

The Importance of Prioritizing Alone Time at School & Where to Find it

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Alone Time in College

Living in a dorm can sometimes feel overwhelming. It’s not like living at home, where you can close your bedroom door and shut everything out for awhile. Instead, people are constantly around. Even extroverts or social butterflies can feel the crush after a while. Planning alone time is essential to maintaining good physical and mental health. Here’s why you should prioritize alone time in college and how you can make it happen.

Why Alone Time Matters

There’s a school of thought that says everyone falls into one of two classifications of personality: introverts and extroverts. Introverts are usually more withdrawn and give energy to people around them. They often come off as “shy,” not because they don’t know how to socialize, but because they prize special relationships with those they know and love. After being with people for a long period of time or being around high energy events, introverts need quiet, alone time to “recharge” their social batteries.

On the other hand, extroverts soak up energy. They love being around others, and they feel more powerful when they can talk or explore with people. Some more reserved extroverts do best around friends; others can strike up a conversation with anyone. However, even extroverts still need solitary time to come down from that energy high.

No matter what category you feel you fall into, alone time can also be great for focusing on your studies, thinking through a challenging situation, or just getting in some meditation!

Tips on Finding Quiet Spaces

First, know that alone time doesn’t have to be sitting in a dark room with the TV off. Productive alone time can be simply getting to Netflix your favorite show and binge on some healthy snacks. Alone time can be going to the gym with your headphones in and your mind focused on a new speed record. Even a private lunch in your school’s garden can be quality time.

If your friends are interrupting these favorite solo activities, don’t be afraid to plan a day off or to ask for some space politely. Roommates can set up schedules where they know when the other is in class or out of town so they can plan their alone time without interruption.

If you’re in need of a low-sensory or distraction free zone, try your library. For larger schools, specialized libraries (such as engineering or music libraries), can be great places to beat the crowds. They often provide quiet study rooms or individual areas for you to relax. Other options include health centers where more schools are setting aside nap or meditation spaces open for students to use as needed. If there’s none on campus, ask your student life director to designate a space for students like you!

Finally, don’t be afraid to get away too. A drive, if you’ve got a car, can be therapeutic. A trip on the bus or train to a quiet museum or a day on the beach can totally restore you. Splurge on alone time to help you feel at your best.

Getting to Know Your New College Roommate

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meeting your college roommate

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!

College Move-In Series: Day Of

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Move in series day 1

Welcome back to the move-in series! For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the series, allow me to explain: this is the last part of a five part series that gives step by step instructions for high school grads preparing for move-in day at college. And it’s finally the day you’ve been waiting for all summer: freshman move-in day! Here’s everything you need to know about your first day in the dorms and on campus.

Step 1: The Walk Through

Before you leave, take one last look around the house. Run through the check list and eyeball your surroundings. Make sure you have everything you need and leave no space unchecked. It’s easy to forget about common everyday items such as toothbrushes and chargers.

Step 2: Last Minute to-do’s

How do I get my room key? Where do I check-in? Where is it safe to park? To find the answers to these questions, look no further than your college’s website. You may be responsible for other tasks such as room inspection upon arrival. So reference you college’s website for more information on move-in day instructions.

Step 3: Leave Early

Beat the traffic by leaving early. Speed through the security lines at the airport by leaving early. Catch the first train by leaving early. No matter how you plan on getting to college, leave early! You’ll have more time to unpack and relax on move-in day.

Step 4: Recruit Movers

Moving in without any help is not an impossible feat. But who wants to make twenty back-breaking trips from the car to the dorm? Text a few friends around campus and ask for some help. If your parents are dropping you off, recruit a sibling or two to help out. Still struggling to find help on move in day? Hire some movers to lug all your stuff for you!

Step 5: Unpack and Explore

As tempting as it may be to start rearranging the furniture in your dorm, don’t. Unless you have a room all to yourself, you need to check with your roommate(s) before moving things around. You definitely don’t want to start off on the wrong foot with your roommates. Also, be respectful of their space by placing all of your boxes, bags, and luggage out of the way. After you finish unpacking your things, take a trip around campus. There’s bound to be some type of move-in day meet and greet. Go out, meet people, and have fun!

Step 6: Final Goodbye

Saying goodbye is always the hardest part, especially for mom. Show your family how thankful you are for their support with a nice card. Consider going out to eat with them for one last meal.

Step 7: Meet the Resident Assistant (RA)

Introduce yourself to the RA and see what they have planned for the start of the semester. It’s never a bad idea to make some friendly conversation with the RA. They are there to enforce school policy, so don’t get on their bad side.

Step 8: Get to Know Your Roommate

Spend some quality time with your roommate. Take them out for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat. Invite them out if you have any plans on campus. Consider joining a club together if you share similar interests. On a more serious note, take a minute to discuss what the house rules will be. For example: leaving dishes in the sink is forbidden. It’s important to set up a cleaning schedule right off the bat. Establishing these rules now will go a long way.

Step 9: Find Your Way Around

Familiarize yourself with your residence hall – check out the bathrooms, kitchen, rec rooms, etc. Take a trip to the gym, explore the quad, or just take a walk around the block. Another smart move is to figure out how long it will take you to get to your classes, by pulling up your class schedule and starting the stopwatch on your phone. Walk to each class and record how long it takes to get to each one. While this may seem foolish to students on a small campus, it can be hard to tell how far away a building is on a large campus.

Step 10: Unfinished Business

Take care on any unfinished business before the day is up. Store any important documents, cash, and credit/debit cards in a safe place. Turn in any paperwork that you may have forgotten about. Go pick up your textbooks and school supplies from the bookstore, and take care of any financial aid and/or scholarship obligations.  If anything else comes to mind, you’ll thank yourself later if you take care of it before the end of the day.

Step 11: Food Run

Make a trip to the grocery store to stock up on food. Only buy what you can easily prepare and store. If you do not have a fridge, avoid buying large amounts of perishable foods like fruit. Here are some great dorm food ideas: energy bars, chips, trail mix, and all things canned. Keep an eye out for anything on sale. If you have room in your dorm, such as under your bed, buy in bulk whenever you come across a decent sale.  This is where having a rewards card (or using your parents) comes in handy. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save with a rewards card.

The 10 Best Blogs for College Students

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Best Blogs for College Students
Sometimes you just want to connect with people like you — college writers who talk about what you’re going through and who may have awesome tips and tricks to get you through your day. Blogs for and written by college students are an excellent addition to your reading material. Whether they’re talking about their relationships and dating or just commiserating about their least favorite morning lecture, you’ll love reading these 10 best blogs for college students.

Top 10 Blogs for College Students

1. Broke Millennial
Okay, so being called “millennials” might be a little passé — but this blog, written by a recent college grad and financial expert, makes it seem kind of cool. She talks about all things finances, from getting out of your parent’s house post-graduation to side hustling for extra cash.

2. PostSecret
PostSecret is not written by college students, nor is it specific to college life. But there is something about regular people sharing their deepest, most emotional secrets on a simple postcard that makes you feel more connected than ever. Updated every weekend, you’ll want to laugh and cry in one reading.

3. College Cures
Want to know the best time for an afternoon nap? How about party theme ideas for your next get together? College Cures knows all, tells all, and shows all — without the prerequisites.

4. Study Hacks
When you want motivation or tricks to ace the next exam, Study Hacks has got your back. With a mission to teach students how to power on the brain and up productivity, this college professor will teach you exactly what you need to know.

5. College Candy
Part relationships, part pop culture, part advice, you’ll get the best of all worlds by reading regularly updated content relevant to your day. We promise that College Candy will give you good talking points at your next party.

6. Studeconomics
Written by a recent grad, financial expert, and semi-pro wrestler, you won’t only learn more about earning and saving money, but Studeconomics will also show you how to gain confidence in yourself. Now that makes for a good blog read!

7. Hack College
You may know how to create a speaker system using a towel roll and you’re pretty confident when it comes to filling out grad school applications. But what about the rest? When you’re not sure where to turn, Hack College is the go-to for all things college, including personal stories and how-to’s you won’t find anywhere else.

8. Collegiate Cook
Want to eat well but have to endure the college kitchen (or lack thereof)? Have no fear because Collegiate Cook will teach you how to be a chef with the bare bones ingredients and supplies. Ranging from healthy to splurge, your stomach will thank you.

9. Broke and Beautiful
BaB is made for the stylista without the wallet to match. Whether you’re into makeup or shoes, necklaces or hairstyles, there’s something for everyone. There’s even a rundown of ethical brands that’ll make you feel great about any purchases you decide on.

10. HerCampus
Harvard girls started this amazing tell-all blog that features both style and personal stories. The content isn’t from just them (they’ve graduated). Instead, it features a wide range of writers so you can pick and choose which storyteller you want to hear from.

Advice for Freshmen: How to Survive Co-Ed Bathrooms

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Communal bathroom

The newest trend in dorm life is to make living spaces more friendly to those who wish to live and work with the opposite sex. While it’s awesome in getting you used to real adulthood, it can be really intimidating for most freshmen to share a bathroom with someone of the other gender. But have no fear, incoming freshmen. You can prepare for a co-ed bathroom by following these simple tips.

Come Prepared

When shopping for dorm supplies, you’ll probably focus on decor and bedding. We don’t blame you. But if you’re not too excited about the initial awkwardness of a co-ed bathroom, we suggest taking some time to really think through your college shopping list.

One thing we highly recommend is to invest in an awesome robe or two. You’ll want one you’re perfectly comfortable walking around in and being seen in frequently. Think not too revealing, not too short, and one with sturdy ties. Try them on, get the right size, and make sure you feel comfortable.

Secondly is the towel situation. Bath towels may be too small to circle all the way around your torso, so we suggest purchasing long towels known as “bath sheets,” which are made like sturdy beach towels. You can always use them in a pinch to get from the shower to your dorm room if your robe gets wet or you forget your change of clothes.

Finally, think about where you’ll be doing the majority of your bathroom routine. Some girls and guys prefer to wash their face, prim, and prepare in the comfort of the bathroom. Others want to keep that part of their beauty secret, well, a secret!  If you are okay with doing it out in the open, make sure you have a waterproof bathroom caddy. If you are the opposite, plan out some creative, compact storage options for your dorm room.

Get Situated

There’s no denying that the first few days or even weeks are going to be a bit weird. You may be afraid of what worst case scenario may happen. But the best thing you can do is not chicken out. From day one, go in with confidence. Act like you’re okay with the new living situation, and eventually, it will feel natural.

The other case for getting your feet wet right away is that you can quickly make a bathroom schedule that makes you feel comfortable. With dorm room bathrooms, you start to notice that you’ll run into the same people showering at a particular time or the same people brushing their teeth with you. Whether it’s because of your class schedule, sports, or just a normal routine, you’ll become more at ease when you develop your bathroom “tribe.”

And in the end, if you’re still not feeling the whole co-ed thing, you can always recruit a buddy to go in with you. Get ready for the day with your best friend or roommate, or make friends with the RA. Eventually you won’t need that crutch to get you through.

There is a catch for all of this though: if co-ed dorms are not for you, that’s okay too! We’re all different and that’s why most colleges have ample options for a variety of lifestyle choices. Don’t be afraid to ask for a change if you’re set against it. You’ll appreciate living with like-minded individuals and your dorm leaders will love that you let them know what you’re not okay with. After all, that openness is the best part of college!

Four Common Roommate Problems & How to Deal with Them

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Common Roommate Problems (1)

Living with a complete stranger in a tiny dorm room isn’t exactly easy. After the honeymoon phase during the first few weeks of college, there’s almost always a guarantee that things won’t always be sunny and drama-free. If you’re in a tricky situation with a roommate, first know that you’re not alone. Roommate problems are far more common than you think. These 4 common roommate problems may seem like the worst now, but by following this list, you can learn to deal with them in a strong, constructive way.

The 4 Most Common Roommate Problems and How to Deal With Them

1.   Messy vs. Clean Freak

You love your space completely clean or maybe even minimalist. She, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about some trash on her desk or the spill in the fridge.

How to Deal: Cleaning expectations should be number one on your roommate agreement. Be honest with how you prefer (or don’t care) about your room’s appearance so they know off of the bat what to expect. If the agreement isn’t being enforced, consider a common ground. Designate a cleaning day or time in which both of you are around.

2.   Night Owl vs. Early Bird

Pulling all-nighters can be just part of the college experience, but if you’re living with someone who is devoted to their 5 AM sunrise jog or who is a fan of the 8 AM class, you may be doing more harm to them than good.

How to Deal: Standardize your bedtime and implement quiet hours. A good rule of thumb is that 10 PM to midnight on most weekdays should be wind down time. The night owl should turn down their TV or use their desk lamp while the early bird prepares for sleep. For surviving an early bird, request that she or he use a vibrating alarm, avoid using louder appliances such as a coffee maker and use headphones.

3.   Socialite vs. Homebody

There’s always one roommate who loves to be the life or the host of the party. But for every social butterfly, there is a couch potato introvert who just wants them to go home.

How to deal: Here’s another case where expectations should be set at the very beginning. And while compromise may work here, it’s important that the person who would rather keep their dorm off-limits to parties be heard first. They may have valid fears about theft and damage or be against party activities. All of this is understandable. If you’re the party thrower, seek out a new venue or find a few friends with a roommate who is more down with hosting.

4.   The Borrower vs. The Hands Off

Sticky fingers can create huge issues in a roommate situation. But beyond theft, over-sharing can also hurt feelings and lead to misunderstandings. Who is right in this situation?

How to deal: This one is pretty straight forward. If it belongs to you, it belongs to you alone. Stand up for yourself if your roommate is taking the liberty of borrowing without asking. Make it clear what is and isn’t off limits. If she/he still doesn’t listen and you’re not able to remedy the situation with other help, consider purchasing a safe or chest with locking abilities and keep all valuables out of harm’s way.