Tag Archives: roommates

Students’ Say On: Dorm Life

Dorm life can be the best of times and the worst of times. The dorm roommate you have in college can become your best friend, who you hang out with and eat ice cream with, have deep talks late at night with, and stay in contact with for the rest of your life. Or he or she can be the kind of person who makes you get up earlier than you have to in order to go out of your way to walk on the other side of campus, even though it adds 8 extra minutes to your walk, just so you don’t have to pass by them and see their face on your way to class. From sharing a bathroom and an itty-bitty room to never having your own personal space for long, dorm life is an adventure.

This week, we asked students to tell us about their experience living in the dorms. Most of the students we talked to had moved out of the dorms into either an apartment or townhouse, but they still remembered their time in the halls very well. It was common for students to have lived in more than one dorm during their time living on campus.

“The worst thing about dorm life, according to most students, was, not surprisingly, the small and cramped rooms and having people around all the time.” Photo from: http://www.radford.edu/content/residence-life/home/residence-halls/muse-hall/gallery/jcr%3Acontent/par/gallery/items/galleryitem_0/largeimage.img.jpg/1433961867056.jpg

Our main question was, “What’s dorm life like?”

One student’s answer: “It smells like pot. And it’s really loud. And when it’s 80 degrees, they turn the heat on. When it’s 30 degrees, they turn the A/C on. So that’s fun.”

When asked what their favorite thing about living on campus was, the main answer was the proximity to everything, whether it be food places, classes, or friends. “If I wanted to go home and take a nap, I don’t have to walk up a hill. If I wanted Wendy’s, I can get Wendy’s. And it came along with a food plan, and I like food,” said one student. “All my friends live right next to me,” said another. Others talked about liking the study spaces and how it was a great way to make friends and meet new people.

The worst thing about dorm life, according to most students, was, not surprisingly, the small and cramped rooms and having people around all the time either next door, floors above you, floors below you, or in your room. Having to share such a small room was another least favorite thing about the dorms.

We also asked if they could change one thing about the dorms, what would it be? Most said everyone should have their own bathroom. Another popular answer was to have parking that was closer to campus. “You have to park 3,000 miles away,” said one student, and she wasn’t exaggerating much.


Dorm Life vs. Apartment Life

The vast majority of people in college either live in a dorm or in an apartment. Few people actually come from the town or city that their university or college resides in, so we need alternate lodgings while we’re away. Most college students tend to live in the dorms because most universities require that you live in a dorm for at least one year of your college career. But plenty of people also live in apartments near the college campus, and many people often wonder which is better.

apartment listings
“Many who do live in an apartment have to work within a budget, and utility bills can add up very quickly.” Photo from: http://suffolkjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/listings.jpg

One of the upsides to living in a dorm is there are no bills to pay. Once you’ve paid your tuition, you’re set; you can use as much heat, water, and electricity as you want without worry. The same cannot be said for those who live in an apartment. Many who do live in an apartment have to work within a budget, and utility bills can add up very quickly. This leads into the issue of roommates as well. Practically everyone in a dorm has at least one roommate, and some even have three or four. The same can be said of most people who live in an apartment. While there is the option to live by yourself, most people cannot afford to do so and have to get at least one other person to live with them. However, the main difference between having a roommate in a dorm and a roommate in an apartment is that in an apartment, utility bills can be very high/expensive with multiple people. A single person can increase the bill significantly for the other roommate(s).

The flip side, however, is that in an apartment there is almost always more space and everyone has their own room. One of the worst parts about living in a dorm is the lack of space and the fact that you have to share a small room with another person. While you still have to share space inside of an apartment, you have your own room at least. This extra space can help ease a lot of the tension that one usually finds inside of a dorm room. There is also the benefit of having your own personal kitchen and not being subjected to a limited meal plan. With your own kitchen, you can make whatever meals you want whenever you want them and store whatever food you want without any real hassle or fear of it going bad. At the end of the day, it comes down to your own personal preference as to where you want to live and what you want to sacrifice.

Communication is key

There comes a point in the semester, usually around now, that you may find yourself with tension between you and your roommate or your suitemates, or maybe even both.

Maybe you’re having space issues, leaving things where they don’t belong, or having stuff creep over the imaginary line that separates your sides. Maybe there are issues with sharing the bathroom.

You can’t agree on cleaning, or do not have a consistent shower schedule. There may be an issue giving fair warning about guests coming over, and said guests of the opposite gender walking into the bathroom at the most inconvenient moments.

You may think the best way to handle these issues is by quietly tiptoeing around them or venting to friends and hoping they go away. While these may help you avoid them for the first little bit, you cannot survive the rest of the semester, let alone the year, doing so.

The best way to work through these is through clear communication. It may seem stereotypical, but communication really is key in any situation when you are dealing with people in relationships, interactions, and especially in close living quarters.

It may seem awkward at first, but don’t be afraid to sit down your roommate or suitemates (maybe everyone if you need to), and start a clear line of communication.

Be sure to get all of your issues out in the open, and be sure to clearly state why it may bother you, and then come up with helpful tips and ways to make it better. Whether it be giving more of a heads-up when significant others are coming for a weekend, being a little quieter, cleaning up more often or helping with the cleaning, working out an efficient shower schedule, or just agreeing to talk and be more open with each other with problems, talking and effectively communicating will only make it easier.

Trust me, this will help tremendously, and it’ll dispel any tension that may have started to build or help avoid any from forming.

Remember that there are probably things that you do that irritate them as well, so be open to suggestions yourself. This may help you create a more relaxed, tension-free living space!

Three DIY Halloween decorations to prank your roommates

Once again, it’s the season of tricks and treats. The only thing better than having cheap, easy, and spooky decoration for your home is being able to prank your roommates with those decorations. Here are three terrific ideas for Halloween decorations that will make your friends jealous and scare your roommates.

1) Head in a jar


To create the illusion of a head in a jar, simply find a picture of a head that has been widened (you can find these images online or photo shop your own), get it laminated (most office supply stores have a station where you can get things laminated), roll up the laminated picture and stick it into a jar, then fill the jar with water (add green and yellow food dye for an added effect). In addition to making a great decoration, you can give your roommates a heart attack by sticking the jar in the refrigerator. That will teach them not to eat your food. (More extensive instructions in the link)

2) Chicken wire ghost


This one requires a little more skill, but if done correctly, it will create an awesome affect. First buy some chicken wire (available at most stores such as Walmart, also at craft stores such as Michael’s) then shape the chicken wire into the vague shape of a person. (More detailed shaping instructions are illustrated in the link). The illusion works best if you place your “ghost” a little ways away from your audience, such as a backyard or a courtyard. Spray paint with glow in the dark paint for an added effect. Bonus: in addition to making the basic human figure (as shown above), you can also make ghostly dresses, among other haunting figures. To prank your roommates just point outside and say “Hey, what’s that?” The “ghost” will do the rest.

3) Creepy glowing eyes


For a super cheap and easy idea guaranteed to scare all your friends, collect toilet paper rolls. Cut out holes in the shape of eyes and then simply insert a glow stick or another source of light. Place the “glowing eyes” in bushes, in the gap behind your couch, in your roommate’s closet…

Happy haunting!

Highlanders Anonymous: Is this real life?

“It’s been really hard to get exercise this semester. How can I find the time?”

“Physical exercise can relieve stress, so we’ve got to find time for it.” Photo by: Caroline Leggett

Exercise is very important, for both our physical and mental states.  Physical exercise can relieve stress, so it can be very important  to find time for it no matter how busy our schedules are. If you’re finding that it’s difficult to schedule a set time for exercise, you can always be a bit more spontaneous. Start by keeping exercise clothes on campus at all times. That way, whenever an opportunity arises, you will be ready. Leaving exercise clothes at home is one of the most common reasons to pass up a workout. Be prepared and I’m sure something will come up.

“What is the least embarrassing way to ask someone on a date?”

Do something special for this significant person and ask them when the time is right for you. Don’t push yourself before you’re ready, but don’t wait forever. Otherwise asking will become more and more difficult.

“How do I break it to my roommate that I don’t want to live with them anymore? I’d like to spare their feelings, but I’m so sick of them!”

If you’re really sick of someone, it’s only a matter of time before you say something you’ll regret. This whole process will come a lot easier if you’re more honest with yourself and your roommate. Until you’re able to get away, tell them if you are bothered by something they do so your problems don’t snowball into something crazy and dysfunctional. If those things aren’t working for you and you’ve made up your mind to get away , just tell them that you have found another living situation that will work better for you. It’s up to them whether they’re going to take this personally. There’s not much you can do about that.

“My room looks so boring. It makes me not want to have guests over. How can I make it nicer and more comfortable?”

Decoration is key here. Use mementos, art, and lighting to make your room more customized to suit your personality. A cheap way to do this is to buy string lights and posters of things you like. These items are found at most department stores. If you want to make your room more comfortable, consider setting up a sitting area . This could be a comfy reading chair, or just another place for guests to relax.

“Is this real life?”

It could be real life–or we could be in the Matrix.

Highlanders Anonymous: Diary, bills, and extra school

“I spend way too much time playing video games everyday. How do I stop getting so distracted and get my real work done?”

Procrastinating when you have a lot of work to do can become a real issue and it’s a pretty common one. Take steps to se that you focus enough to actually get your work done on time, even if you have to force yourself. I’d even go as far to say that you should unplug your game console during weekdays. That way, the temptation is gone.

“Is there a way to keep my roommates in check? They’re super forgetful and I’m afraid they’re going to leave the heat on every time they go out? The electricity bill is going to be too high this winter!”

If you are able to have a chat with your roommates about this, ask them to set reminders for themselves to prevent this from becoming a hindrance. You all could also agree on an attention-grabbing sign on the front door that reminds them to switch off the heat.

Remember that there’s no outright way to force people to change the way they are. If there is no peaceful way to stop them from leaving the heat on, tell them that they must pay a larger portion of the heating bill. The best solution would ideally be the one with a compromise though.

“Some people tell me that I wear too much makeup and it’s really annoying. What’s the best way to tell them off?”

Ignoring them might be a better way to go about that. However, if you have to encounter these people often, don’t feel like you have to justify yourself for wearing your makeup. Be honest and tell them that their behavior is bothering you.

“I have the option to spend another year at school, but it’s not required. I’m not sure if it’s work it or not. Should I stay or just get a job?”

Only go to school for another year if it will be worth it in the long run. Ask yourself an important question; “Will not going to school the extra year prevent me from achieving my goals?”

“Where should I hide my diary?”

“Where should I hide my diary?”

Transfer it onto your computer and password-protect it. Then, dispose of the paper copy.

Highlanders Anonymous: Ugly feet

foot massage
“I’m sorry to say this, but some people have a “thing” against feet.”

“My boyfriend said that he hates my feet. That makes me feel ugly when he says that. How can I tell him that it bothers me?”

I’m sorry to say this, but some people have a “thing” against feet. They can’t stand the sight of them. It’s possible that this may be the case. That’s no excuse for a boyfriend to say that he hates something about you though. The point here is that you shouldn’t feel like you should hate a part of your body that is essential for you to live your daily life. Tell him that it hurts your self-esteem when he points out flaws. It’s just as hurtful as making fun of someone that has a large nose. That’s part of you and he needs to learn to love it or hush up about it.

“I like to listen to my music at full volume in my bedroom and now my roommates are mad at me. The thing is, they never told me I couldn’t. Do they even have a right to be mad?”

You have to remember that you’re learning to cohabitate with other people now. They all have their own goals to fulfill while they’re attending RU. Sometimes, your hobbies may annoy them. Give them a little leeway. They might have a midterm to study for and your loud music may be very disruptive to their progress. If your goal at RU is to party, that’s ok. That’s your choice. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you’re also respectful of other people that are sharing a space with you. If they’re mad, be the bigger person and turn the music down without causing a fight.

“Should I stay at RU and work over Thanksgiving break or should I go home to visit my parents?”

I think that depends on how badly you need money. Be realistic. In the long run, what will help you the most? For some, going home to clear your head and pig out is very relaxing. Those students can come back to school with a fresh state of mind and start studying more effectively. If you stay and work you’ll be less stressed due to your increased income. It’s up to you. Can you hang on until winter break?


Remember, if you all enjoyed this edition of Highlanders Anonymous and something is bugging you, submit a question!

Take out the trash!

If you’re a student at Radford it’s likely you have a roommate. Maybe you two get along, maybe you hate each other’s guts. You might feel like you’re in hell or maybe you’ll have a friendship better than you had with your imaginary friend Bob back in Kindergarten. Whatever the case you’re going to be living with somebody and you’ll have to appeal to their needs as well as yours. After all everyone has their own weird quirks. I, for example, can’t stand the smell of seafood and have to Febreeze the kitchen like I’m trying to hide the smell of a dead body. Nobody appreciates that, but people just have to learn to live with it. They deal with my issues and I deal with theirs, that’s when we have an ideal roommate relationship. Ideally, everyone would do their own dishes and pick up their own trash. Maybe you shouldn’t get loud and drunk every Tuesday night because you know someone you live with has an 8 am class the next day. We’d live happily ever after, only without the handsome prince.

“Well for starters I’ll tell you what not to do. Don’t lock yourself in your room and avoid these problems. They aren’t going to get better.” Photo of: Dylan Butler. Photo by: Danielle Johnson.
“Well for starters I’ll tell you what not to do. Don’t lock yourself in your room and avoid these problems. They aren’t going to get better.” Photo of: Dylan Butler. Photo by: Danielle Johnson.

What do you do if nobody is willing to cooperate? Maybe they consider cooperation to be “communist” or maybe they just plain don’t want to help with anything?What if you really want to make that fairy tale ending happen?

Well for starters I’ll tell you what not to do. Don’t lock yourself in your room and avoid these problems. They aren’t going to get better. For example, if your roommate never does the dishes and your solution is just to ignore it, the dishes are just going to keep piling up and your problems are never going to be fixed. Ignoring something doesn’t make it go away. Also don’t try the passive aggressive approach, writing “take out the trash” on a piece of paper and hanging it on the fridge is just going to piss people off. Soon the lot of you will be at each other’s throats like an old married couple.

The solution is really simple; just talk to your roommates. If someone is on the TV when you wanted to watch Joel Osteen you probably should’ve told someone you wanted to watch it in advance and reserve the TV for yourself. You should also consider the fact that nobody you live with likely appreciates you blasting Joel Osteen in the living room. But you never know unless you talk about your issues with those you live with. Because when it comes down to it, you’re living with these people. You have to fix issues you have with each other together.

Things aren’t always perfect, and living with the same people and seeing them every day might eventually get to you. Now and then, you should just get out of the house. Maybe hang out with a friend somewhere else, or go out of town. But staying cooped up at home all day is going to inevitably get to you. You have to confront your problems at some point. So if you have a problem with your roommates, have a talk with them. Otherwise, things won’t change.


Some nice friggin’ advice

Is there a problem eating away at you? Well, step right up and get a hot slice of advice pie from beauty guru and vlogger jpmetz on her YouTube channel, “theadviceannex.” Justine (AKA: jpmetz) states: “The Advice Annex answers questions from teens and young adults all over the world, using my own life experience and humor.”

Through her wildly funny big sister persona, this YouTube star seats herself in her bedroom littered with laundry and casually listens to calls and reads emails from her fans asking for her counsel. The questions range from college roommate fights and bad breakups to coping with anxiety and depression to struggles with sexuality.

Even if you have trouble sharing, you can always tune in to her videos and just listen. They provide inspiring, humorous, relatable, and genuine advice. Justine also includes a disclaimer in many of her videos, letting others know that she is in no way a professional and, on occasion, direct individuals toward counseling for more serious problems relating to addiction, self-harm, etc.

“The questions range from college roommate fights and bad breakups to coping with anxiety and depression to struggles with sexuality.”

Although, these videos are currently available on YouTube, the channel has been on a hiatus for about eleven months. Therefore, I don’t recommend sending her any questions right now, since some matters you’d like feedback on are time-sensitive. However, there are eighty-six episodes full of material to listen to and you can follow her vlogs on any one of her other three channels: kickinggeese, JPMETZhasMS, and jpmetz.

Justine is twenty or thirty-something and a native New Jersey living. Her unique YouTube personality and passion has lead her to have over 200,000 subscribers and 18 million video views. Not only does did she host the advice annex, but also makes a living off of her uploads. Her content ranges from tutorials, rants, and vlogs, which she is still constantly updating.

If you’d like some advice from your local RU students, follow this link to submit your questions and have them answered through Highlanders Anonymous.

Highlander’s Anonymous: The end of friendships and semesters

“My friend and I have been close for about four years now and unfortunately things are starting to go downhill. We don’t go to parties together anymore or go to lunch or anything. It’s almost as if we’re strangers now. I want to go back to where we were but I feel like it might be too far-gone to salvage. Should I try to approach the situation or just let things fix itself?” Continue reading Highlander’s Anonymous: The end of friendships and semesters

Gift ideas for the average college student

Winter is almost officially here, and with it will come the holiday craziness. After spending weeks studying for finals and writing papers, now is the time to show your appreciation for the friends who have been there through it all. More often than not, money is tight and you may feel you can’t afford gifts for everyone this year. For all of you out there who have repeatedly used the framed picture idea, here are some new money savvy ideas. Included in this article are a few good gifts that you may or may not have considered. Continue reading Gift ideas for the average college student