Tag Archives: adjusting

Why Having a Roommate is the Best Thing Ever!

Before college, many people never experienced sharing a room with anyone. Even if they did, it was probably a sibling that they felt close enough to yell at or kick out when they needed their own space. So sharing a room with a peer can seem terrifying. But I promise, it doesn’t have to be! You’ve heard all the horror stories of roommates that didn’t get a long, so let’s talk about all the ways that living with a roommate rocks.

You’re never completely alone. 

As much as we all love and need our alone time, too much time spent by yourself can get very lonely, very fast. Odds are that you and your roommate’s schedules won’t perfectly match, and you’ll both have a fair amount of time with the room to yourself.

At the same time, having someone to keep you company when you need can go a long way. It eases the homesickness and all the other struggles of college when there is someone else in the room. Even if you aren’t talking the whole time, just knowing they’re there for you and you aren’t alone is incredibly soothing.

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They understand what you’re going through.

No matter how different your class schedules or backgrounds are, you are both going through the same stage of life – adjusting to college. And no one ever said this stage was easy. Just having someone to talk to and relate to makes you feel a lot less isolated when things get rough.

For every bad exam grade or long night studying, there’s another student who feels your pain, and when it happens to be your roomie, that makes everything that much better.

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They can help you with all your little struggles.

Key got stuck in the door? Scary bug eyeing you from the corner of the room? Locked yourself out? Can’t reach the top shelf? Wind making scary noises? Seriously, what would we do without roomies to come to our rescue???

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You always have someone to binge watch shows with.  

Because watching The Bachelor is so much better with someone to laugh at all the dorky contestants with. Sometimes you just need a break from studying and a good TV show with an eager roommate can be the perfect cure.

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And drag along on other crazy adventures.

What would college be without crazy adventures? From Insomnia Cookies at times where you definitely should be sleeping to exploring Carolina’s best kept secrets – memories much more fun when you have someone to make them with.

Plus, a roommate is much less likely to say no than a text to a random friend. I mean, how could they say no to your face when you have such convincing arguments that this adventure has to happen right now??

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It’s never just you two.

When you’ve had enough of your roommate, the beauty of residence halls is there are so many options of people to hang out with. Whether it’s suitemates or hallmates, you’re sure to find someone else in your building you click with when you need a little escape.

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As much as you may think you’ll hate sharing a room with someone, this is such an essential part of university life. A roommate is that person that doesn’t have to be your best friend but will always be there for you no matter what. And the first weekend they leave you alone, I promise you’ll be begging them to come home soon!

They See Me Rollin’

As we know, UNC is a rather large campus that at time feels like a whole other world. Sometimes that walk from class back to the southern part of campus can be brutal, especially in that summer heat. Jeez.   However, to avoid overheating and the endless sweating, why not hop on a bike?  Riding bikes is one of the most efficient ways to get around campus, as their are many benefits and advantages that you may or may not be aware of.

 

Why Hike, When You Can Bike?

Biking around campus has so many conveniences. Not only can you get to your destination quicker by cutting your walking distance in half but you’re also getting in a pretty rigorous workout, cause those hills are NO joke. On the other hand, beat the heat as you enjoy the nice breeze when you’re zoomin past the Bell Tower or down Skipper Bowles Drive. The other great thing is that UNC accommodates for bike riders, as you can find bike rails near every residence hall, class building and parking lots. Therefore you’ll never have to worry about finding places to put your bike as you got about your day. On that note, be sure to always lock your bikes to keep it extra safe!

 

When In Doubt, Pedal It Out!

There are many resources available for avid bikers and even those who are yet to be familiar with bike riding. For cyclists, MOVEUNC dedicates a month to celebrate cycling, as they provide many beneficial services for students. Bike riders can receive free swag like seat pads, locks, bells and many more useful items along with bike checks and registration! Also, some other great benefits can be found while using the UNC Maps website or app, as they have created a section specifically for bikers. This sections includes very useful information such as routes, bike amenities, bike rail locations and more! UNC Maps also provides routes explicitly for riders to find paths suitable for biking to their destination. In addition, UNC Maps includes amenities that could be useful and/or necessary such as air pumps, fix it stations, bike hubs, etc. Therefore, you can feel confident that if you ever need an extra hand, UNC has your back!

 

But Wait, There’s More… 

If you haven’t noticed lately, there are blue Tar Heel bikes all over campus that are just waiting to be utilized and you should definitely give them a try! Through the UNC Bike Share program, students are able to rent a bike at their convenience.  Well, first and foremost it is free to students and also very simple to set up. However, before you eagerly hop on a bike, you need to register for an account then you must reserve a bike. After so, you may ride until your heart desires (well technically you get an hour a day for free, but if you so chose to ride for longer you will be charged accordingly). Make sure to check the website for more information! Once you’ve gone on your ride, return the bike to any of the bike stations then feel free to repeat! As mentioned before, students are provided with an hour each day to ride for free, so definitely take advantage of this resources whether you need to make a quick trip or want to enjoy a nice bike ride during the sunset.

 

And Here Comes The Bad Part….

Well in all honesty, there aren’t many inconveniences that come with riding you bike… Well maybe besides falling, so please ride cautiously! Nonetheless, you may find difficulty biking during midday, as there tends to be a lot of foot traffic while students head to lunch or their next class. Also, unexpected construction might be in your way but besides that biking is a great form of transportation around campus! Just remember no texting while biking and be sure to keep safe as you rush to your next class or take a scenic adventure around campus!

 

The Suite Life: My Experience in a Shared Living Space

Living on campus is a key part of the authentic college experience. A lot of incoming first-years might be excited for the new adventure, but less excited about sharing a living space (and a bathroom).

As a weathered old first-year, I can tell you that I was in the same exact boat. But after a year of living in an eight-person suite, I realized there wasn’t much to worry about. Here’s what I learned:

ROOMMATES

Maybe you’re used to sharing a room with a sibling. Maybe you grew up with a room all to yourself. Whatever your past experience, living with a roommate is probably going to take a little getting used to.

Having a roommate is a little different than sharing a room with a sibling. For one thing, both of you probably won’t be related. Also, the room that you’re sharing isn’t just a bedroom – it’s where you live. That means everything you own and everything your roommate owns will be in the same space. So that means you need to be able to communicate what spaces and items are shared, and what you want to stay separate.

Another good thing about having a roommate is that you probably don’t have to buy all of the appliances and furniture you want to be in your dorm! I found it pretty convenient that I didn’t have to buy a microwave since my roommate already had one.

Something I was concerned about before moving in was having a different sleeping schedule than my roommate. Both of you probably won’t be going to sleep at the same exact minute of the same exact hour – how do you deal with that? Lamps, earplugs, sleep masks, and communication. Just let each other know if you’re going to sleep super early or super late. It only takes a few seconds to ask about things like turning off the lights and turning down any music and other things like that. If you’re a particularly light sleeper, earplugs and sleep masks would be a good investment. Also, you could talk to your potential roommate before even moving in and ask about what time they usually go to sleep.

Something else to keep in mind: Just because you live with this person doesn’t mean you have to be with them 24/7. If you tend to be introverted or you just like to have some time to yourself, the thought of living with another person might make you want to rethink the whole dorm thing. But as an awkward introvert myself, I think I have the authority to tell you that a roommate does not equal a life partner (Unless you want that, I guess. Up to you).

 

SUITEMATES

Suitemates are a step removed from roommates. You don’t share a room with them, but you do live in pretty close proximity to them.

Experiences with suite mates are pretty varied, as they are with roommates. I know people whose closest friends are their suitemates, and I know people who don’t even know their suitemates’ names. Personally, my suitemate group is pretty close with each other. While you can choose whether or not to talk to the other people in your suite, I would recommend hanging out with them whenever you can. I mean, it’s a built-in friend group – you don’t have to try too hard to get to know them.

BATHROOMS

Ah yes, the dreaded shared bathroom. Turns out, there’s not much to dread.

If you live in an eight-person suite, someone comes in and cleans the bathroom for you a few times every week. If you live in a four-person suite like in Koury, you’ll have to clean it yourself. I lived in HoJo, so the bathrooms were cleaned for us. If you live in a four-person suite, I would recommend organizing some kind of cleaning schedule with your suitemates so that the work is divided up fairly.

Sharing a bathroom with seven other people might sound scary, but surprise: it’s not. At least in my experience, and from what I’ve heard from other people, the bathroom situation isn’t as much of a hassle as I thought it would be. Everyone has different schedules, and everyone gets up at different times, so the bathroom is usually accessible whenever you need to use it. In all my time here, I never had to fight over who got to use the bathroom first, because the bathroom was always open.

Another thing: the bathroom does lock. If you’re coming out of the shower or just want some privacy, you don’t need to worry about someone bursting into the bathroom.

To wrap it up:

My experience living in a shared space wasn’t the nightmare I thought it would be. Visions of feuding roommates and duels over who got to take the next shower were replaced with new friends and sweet, sweet independence. Living on campus turned out to be the best way to start off my time at UNC.

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Did I miss anything? Want to know more? Leave a comment or message @unchousing on any social media platform! You can also shoot us an email or give us a call!

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The Coolest Room Ever

It’s time to release your inner HGTV

The dog days of summer can often leave you longing for school to start. You may find yourself thinking about a time when there were things to do and people to do things with. Whenever I find myself in these moods, I like to anticipate the start of the next school year by looking at possible rooms themes for next semester. Weird, I know, but everyone has different ways of coping.

UNC Housing has a Pinterest with a variety of different boards you can look through if you are thinking about turning your room into your own cozy nook. Here are a few of my favorite themes from the Pinterest:

Movie Magic

I like to think of myself as a movie fanatic, so I actually may try this theme next semester. Exchange your tapestry for a screen, and you have yourself a home theater!  Plus, life is so much better when you feel like you’re the protagonist of your own film.

Music 

This theme is for those of you who have to live with background music at all times. Cover the wall with all of your favorite albums and records, and surely you’ll find other people with the same music taste.

Boho Chic

This theme doesn’t take much effort at all. In fact, effortlessness is a part of the look! This theme is pretty simple and thrives on fairy lights, earth tones, and tapestries. With this theme you can finally live out your dreams of being the young vagabond artist you’ve always wanted to be.

Adventure Is Out There!

The use of Washi Tape in this picture is pretty ingenious

I love traveling, so I decorated my room with this theme in mind last year. Whenever I felt stuck inside the “college bubble”, this theme reminded me that there was so much beyond Chapel Hill. I had a huge map posted against my wall, and every day I woke up feeling like I could conquer the world. If you’re thinking of investing in a map, my advice is to find one you can read from your bed. You’ll be surprised by how many countries you can memorize by the end of the year!

Remember not to stress over the “look” of your room come August. Your room is definitely a part of living on campus, but it’s more than the decorations that make the residence experience great.

Dear Out of State Students,

Sup! Or as people here like to say.. Hey, how are y’all doing?

So you’ve decided to leave your home state and become a Tar Heel, huh? Whether you’ve crossed an ocean, the whole country, or simply a state border, congratulations! You’ve made it here now, and you’re part of the 18% that aren’t North Carolinian!

While that number may seem smaller than a dook heart (we’re talkin’ very small), it’s more than it seems and more than enough to make you feel at home. If you’re not from the South, one thing you’ll quickly learn about it is its spirit of welcome, manners, and warmth. As you grow a new sense of home here, those features of the South are definitely your friends.

Before the fall, I hadn’t given going out of state any thought, hadn’t even considered the change of Southern culture. After all, I was coming from only two states away! No big deal, right? Well, gonna be honest here, not expecting things to be different resulted in culture shock hitting me like a biology textbook in the face.

Continue reading Dear Out of State Students,

Residence Hall How-To’s: Doing Laundry

You’ve been living in your residence hall for a week or two, and you notice your laundry hamper filling up quickly. Your mom is not around to conveniently wash, dry, fold, and deliver your clothes right to your room, and you only have a few more days before you’ll have to resort to wearing long-sleeved shirts and sweatpants in the middle of August. The time has come—you have to do your first load of laundry. Whether you’ve never done your own laundry before or you’re just unfamiliar with the on-campus machines, save yourself a call home from the laundry room with this how-to guide.

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Washing Your Clothes

1. Load your clothes into the washer, taking note of the machine number.

2. Open the black plastic lid on top of the machine, and pour detergent and fabric softener into the labeled compartments.

3. Walk over to the electronic box on the wall and swipe your OneCard (one wash cycle costs $1). Push the machine number, and keep pressing Enter until you see your remaining balance.

4. Return to the machine, and select a fabric setting. I usually choose Bright Colors for my regular load of laundry and Delicates and Knits for nicer, more fragile shirts. Once you press a button, your wash cycle will begin!

Drying Your Clothes

1. Load your clothes into the dryer, taking note of the machine number, and add a dryer sheet.

2. Swipe your OneCard at the electronic box on the wall (one dry cycle costs $0.50). Push the machine number, and choose how many extra dry cycles you want (one extra is recommended, for a total cost of $1). Keep pressing Enter until you see your remaining balance.

3. Return to the machine, and select a fabric setting. I pick Whites and Brights for my regular load of laundry, hanging my more delicate shirts to dry in my room. Once you press a button, your dry cycle will start!

Other Tips and Tricks

1. One wash cycle takes between 35 to 40 minutes to complete, while two dry cycles takes an hour. The laundry rooms can get busy, so take out your clothes on time—or somebody may take them out for you!

2. On the flip side, if you’ve been waiting by a completed washing machine for more than 10 minutes, it’s okay to take the clothes out. Some residents will just place them on top of the machine, but it’s nice to be polite and put them in a dryer.

3. Nothing’s worse than trekking down from the 10th floor of Hinton James only to find that all the laundry machines are full! The OneCard CaroLaundry website shows you which machines are available in each residence hall and allows you to set up email or text notifications when your laundry cycle is done.

Don’t let doing laundry for the first time intimidate you—once you know how the machines work, washing and drying your clothes is a piece of cake!

Weekends on Campus: What to Do?

The countdown to move-in has begun, and you’re busy shopping for supplies, texting your roommate, and signing up for classes. However, what happens after you’ve settled in? As a first-year student (or even a returning one), weekends are the prime time to explore, meet new people, and really make UNC feel like home. When Friday arrives, stick around and try one of these 5 activities right on campus!

Hundreds of residents attended the RHA Silent Disco.
Hundreds of residents attended the RHA Silent Disco.

1. See a movie at the Union: Going to the movie theater on a regular basis is expensive (even with that handy student discount) and nearly impossible without your own transportation. Luckily, you don’t need cash or a car to see a film with your friends! Almost every Friday and Saturday night, the Union shows movies in the auditorium, free with your OneCard. The best part? Most of the films are new releases that just left theaters—last semester, the selection included Mockingjay, Gone Girl, Big Hero 6, and Interstellar.

2. Attend a Residence Hall Association (RHA) program: RHA provides fun, unique events for on-campus residents, from laser tag to a Silent Disco. (Picture a dance where everybody is listening to music on headphones!) Your residence hall’s Community Government, as part of RHA, will also host occasional weekend programs like cookouts or carnivals. Don’t get stuck eating Easy Mac in your room on a Friday evening—follow RHA and your community on social media to stay informed on upcoming events. Most of them offer some kind of free food!

The student section at football games is usually packed!
The student section at football games is usually packed!

3. Cheer on the Tar Heels at a game: Whether you just wear a UNC T-shirt or paint yourself Carolina blue from head-to-toe, watching the Tar Heels play is always exciting. Most Saturdays in the fall semester are football game days, and in the spring semester, basketball. However, I’ve also seen volleyball, soccer, and field hockey—less popular sporting events are usually still packed with students and often give out free T-shirts! Sign up for the Carolina Fever email listserv to learn which teams are playing each week. Attending games earns you Fever points, which can win you prizes ranging from water bottles to coveted basketball tickets.

4. Check out Campus Rec: Work out, try a group fitness class like cycle or yoga, swim laps at the indoor pool, play pick-up basketball—Campus Rec has something for everyone. My first year, my roommate and I were bored one Sunday afternoon and decided to visit the racquetball courts. We ended up just hitting the ball around more than actually playing by the rules, but it was definitely a fun stress reliever.

Staying in with friends can sometimes be the most fun of all.
Staying in with friends can sometimes be the most fun of all.

5. Hang out in your residence hall: When you’ve had a long week or the weather is bad, your own residence hall offers plenty to do—you can check out cookware, board games, DVDs, and more from the community office. Sometimes, the best memories are made by rounding up a group of friends and spending the evening inside baking cupcakes, laughing over Cards Against Humanity, or having a ping-pong tournament. In fact, one of my favorite moments this year was playing Just Dance on the game room Xbox with my friends on a snowy night.

When Friday comes around, you may be tempted to head home, but staying on campus those first few weekends is vital to making friends and becoming a part of the Carolina community. So, stick around and try one of these fun activities. You’ll soon look forward to spending weekends at UNC—there’s always something to do!

Top 10 First-Year Flings

A bucket list for your first year at Carolina

Students at an icecream social in Upper Quad community.
Upper Quad residents enjoy ice cream at a community program.

Everyone has their own Carolina experience. Of course it will involve studying and going to class, along with going to the dining hall and sharing a shower with your suitemates. Some get really involved in the Campus Y, some join sororities/fraternities, some volunteer, some become community governors and some play every intramural sport out there – even inner tube water polo.

But there are some things that would be a shame to miss in your first year being a Tar Heel.

Continue reading Top 10 First-Year Flings

Friends, Food and Funnies

New to UNC? Get a glimpse of Carolina’s campus culture

UNC Class of 2017
The UNC Class of 2017 Facebook page is a great way to start talking with other first-year students. (Source: UNC Class of 2017)

UNC Class of 2017: This Facebook page is a perfect way for incoming first-years to meet other students and start talking about classes, orientation, roommates and more. I still use the one for my year, Class of 2014, to find stuff like cheap textbooks. It can definitely come in handy.

Carolina Advice tumblr: This is another great resource for incoming first-year students. Submit any question you have about life at UNC, and one of three current first-years will respond. What makes this page so great is that because all of the writers come from different backgrounds and have different interests, most of the answers come from their own personal experiences. Don’t be afraid to ask whatever’s on your mind – it’s completely anonymous! The page also posts lots of other great information, like news and events happening in the Carolina community.

Continue reading Friends, Food and Funnies

Roommate Series Part III: Going Global

Peter, left, really enjoyed his time here at UNC. But me and roommates enjoyed living with him just as much.
Peter, left, our Danish visiting student roommate, really enjoyed his time here at UNC. But my roommates and I enjoyed living with him just as much.

Living with an international student

After two years of living with Daniel and then Walt, last summer I was presented with perhaps the wildest roommate assignment one can get: an international student.

While Walt was studying abroad in Italy for the semester, my other two roommates and I in Ram Village were assigned to live with a visiting Danish student, Peter.

We were unsure what to think about living with a Dane. We had heard very few great stories about living with international students, but we also hadn’t heard any bad ones. This was what made our assignment so strange – we really didn’t know what to expect.

Continue reading Roommate Series Part III: Going Global