Tag Archives: bathrooms

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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It’s the obscure things

Ten items you didn’t think to bring to your first-year residence hall room

There are millions of “Dorm Room Checklists” published by home supply stores and University departments, but there are several obscure items left off of these lists. After moving in and realizing what I needed, these are ten of the most useful items I found worthy of a late night Target trip.

Photo of student using a screwdriver to change clock batteries.
A screwdriver comes in handy for things like changing the clock batteries.
  1. Dish rack – The first time that I washed my dishes, I balanced them (along with dish soap, a towel, and my room key) in my arms while walking to and from the kitchen on my floor. It’s much easier collect dirty dishes in a container to carry to the kitchen, wash along with plastic ware, and carry back to the room.
  2. Screwdriver – Not that I’ve performed any major reconstructive work, but a screwdriver has been worthwhile to change batteries or open a jar of queso dip.
  3. Ice tray – Since our mini-fridge doesn’t have an icemaker and there’s not one on our floor, my roommate and I bought two ice trays that we keep in the freezer and refill as needed. It’s convenient to have ice for my daily cup of iced coffee, to put in my water bottle, or to cool off a room-temperature soda. Continue reading It’s the obscure things

A day in the life

A typical day in a residence hall at UNC

by Katie Jansen, guest blogger

When I was an incoming first year, I spent a lot of time researching, trying to find answers to my questions. While the Housing website was great and showed pictures and floor plans of the residence halls, I wanted to know what it would feel like to actually live on campus. What would life be like when I wasn’t living at home anymore? I decided to share my experiences in hopes that an incoming first-year could have some of his or her questions answered.

MORNING

Me hitting the books during the afternoon.

It’s 6:30 a.m. in Joyner on a dreaded Tuesday and I’m groping for my insistent alarm clock in the dark. After freshman year, I promised myself I wouldn’t take any more 8 a.m.s, but it was a promise my schedule wouldn’t let me keep. I roll out of my bed (last year I had it lofted, but soon found out my coordination isn’t always up to par when I’m still groggy) and find my shower caddy. My roommate, Kathleen, is still asleep, so I tiptoe out into the blinding light of the hallway and shut the door quietly behind me.

The bathroom, which I remember worrying about before I came into college, is now the most normal thing in the world to me. I don’t even notice the shower shoes on my feet, and I actually find it feels strange to shower barefoot when I visit home. Sharing a bathroom isn’t a problem; there are two bathrooms on my hall, which adds up to four toilets and eight showers. I shower, brush my teeth, and head back to my room.

Continue reading A day in the life

Sharing a Bathroom

Sharing is caring

No matter where you live on campus during your first year at Carolina, you will have to share your bathroom. It’s just gonna happen. And – to be completely honest – it’s not even that difficult.

So many incoming first-years that I have talked to or hear about fear sharing bathrooms. Well, ok, incoming first-year females mostly. Guys, I guess you don’t tend to spend as much time in the bathroom. I hope that this message will assuage your anxiety and worries.

Sharing a bathroom won’t be the end of the world. For the most part, you won’t even think too much about it. Yes, you will have to wait to take a shower at least once during the year. Yes, you might have to share a sink to brush your teeth. But that won’t happen all the time.

Continue reading Sharing a Bathroom