Tag Archives: nervous

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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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

Admitted Student Receptions

Were you just admitted to UNC?

Do you have questions about Housing or UNC in general? Housing staff will be traveling to area cities for the Admitted Student Receptions:

  • Wilmington – April 10 at 7 p.m., Hilton Wilmington Riverside
  • Fayetteville – April 11 at 7 p.m., Hilton Doubletree
  • Charlotte – April 15 at 7 p.m., Hilton Charlotte University Place
  • Greenville – April 16 at 7 p.m., Hilton Greenville
  • Triangle – April 17 at 7 p.m., Sheraton Imperial Hotel in RTP
  • Triad – April 18 at 7 p.m., Sheraton Greensboro Hotel at Four Seasons

There will be a program at the reception where current students and professors will speak about their experiences at Carolina.  After the program, there will be a Q&A session with many campus organizations. You can also meet fellow students who live in your area who are also attending Carolina. Maybe you’ll find your roommate or future best friend.

Top 10 Things that Won’t Change

Exciting changes are ahead, but some things will remain the same

By Megan Carroll and Simon Suber

Starting a new year at school and being away from home can be scary.  You always hear about the many changes that you’ll go through during this transition.  However, there are a several things that you can look forward to staying the same.

You must balance study and free time. You are at college to learn after all.

1. School is still school.  You will be sticking to the basics: going to class, taking notes, studying, and taking exams.  The material you learn may be different, but the concept is still the same.  Keep your wits about you and create a good mix of general education courses, first-year seminars, and courses that interest you for your first couple of semesters.

2. You still need basic school supplies. Notebooks, binders, loose-leaf paper, pencils, pens, etc., are all a good idea to bring. College provides you with great new material to learn, but you still have to write it down. Learn the best way to take notes for yourself, and then make sure you have the materials that will help you succeed.

Continue reading Top 10 Things that Won’t Change

Advice from an out-of-state transfer student

One transfer student’s positive Housing experience

Vicky (second from right) made great friends through her sorority.

I met my friend Vicky through my Living-Learning Community. My hall was very close and we quickly became friends. I soon learned that she was a transfer from Boston College, but she seemed to be having a great time at UNC. I asked her a few questions about being an out-of-state student (from Florida) and being a transfer.

M: Why did you choose UNC?

V: I chose UNC because of its high academic ranking and its great value as a public university. Additionally, UNC’s location in the heart of Chapel Hill, North Carolina and the wonderful weather sold me on this university.

Continue reading Advice from an out-of-state transfer student

Tips for getting involved as an out-of-state student

A student found his niche through kick-off program

Hunter (middle) has made some of his best friends at Carolina.

Even though we already have a post from one out-of-state student, I noticed that our blog was missing posts from the male perspective. One of my friends, Hunter, a junior from Georgia has fallen in love with Carolina and has agreed to share his story with us.

M: Why did you choose UNC?

H: Once I sent my applications to colleges, I knew that I would decide my college fate by April 28th, my birthday. April 1st came around and I received the large envelopes, the small envelopes, the acceptances, the rejections, and the joy of getting into my some of top picks. I narrowed down my search to three schools, all of which had their merits, but were each distinctively different.

Continue reading Tips for getting involved as an out-of-state student

Out-of-state perspective

Tips and stories from an out-of-state student

Nora (left) is one of my closest friends at UNC.

While trying to decide what my next post would be about, I noticed that we had something missing. No one had ever talked about the experience of an out-of-state student. Since all of the bloggers are from North Carolina, I decided to talk to some of my friends who are out-of-state to learn about their experiences. One friend, Nora, a junior from Virginia, has had a great experience in her time at Carolina. She agreed to share her experiences with me, so other out-of-state students may be encouraged to come to school here as well:

M: Why did you choose UNC?

N:  I am fourth-generation. My dad, my grandfather and my great grand-father all went to school here. I grew up a Tar Heel, basically came out of the womb waving a “Go Heels” flag. My first four Halloween costumes were a Tar Heel cheerleader uniform. I was ready to go here from the very beginning. Also, it has a FANTASTIC reputation, a great POLI department, wonderful sports programs, so many extracurriculars, amazing people, a great Greek life, a beautiful college town, and basically anything else you could ever want [in] a University.

Continue reading Out-of-state perspective

Will you be my exit buddy?

Living with a high school friend your first year at Carolina

We’ve all heard the story before: High school senior applies to college. High school senior’s best friend applies to same college. Both get in, and they decide to room together. By December, their friendship and sanity are ruined.

But that story didn’t come true for me.

Every year, half of Carolina students have “random” roommates. Many students have a positive experience. I can attest to this—as a sophomore, I’ve enjoyed getting to know the sweet girl I was randomly placed with this year. However, the myth that high school friends can’t be successful roommates is just that: a myth. As a first-year, I lived in Hinton James with Elissa, a girl I have known since elementary school. It turned out to be an excellent decision.

Continue reading Will you be my exit buddy?

10 months, 10 ways to get involved

A month-by-month montage of why residence life is rad

by Katie Jansen, guest blogger

Ever wondered what a year living in a residence hall at Carolina is like? There’s something special about each and every one of the ten months you’re living at Carolina, and the fun you’ll have makes a year at Carolina pass by so quickly!

AUGUST: EXTREME ROOM MAKEOVER 

My lyric poster is one of my favorite decorations in my room.

Move-in day is always really exciting. You’re getting your keys, checking out your new digs, meeting (or reuniting with) your roommate, and moving in boxes upon boxes of important stuff while pouring gallons upon gallons of sweat. Then you’re deciding who gets which bed, whether you want to bunk or loft or leave the beds down, and how you want to arrange your room (the possibilities are nearly endless!) Eventually comes the decorating (my favorite part!) Make sure to bring lots of photos, posters, decor—anything to make your room feel like the home it’s going to be. Some cute ideas I’ve seen:

~stringing photos along a clothesline and taping it to the wall (make sure you don’t use tape that will peel the paint off!)
~making a collage of photos all over the wall (layering and crossing the photos as different angles looks best!)
~putting up cool posters, or making your own! (I made one using a collage of my favorite song lyrics.)
~using cool light fixtures (Just make sure they’re Housing approved! My roommate and I have paper lanterns strung along both sides of our room.)

After this flurry of activity, your room is home sweet home. Then there’s going down the hall or around the suite to meet your neighbors, and usually your RA tries to swing by to say hi, too. It’s a really fun day that’s a great way to kick off a year at Carolina! Continue reading 10 months, 10 ways to get involved

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