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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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Get Eco-Friendly for Earth Day

How to Make Every Day Earth Day

Let’s face it: you have been  too caught up in “finals mode” to realize that it’s Earth Day today! Though you may not have time to celebrate the Earth, hopefully you guys strive to live eco-friendly every day. Here are some tips to get started if you don’t know how:

  • Liven up the room

I truly believe that a living plant in one’s room increases happiness by 200% . I’ve had a plant from IKEA since freshman year and let me tell you, it has made me appreciate the Earth so much more. There’s something cool about having something grow in your own room (not including mold!!!) Making an investment in going green becomes so much better when you can see what you’re saving.

If you stop by one of our pit sits this summer, keep an eye out and you may acquire one of our cool planting kits:

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

You have probably heard the mantra like ten thousand times. However, this elementary motto does make for a pretty good checklist. Have you been reducing your usage of light, water, and waste lately? Do you make an effort to live a sustainable lifestyle? Do you use the blue recycle bin? Ask yourself these simple questions throughout the day, and you’ll be surprised by the answers.

  • Don’t Ditch it. Donate It!

Each spring, Carolina Housing partners with the UNC Office of Waste Reduction & Recycling to make it easy for you to donate your unwanted but still usable items. Through the “Don’t Ditch It, Donate It!” program, UNC has saved nearly 500,000 pounds of unwanted items from entering local landfills.

Find out more information here: Don’t Ditch it. Donate It!

  • Invest in an eco-friendly lifestyle

No, I don’t mean going for a boho-chic look and buying tapestries. When I say investing in an eco-friendly lifestyle, I mean becoming a more informed and aware consumer. Buy reusable items, such as reusable water bottles and dishes, rather than disposable items. Bring a bag with you when you shop for groceries, so that you don’t have to use nasty ol’ plastic.

Even if you’ve never gone green before, it’s never too late to start! Now more than ever, the Earth needs us. Being a college student doesn’t have to stop us from making a difference.

Summer Troubles: Resources for Finding that Summer Internship

And why it’s not the end of the world if you don’t.

There’s a certain culture around college students. Getting good grades is not enough anymore, clubs aren’t enough anymore, we need to work as well! Summers are a great opportunity to put what you learned to the ultimate test – with a summer job! Chemistry and Biology students want to work in a lab, business students want to work for a big company, etc. Unfortunately, unless you’re a junior, finding a summer internship can be pretty tough. Even if you are a junior, it can still be discouraging if you apply as much as you can but you still can’t seem to get a response.  Here are some tips on where to look for a job and also some tips on what to do if a job isn’t for you this summer!

1. Prepare a Resume

Applying for a job becomes significantly easier if you have a resume prepared. It can be helpful to tailor a resume for each job you apply to but having a general one prepared for a quick application is always handy. Plus, changes are easy to make once you have the skeleton all typed out.

Helpful tips: Use strong action verbs for you bullets and include quantifiable results whenever you can! Remember – you don’t need official work experience to have a strong resume. List any extracurricular activities where you have contributed a lot of your time!

Click on this link to see some good examples of resumes for multiple jobs and industries!

2. Update your LinkedIn

LinkedIn is like the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram of the professional world! LinkedIn is a very useful tool for applying to jobs as well as connecting to the vast UNC alumni network. You can often utilize this connection to get more information about a place you want to work. Everyone is willing to help out their fellow Tar Heel! Make sure you have a professional photo and a strong summary. After that, it’s pretty simple to format your LinkedIn like your resume.

3. Create a Profile on Handshake

If you haven’t heard, Handshake is a useful resource provided by the university to help you apply for jobs. Many recruiters will post their open positions on handshake and will accept their applications there. Unlike other job websites like Indeed.com or Glassdoor, Handshake has a higher concentration of jobs available specifically for students. You can find Handshake here.

4. Check Out other Job Sites

That being said, Indeed.com and Glassdoor.com are still incredibly useful tools as well. Check in periodically to find job postings that might look attractive to you!

5. Look for other Summer Options

It’s important to remember that finding is a job is not always feasible for everyone and is not the only option to pursue.

Summer classes are incredibly useful – you can get extra credits to help you graduate on time, early, or even get a second major.

Studying abroad is also a good choice since many employers actually want to see experience abroad. Plus, if you don’t get to travel in college, when will you be able to travel?

Volunteering is like a job, but unpaid. It feels wonderful to give back to the community and is as equally impressive on your resume.

Working on campus over the summer is a good way to get extra experience as well. For example, UNC Housing is hiring summer interns right now! Click here for more info!

 

As you can see, you have plenty of options and your summer isn’t something you should stress out about. The most important thing to remember is that you should never give up! Sometimes it takes apply to 1000 jobs to get that one job – but it’s totally worth it!

Good luck!

A (Semi-Serious) Guide to Registering for Classes

How to get the classes you want without shedding years off of your life.

It might just be the indecisive NC weather, but it seems like we’re approaching the end of the school year! That’s right, only one more month of excruciating Mondays and nights in Davis. If you’re not hit with the nostalgia of senior year, you probably have to register for classes. I created this guide so that you don’t end up doing something like clicking on the wrong button when you’re registration time starts (I may have done this).

Step 1: Check Your Time

Time to pull out your four-leaf clover, because this part is all luck. I heard a rumor that UNC gives you two good times, two bad times, and two okay times, but this still has to be proven. Make sure you know your registration time and plan accordingly! Pro Tip: If you have a 9:00 a.m. registration time, you will probably get into that 300 person class. Just sayin’.

Step 2: Make your schedules!

For me, this is the most fun part of the process (I am saying this as an experienced online shopper). Here, you can at least pretend that you’re considering taking 8ams. In my opinion, Connect Carolina’s schedule planner is the best way to schedule classes. You can access it by clicking Plan -> Shopping Cart -> Schedule Planner (located underneath the search button).

The schedule planner is little hidden!

Step 3: Wait

So you know your registration time, filled your shopping cart up the wazoo, and made realistic schedules for yourself—now what? Well, all you can do is wait… and get ready for the madness that is class registration.

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It’s showtime.

Step 5: OHMYGOSHCLICKCLICKCLICK (AKA REGISTER)

All that time spent hovering over the button has come to this! I would use an online world clock to be sure you aren’t clicking too early or too late. My only advice for this part of the registration process is to click like you’re semester depends on it.

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Step 6: Celebrate!

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You did it!

Congratulations, you are registered for another semester at UNC! If you don’t get the classes you want, don’t freak out. Just keep an eye out for those classes throughout the rest of the semester and summer.

I hope this post helps relieve at least some of the stress you’re feeling. It may sound cliche, but things always work out in the end.

So You’re In…Now What? 5 Steps to Sign Up for Housing

Welcome to UNC! You should be proud! You’ve busted your butt for the past four years proving to us and to everyone else that you’re good enough to be a Tar Heel…now what? Where are you going to live? How are you going to decide where to live? This time is filled with a lot of questions. While we can’t answer all of them, we CAN help you navigate our housing process! Here are 5 steps to take in order to get your housing cleaned up and put away!

1. Pay the UNC Deposit and Officially Become a Tar Heel

You won’t be able to access the application portal until you’ve paid this deposit. After all, we can’t offer UNC Housing to someone who isn’t  a UNC student yet!

Once you’ve paid it, wait a few days for the transaction to go through. After that, the portal is free to access!

2. Find a Roommate

This is a step that is intimidating to some. Going in random is definitely an option and nothing to be afraid of! Some people have found their best friends with the random selector!

Another option is looking to Facebook! Lot’s of people post online in order to find a roommate. Carolina Housing has also recently started a group devoted specifically to people looking for roommates! Click the photo below to go the roommate group!

You’re next option is conveniently available in your application portal! Just fill out your profile! The portal will automatically suggest to you several people it thinks are compatible and will give you a rating from 0% compatible to 99% compatible.

3. Fill Out Your Application

Once you have or haven’t found you roommate, you’re good to fill out an application! Our first-years have a specific set of residence halls they are allowed to be a part of. As a first-year, you don’t choose where you’re living, but instead indicate what your preferences are! Housing will try to assign you to your top three choices! We don’t do it on a first come, first serve basis, so it doesn’t matter when you fill it out as long as you fill it out before our deadline, May 15th! Fill out your application here!

4. Decide If You Want to Be Part of an RLP

RLPs, or Residential Learning Programs, are a great way to be a part of community that is just like you! Whether you’re a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community or you’re passionate about service, there is a place for you! Each RLP has their own designated building. The best part of this deal is that if you get accepted into an RLP, you’re automatically assured a place in that community. For example, even though Morrison Residence Hall isn’t open to first-years, if you’re part of the Sustainability RLP, you’ll get to live there!

5. Time to Wait

Once you’ve completed your application, sit back, relax, and let us do our job! You’ll get your housing assignments early June!

This is just a brief overview of what you can expect as part of the Housing Process. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions on our social media or over email at Housing@unc.edu!

Go Heels!

Healthy Heels are Happy Heels

Hey y’all! I hope you guys have been well. I especially mean it because this flu season has seriously been bad. If you think this flu season has been worse than in years past— you’re right. Apparently, it’s considered to be the “worst” flu season since 2009. Here are 5 tips to keep you healthy this flu season:

  • Get The Flu Shot!

This one is kind of a given. You can get vaccinated at at Campus Health Services, Student Stores Pharmacy (3rd floor of Student Stores) and Campus Health Pharmacy (basement of campus health). You can find more information here. Be sure to get it sooner rather than later, as the vaccine can take up to two weeks before coming into effect.

  • Sleep!

I don’t think college students need help understanding the importance of sleep. But in case you do, sleep is essential in helping the immune system fight disease! Sleep depravation can lead to impairment of the immune system, so make sure you rest up to give the flu a good fight.

  • Eat Healthy!

Having a nutritious diet is essential in making sure that your immune system is in good shape. Eating healthy will not only keep away the flu, but it will keep you alert throughout the day! Foods that are high in vitamin D are especially good in fighting the flu.

  • Exercise (not when you’re sick)!

If you still haven’t kicked your New Year’s resolution into high gear, now is the perfect time to do it. Increased circulation and blood flow throughout the body helps better circulate the immune system as well. However, if you’re already feeling sick, exercising may not be the best idea.

  • Don’t Overdo It!

Being a student at UNC means that the workload is anything but easy. It may feel wrong to “skip” class because you’re not feeling well, but are you going to learn much in between sneezes and coughs? Sometimes, the best decision is to leave your work for another day and get some rest. You’ll be doing yourself— and your classmates— a big favor.

 

These tips may seem a bit elementary, but it can be hard to remember to take care of yourself while you’re on the #grind. Stay healthy, Tar Heels!

How To Host a Friendsgiving

“Thanksgiving is about following tradition; Friendsgiving is about making new ones.”

Hey y’all! Thanksgiving break is coming up soon, and I’m sure you guys are excited to see your family again. It kind of sucks not being able to celebrate Thanksgiving with your friends from college- but fear not! Friendsgiving has been a popular event for people who don’t get to spend the holiday with one another. It’s basically Thanksgiving, except with your friends!

I had my first Friendsgiving with my suitemates last year, and it turned out to be one of the most memorable events of my first year. If you’re interested in establishing your own Friendsgiving, I have some advice to make it great.

Great Friends = Great Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving to Remember!

  • Pick a time and place

Yeah, I know it seems like basic advice. But picking a time and venue where everyone can meet can be difficult. My suite held our Friendsgiving in the Ehringhaus lounge and found it to be the perfect place. I highly recommend looking into your residence hall’s lounge for Friendsgiving (plus- chances are it’s close to the kitchen)!

  • Assign roles

To have a successful Friendsgiving, everyone needs to play a part! Do you have that one friend who bakes cookies for everyone during midterms? Designate that friend as head chef amongst your friends. If you’re not as savvy in the kitchen, don’t worry! You can help out by buying utensils, ingredients, and decorating.

  • Food

You can’t have a proper Friendsgiving without food! Friendsgiving isn’t meant to be as extravagant as Thanksgiving, so don’t worry about breaking your wallet. A turkey is a great homage to tradition, but a chicken makes a fine substitute. Think about investing in foods that will feed a lot of people for low cost. Macaroni and cheese and biscuits are some examples of great foods to invest in.

The Friendsgiving platter is important!

Whether you plan on having a Friendsgiving or not, be sure to take time to be thankful.


Don’t know how you’re getting home for Thanksgiving? Check out this PDF:

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10 Ways to Break Up with your Roommate

All though we all wish that our roommate is going to be our best friend, the best man or maid of honor at our wedding, it doesn’t always turn out like that. Disappointment can happen with anyone – your best friend or a random roommate. Sometimes you just gotta break up with them. Here are ten ways to do that and survive:

1. Text them

You hate confrontation? It’s understandable – no one likes to crush someone’s hopes and dreams. If you wanna be that guy, just send them a quick text.  They’ll probably forgive you.

2. Take them to Lunch

There is no better way to soften the blow of heartbreak than a full belly. Take them out to Buns, get them a good burger, and wait until their mouth is full so they can’t say anything back.

3. Use your RA to Set Up a Meeting

Sometimes you need a mediator. If you don’t mind having another person to listen to the conversation, they could help soften the blow. Who knows? Maybe with the RA there, you can work out your differences and be roomies after all.

4. Send them this Blog Post

‘Nuff said.

5. Tell them they should go to the Roommate Mixer.

Casually send them this video and see what they say.

6. Lie

Tell them you’re moving far far away and can never see them again. You’re OBVIOUSLY  going to miss them but a long distance relationship would never work out.

7. “It’s not you, it’s me!”

This is actually pretty valid. Not every pair is meant to live together. Sometimes the person you’re living with is great, but you just can’t handle the fact they leave your room a mess. Sometimes you just have really specific needs they can’t handle. If you have a weird pet peeve, it’s obviously not their fault, you just need to find someone to satisfy you.

8. Tell them a Joke

“Knock knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Not your roommate!”

Burn.

9.Make them Dump You

Just be so bad that they tell you they want a new roommate.

“Oh really? That’s too bad, but it’s probably for the best.”

10. Be Honest and Real

Okay, numbers 1-9 may or may not be the best ways to break up with your roommate. More than anything, you just need to be honest with them. Remember, they are people too, and you guys have already had a pretty unique experience together. They deserve to be told kindly. Just sit them down one day and tell them exactly why you guys working out. Not to mention, if you’ve been feeling kind of bad about rooming together, chances are, they feel the same way. It’s only awkward if you make it awkward.

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That’s it, folks. Obviously some of these are a little more light-hearted – and that’s just to let you know that this process doesn’t have to be the most stressful thing in the world. Be nice, be respectful, and just do what you gotta do.

On the other hand, if you find yourself on the side of being dumped, really consider coming to the roommate mixer on November 6th on the Great Hall hosted by Carolina Housing. It will be in the style of speed dating where you get a chance to ask someone a lot of questions in a limited amount of time before moving to the next person! It’ll be a really fun, and even if you don’t find your roommate, you’ll definitely find some friends.

Good luck!

The Super Suite Life of UNC Students

Zack and Cody have nothin’ on us.

Like Buns vs. Al’s Burger shack (Buns all the way) we have suite style vs. hall style. While both have their merits and can be debated for a LONG time, we’re not going to do that today. Instead, we’re going to talk about something that’s perhaps a little less known: SUPER SUITES!

What is a Super Suite…and why haven’t I heard of it?

Super suites are exactly what they sound like: SUPER suites. In other words, you take everything that a suite (like in HOJO, Craige, Ehringhaus, etc.) has to offer, then you knock out a wall and make the one room a living room.

So now instead of a traditional 8 person suite, you have a 6 person suite, a living area, and finally  a door to separate the toilet from the sinks!

This is obviously a pretty obvious choice for tight knit friend groups, but why don’t more people know about it? That’s because as far as rooms go, they’re pretty rare. So rare, they’re only found in one residence hall, Morrison. Even more rare, they’re only on the 8th, 9th, and 10th floors. If you get a super suite, you are one lucky duck. You can get extra info on them on the Housing Website!

Will I like living there?

The SUPER question here is, what is it like living there? Will I like it, is it for me? We had a current super suite resident answer some questions for us to help you decide if the super suite life is for you!

Q: Why did you want to live in a super suite?

A: I thought it would be a good transition between living in a traditional dorm and living in an apartment.

Q: You have lived in a super suite for the past 2 months. What is the best thing/your favorite thing about living in a super suite?

A: You can have a private space and still have a more public space where you can chat with people you live with but you’re not obligated to because you still have your own space.

Q: Do you think this makes you a more social person?

A: Yes, I would say. I think this makes me more social than if I was living in a room with just one person.

Q: What is your least favorite thing about living in a super suite?

The bathroom situation. Since no one is cleaning it daily, you have to figure out the situation very early on such as toilet etiquette, shower etiquette, cleaning etiquette etc. Sometimes it can be hard to coordinate that if you’ve never had to worry about it before.

Q: Do you think after living here you would prefer the super suite above anything else?

Yes, I really like it here because it’s so spacious and nice. I lived in Granville last year and I definitely like the supersuite more even though Granville is pretty big also.

What is it going to cost me?

There it is folks! If you’re thinking about cost, super suites are $3,585/student/semester. That’s slightly more expensive than the $3,240/student/semester, (You do get your own little living room after all.)

If for some reason you don’t manage to get a super suite, a good alternative is a Ram Village apartment with double occupancy rooms. You get an extra bathroom per pair, a kitchen, and a living room for less than 200 dollars extra. (In case you were wondering, the rate for that kind of apartment is $3,709/student/semester).

You should always consider all your options before making a decision, but as far as decisions go, this one is a pretty easy one!

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Happy housing folks, and may the odds be every in your favor!

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below!

RA Spotlight: Annabelle Holman

Annabelle Holman

Year: Sophomore

Residence Hall: Winston

Major: Journalism – Public Relations Track

Other Extracurriculars:  The Daily Tar Heel , Crash Campaign, NC Fellows

Why did you decide to be an RA? So actually, I was kind of like a mini RA in high school. I went to NCSSM [North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics]. They had a position called an RLA, so I did that. I just went out on a limb and tried it. So I think that’s definitely what kind of pushed me to do it in college.

What’s your favorite thing about being an RA? My first program is tonight and I like programming but I’m waiting to see how it actually goes. I like the planning aspect of it. Generally, I like getting to know people and making sure I’m doing all that I can to serve them. Interacting with them individually is pretty neat.

Do you have any advice for people applying to be an RA? Typically, people would probably think of an RA as someone who’s outgoing, extroverted, and wanting to reach people all the time. But I am an introverted person and I can say that it’s not one specific personality type that can be an RA.

What has been the most unexpected thing about being an RA?  I guess I would say how easily it came to me. Because going into it, I was like, “I’m introverted! Oh my gosh, I don’t know how I’m going to do this.” But after training and all of the get-to-know-you weeks, I feel like I’ve settled in really easily. That was really surprising. It’s actually like, “I can do this!”

How has being an RA shaped your experience at Carolina? It’s definitely motivated me to be more connected on campus. Last year, I spent a lot of time at [NC] State because I have a lot of friends at State. But being an RA has definitely motivated me to spend the majority of my time at Carolina. I’m actually getting to know my staff, learning how programs work in the community, and motivating other people to do the same.