Whether you find a roommate on Facebook, decide to go “potluck”, or choose to live with a good friend, living with a roommate for the first time can present a few trials and tribulations. Freshman year of college is an exciting time of making friends, taking new classes, and getting involved on campus; roommate woes shouldn’t plague your college experience.
We’ve put together a list of a few questions to keep in mind when discussing living arrangements with your future roommate:
- Are you a night owl or an early riser?
- Do you consider yourself sloppy or organized?
- What room temperature do you think is comfortable?
- Do you watch a lot of TV? When?
- Do you have any allergies?
- Do you like to talk a lot or prefer to keep to yourself?
- Do you plan on drinking alcohol/smoking?*
You might also want to ask potential roommates what activities they enjoy, what kind of music they love, and if they plan on joining any organizations on campus to establish common interests. If both you and your roommate compromise and determine general agreements, someone you thought was just your freshman year roommate could end up being a close friend for years to come. Many colleges and universities have Facebook groups where you can talk with possible roommates, and websites like RoomSurf can connect you with hundreds of new students! It’s likely that you will have the occasional tiff with anyone you live with, but finding a compatible roommie and communicating about important boundaries will ease these quarrels and guarantee a fantastic year for you both!
*Real Life 101 does not condone underage drinking and reminds you to always drink and act responsibly.
Whether you’re thanking family friends for their hospitality at their lake home one weekend, or simply thanking Grandma for a birthday present, writing a thank-you note is an important and polite gesture. Unfortunately, those fill-in-the-blank cards are only appropriate until about age seven, and technological advances have lead us to believe that shooting a quick email will suffice. Writing a genuine thank-you note is still in vogue and much more respectful than a call or email. Follow our easy steps to write a genuine thank-you.
- Send notes in a timely manner. Various occasions have differing guidelines, but the best bet is to send a thank-you card as soon as you have time to sit down and write one.
- Use appropriate stationary. You don’t have to buy any fancy or expensive note cards, but ripping a piece of paper out of your notebook is unacceptable. Simply designed cards are perfect and allow you to set your own tone through wording. We love this simple and sophisticated folded card from Paper Source: http://www.paper-source.com/cgi-bin/paper/item/Iron-Fence-A2-Embossed-Stationery/3902.020/4661007371.html
- Greet the gift-giver. The beginning of your thank you note should be addressed to the individual(s) who signed the card. Elders should be referred to by their formal titles (e.g. Mr. and Mrs. Jones), unless they have previously given you permission to call them otherwise.
- Express your gratitude. Simply thank the individual for his or her gift, and be sure to express this gratitude in the politest way possible. Don’t directly mention money, but rather thank the individual for his or her generosity. You can also give an example of how you plan to use the item or cash to your advantage (again, discretion and overall courtesy is key!).
- Show interest in the individual. Don’t write a novel about your relationship with the individual, but politely mention how great it was to see them recently or how you hope to cross paths soon.
Here’s a quick example of a thank-you note one may send after receiving money for graduation:
Dear Aunt Michelle,
Thank you very much for your generous gift! Your kindness is certainly appreciated, and will surely be a huge help when I purchase a bedspread for my new dorm room. It was fantastic seeing you at Lauren’s birthday party last weekend, and I hope to see you when I am home for Thanksgiving break. I hope things are well; you are in my thoughts! Thanks again for your gift.
Thank-you notes don’t need to be lengthy, but simply show appreciation and thanks for someone’s kindness.
1. One for One. That is Toms’s motto. For every pair of shoes sold they give a pair to a child in need. What could be better than that? Get a little give a little.
1. No one likes walking to class – or anywhere else for that matter – in shoes that get your feet soaked. Hunter boots are a necessity for icky weather. Best of all they will last for years!
2. Queen’s Poppy King created these lipstick shades for Kate Spade New York. They are bold, and most of all, fun.
1. This little gadget boils water in about 30 seconds. This watched pot will boil! It is also energy efficient for your green gift-getter. Got an avid tea-drinker on your list? This is the perfect solution!!
2. Wallpaper City Guides are the best travel guides around. They offer the most up to date information on over 80 cities written by both magazine editors and residents. Whether visiting for 48 hours or 2 weeks, these guides will ensure a trip nothing short of fulfilling.
3. Music, apps, T.V., movies and more. Everyone can use this iTunes gift card!!
With so many schools participating in and completing both men’s and women’s formal recruitment recently, we compiled a list of common Greek terms that are important to understand. Below are some of the vocab words you may hear as a member of a Panehellenic or IFC organization.
Active: A fully initiated member of a fraternity or sorority
Bid: An official invitation to join a Greek organization
Chapter: The formal name of the local organization of a national fraternity or sorority
Fraternity: A Greek organization typically understood as being restricted to men; however, women’s organizations can also be traditionally defined as a fraternity
Minority Greek Council (MGC): Governing body of minority Greek organizations
National Panhellenic Conference (NPC): Governing body of national sororities
Philanthropy: A Greek organization’s specific organization that members donate volunteer hours and the organization often donates money
Pin: Specific badge or symbol worn by a member of a fraternity or sorority
Recruitment: The formal process of engaging PNMs to join a Greek organization
Recruitment Guide (also Rho Gamma, Rho Chi, Greek Councilor, etc): A disaffiliated member of a sorority or fraternity designated to aid PNMs through the recruitment process
Sorority: A Greek organization restricted to women
Those are many of the formal terms you may hear when you’re thinking about going Greek. You may also hear a few of the following terms throughout recruitment:
Dirty Rushing: Refers to the forbidden act of sorority actives promising PNMs a bid, contracting PNMs outside of the allotted time within the house, giving PNMs gifts, or any other prohibited and unethical form of recruiting
Dry Rush: Alcohol is forbidden at all fraternity/sorority recruitment events
House: May refer to the actual structure of a sorority or fraternity. Also an informal name for a sorority or fraternity itself (eg “What house are you a member of?”).
Hotboxing: More than one sorority active speaks to a PNM at one time during recruitment
Pledge: New Member of a fraternity or sorority who has not been initiated into the organization
Pledge Class: Group of individuals that have participated in recruitment, accepted their bids, participated in New Member education and events, and been initiated during the same year
Pledgeship: Designated amount of time between bid acceptance and initiation into the Greek organization
Ranking: The process of a Greek organization selecting members to return to their house during recruitment, and the simultaneous process of a PNM of selecting which houses she would like to return
Rush: Informal name for the formal process of recruiting PNMs to join a Greek organization
Rushee: An individual participating in recruitment (PNM)
Suicide: The act of scoring or ranking only one Greek organization after the preference round of recruitment (if said individual does not receive a bid to the scored organization, the individual does not receive a bid to any Greek organization). This is the outdated way of defining “intentional single preference”.
Of course you remembered your clothes, a desk lamp, (extra-long) sheets, and all the other dorm room essentials that you use every day. However, there are some necessary and easily forgotten items that you should be sure find a place in your dorm to make a comfortable transition from home to campus.
Sleep Essentials: You may be used to your quiet bedroom and hours of luxurious and uninterrupted sleep. Cut to the dorm room, where not only do you share the room with another person, but you share the building with hundreds of other students.
- If your noisy neighbors keep you from getting a restful night of sleep, purchase a sleeping mask and earplugs.
H20 Essentials: I remember chatting with fellow out-of-state student at orientation who asked if I had tasted the tap water in our college town. Confused, I of course went home and tried the tap water…and it tasted like dirt! A water filter can clean any questionable contaminants and tastes out of tap water.
- A Brita filter is inexpensive and can be easily found at Target or Wal-Mart. Pour your filtered water into a reusable water bottle and you can save tons of cash instead of buying water bottles.
Rain Essentials: One item I completely forgot to pack when I went off to college was my favorite pair of rain boots! On that first rainy day I was one of the only students running to class in my flip-flops and t-shirt, drenched head to toe. With few exceptions, no matter where you go to school you’re going to run into a rainy day.
- Be sure to pack rain boots, an umbrella, and a rain jacket to keep dry!
Laundry Essentials: It’s easy to remember detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets. However, if you plan on using the washing machines in the dorms, you’ll need a few rolls of quarters to put those other laundry necessities to use!
While we suggest making some extra room for these items, it’s important to remember that college dorm rooms are very tiny. A few things to leave a home when you’re packing for college:
High School T-shirts: You’ll receive an absurd amount of free t-shirts in college, and your “Class of 2011” senior shirt will end up getting stuffed in the back of your drawer.
- Leave the old t-shirts at home, or send them to a company that specializes in making t-shirt quilts that you can use on your bed.
Extra Pillows: After pledging a sorority, purchasing a koala Pillow Pet I just had to have, and the Peep pillow my grandma insisted on sending to me for Easter, I had trouble finding a place to sleep amongst the unnecessary pillows all over my bed.
- Although adorable, leave the decorative pillows at home; these pillows will end up taking up what little floor space you have left.
Fancy Formals: Sports teams, clubs, sororities, and fraternities often throw date nights and formals.
- However, long Prom dresses aren’t college-appropriate and you’ll be more apt to wear short cocktail dresses to these types of events.