Picking out which college to attend is one of the more traumatizing decisions a high school graduate will face. That is, until you get to choosing your college roommate for the semester. That advanced math class you signed up for, a bit too enthusiastically in retrospect, might seem a bit challenging, but it's nothing compared to how difficult your life can get with a bad roomie. Conversely, with a good roommate, you are much more likely enjoy your overall college experience.
What makes someone a good roommate? How do you spot a bad one? What steps can you take to become a good roommate yourself? To help you find the answer to questions such as these, we have created a practical guide for choosing your colege roommate for the coming semester.
Do a Little Research Online
Your search for the one true college roommate has to start somewhere. While approaching random people on college campus might work for some individuals, you are more likely to find someone that fits the bill by doing a bit of research online. Most college campuses around the world have associated Facebook groups for exchanging information about accommodation, finding roommates, and getting to know other students. Start by browsing existing college roommate offers – even if you don't immediately find someone you like, you will at least get a sense of what you can expect going forward. You can then post an offer of your own, and see if anyone is interested. If there are takers, you can then take a glance at their Facebook profiles to see how they present themselves online.
Meet Your Potential Roomie in Person
Once you have found a worthy candidate to share living space with, it is time to get to know each other a little bit better. Start by greeting them online, follow it up with an exchange of contact info, and finally schedule a meeting at a time and place you both find convenient. Meeting your potential college roommate for the first time is like a mixture between an interview, a casual chat, and a bonding ritual. It's purpose is to find out whether the two of you are on the same page on a number of things related to living together. It is important not to get sidetracked in conversations such as these – while it might be fun to talk about your pets for hours, ultimately you are meeting with this person for one specific purpose. If you become roommates in the future, there will be plenty (and I mean plenty) of time to hang out and have long-winded conversations about nothing in particular.
Find Someone That Shares Your Habits and Interests
So what should you look for in a college roommate? The truth is, it really depends on who's asking. Some people are sticklers for hygiene, and won't even consider living with someone that doesn't uphold the same strict standards. Others like to socialize a lot, so they dread the possibility of ending up living with someone they find boring. If we wanted to generalize this dilemma a bit, we could say that in order to find a flatmate, you need to figure out what their habits and interests are, and how well they compliment your own. If you have a habit of staying up all night, you are likely to get along well with a person that does the same. Similarly, if you have a passion for classical music, watching football, or pub-crawling, finding a college roommate that shares your interests will go a long way towards building a friendly, respectful relationship.
Take a Look Into The Mirror
Finding the right college roommate is only one half of the equation – the other one is you yourself. When looking through potential candidates, it is easy to end up focusing only on what you want from a roommate, and disregard the fact that the other person has his own opinions on the subject as well. To address this discrepancy, you need to take a long, hard look at who you are, and what kind of college roommate you would be. Think about your daily habits, the rules you adhere to, and especially about any quirks you have that others might find objectionable. Chances are pretty good that you will aspects of yourself that you dislike, just as you did when screening other people. It is important to be aware of your own shortcomings, as well as of the things that make you appealing as a roommate.
Finding the right college roommate is a process that involves a lot of thinking, trial and error, and most importantly an adjustment of your hopes and expectations. It is something that is hard to sum up in a formula, hence a guide such as this will only get you so far. In the end, you have to trust your instincts, and hope they will lead you to someone you can spend your college years with.
Student life can be so much stressful at times that you can even forget to eat or turn to the fast food solutions and frozen meals. Snacking on processed food full of saturated fats also doesn’t help, while cooking is something you see as difficult and demanding. After a while, you may notice you gain some weight or have a shortness of breath, and even with all the exercise you do, you simply can’t lose the love handles.
The importance of food to our lives is something we do neglect when we have a lot to do and simply don't have the time to add one more thing to our list of duties. However, science thinks we must. Based on the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, the study they published shows a high presence of “food insecurities”. This means that they don’t have access to healthy foods because it costs a lot.
This fact leads to another research performed by the team from Oregon State University and Oregon’s Benton County Health Department. They examined 354 college students from 19 to 24 years of age and based on their findings 59% of them had food insecurities. In students, food insecurities lead to anxiety, anemia, obesity, oral problems and even hospitalization.
However, eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive, but it will require some effort and dedication on your part. If you simplify your diet, you can easily create a meal plan which will suit your budget and time. With that in mind, here are some suggestions to do that.
Say hello to vegetables and fruits
A great thing about vegetables and fruits is that you can prepare foods very easily with them and still get most of the macronutrients, as well as vitamins and minerals. Smoothies are a healthy and simple way to start your day. With so many recipes online, you will certainly find the ones appropriate for your budget.
They can also include vegetables and fruits at the same time, as well as skimmed milk, low-fat Greek yogurt or vegan replacements for dairy products. Vegetables like sweet potato, green beans, and carrots are perfect to prepare in the oven with some olive oil and sea salt. Pumpkin, broccoli, and cauliflower are, also, perfect for soups and puree.
Don’t neglect the protein
Chicken breasts and fish are a great source of protein and other nutritional values. Fish is also important for the omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the cardiovascular system. It's important to know which meats are good and bad for you before you simplify their preparation. Choose the tender cuts instead of the ones with fat since that will save your cholesterol levels and your figure.
Preparing the meat and fish is not hard. The simplest ways are often the best. You can wrap the fish in aluminum foil with olive oil, salt, and lemon and bake in the oven. Steaks are done in 10 minutes, while chicken breasts are tasty when cooked and turned into a salad. Vegans and vegetarians can replace the meat with tofu, mushrooms, lentils, eggplant, potatoes, and cauliflower, to name a few.
Pay attention to the macronutrient ratio
Macronutrients are types of food we consume the most. A body needs these nutrients in order to create energy for everyday functioning, proper development, and healthy life. There are three primary macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat and you decide the percentage of overall intake per meal based on your expectations.
Based on the True Protein blog: “By manipulating our intake of certain foods, we can manipulate the quantities of protein, carbs and fats that we consume to enhance our sporting performance, body composition and active lifestyle.”
For example, if you want to lose weight you will decrease the carbs to 10-30%, and increase protein to 40-50%. For bodybuilding, carbs should be high 40-60%, while fat will be the most decreased to 15-25%. If this is too complicated for you, you can download one of the apps, like My Fitness Pal, for your phone which will help you keep these in check once you calculate the proper ratio.
Crabs are important and instead of excluding them, eat the healthy ones. This means that sweets are out, and oatmeal is in. Whole fruits like apples, bananas and strawberries are an excellent replacement for processed sugar products. Nuts, whole grains, and legumes are also among the healthy carbs. Chia seeds are excellent for pudding and easy breakfast ideas. Moreover, the best thing is that with these good carbs you can easily make something healthy fast.
Use simple recipes
Simplifying your diet also means that the recipes you use don't include too many ingredients and preparation of food. A simple meal of chicken breasts and bunch of veggies prepared in the oven for 30 minutes will be more satisfying than slaving away at the stove for complicated preparations. Also, don’t be afraid to add something of your own to each recipe since that will make cooking more fun and rewarding.
All in all
Don't be afraid to change your dietary habits, since that can have quite a positive effect on your quality of life. Of course, you can eat something not so healthy from time to time, but don't turn it into convenience or habit. A healthy life is important for proper cognitive processes, as well as for mental health and reaching academic accomplishments.
Let’s face it! When being a student, you spend most of your time in your apartment or dorm room whether you like to admit it or not. It’s not just a place where you can sleep and socialize, but most importantly, study as well. Since many experts claim that the student ambience could influence your achievement and academic success, it would be of great importance to start making changes in your environment. No matter how small your apartment or dorm room is, it’s still possible to transform it into modern space incorporated with motivation and productivity.
Don’t neglect the power of colors…
Colors are a powerful tool that can help you to visually expand the space. So, when choosing the right paint for your walls, opt for light and neutral colors such as white or cream. They will make your ceilings appear much higher and room more spacious. You can also achieve this visual effect by hanging vertically striped wallpapers in retro style on a wall or two.
However, colors also have the power to influence your mood, feelings and behavior. Therefore, consider incorporating red, orange or yellow details into your small space in order to make the most of it. Red stimulates our minds and energy, orange evokes warmth, while yellow may increase memory, concentration and motivation. However, excessive amounts of each of these colors can have negative effects, so make sure you don’t overdo it.
…Or the power of light
According to numerous studies, exposure to natural light improves sleep quality, increases physical activity and boosts concentration among office workers. However, students can also benefit from these findings. So, if you want to be alert, refreshed and motivated while studying, make sure you don’t cover your windows with dark and cumbersome window furnishings. Instead, let plenty of natural light into your student place by installing as simple window furnishing as possible.
When it comes to decorative lighting, the cheapest, yet highly modern and popular way to add a touch of chic into your student ambiance is to get some fairy or string lights. You can either hang them above the bed or wrap them around its frame, but anyhow, it’ll turn your dull cubicle into modern apartment/dorm room.
Get rid of all unnecessities
It’s been proven that cluttered environment has a negative impact on our concentration and productivity. It obviously makes people confused and distracted. For this reason, you should stop piling up the stuff that you haven’t used for quite some time. If you lack storage space, you should invest in floor to ceiling cabinets or secure mobile self storage and keep your apartment/dorm room clean and organized.
In order to boost your productivity and get better grades, you should also keep your desk clear from all those piles of paper. The study has shown that every one of us wastes approximately 4.3 hours on weekly basis searching for papers, which certainly leads to stress and frustration. So, the clearer your desk is, the more productive you’d be.
Pay attention to furniture
Small places such as students’ rooms and apartments furnished with bulky furniture can seem cluttered no matter what. And there’s no need to explain again how clutter can influence your achievements. So, stick to the furniture that visually takes less space. Armchairs with exposed legs or coffee tables with glass tops, for example.
Also, with aim to decrease the amount of necessary furniture, make sure to purchase those pieces that can have a double duty. For instance, desk can serve as a dining table, bench can serve as a coffee table, etc.
Embrace the greenery
Incorporating a little bit of greenery into the student ambience is highly recommended for many reasons. You should place a couple of potted plants around your apartment/room and let them clear the air from all the toxins. If you’re lazy, consider plants that don’t require frequent watering.
On the other hand, the studies have revealed that only a couple of green potted plants in the office can increase the attendance and productivity. So, you can’t go wrong with greenery as long as you keep your plants alive.
Add your personality
When you move from your family home, you understandably wish to make your new place more personal and home-like. And this is the part of decoration where you can do whatever you want. For example, it would be nice to exhibit printed photos that remind you of family, friends and experiences.
But, what will undoubtedly increase your motivation is making a board with things that remind you of your past success, such as diploma or competition awards. However, the board should also include things that represent your future goals and keep you concentrated and motivated.
As you can see, only a few simple changes can fill your apartment/dorm room with motivation and productivity. Just don’t be lazy to make them.