36 Questions To Ask Your New College Roommate(s)

36 Questions To Ask Your New College Roommate(s)

A terrific balance between the fun-types of questions and the most essential getting-to-know-you questions.
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It's that time of year again! Whether you're a returning student, or heading in for your freshman year, you're sure to be feeling a little antsy! College can be a little scary, especially if you have to live with at least one other person in a dorm or suite. You may know this person really well, or you may not know them at all. I've personally been granted the opportunity to be given a random roommate twice now, so I can definitely relate to those new-roommate-jitters! No matter if you're sharing a room with just one another person, or a suite or apartment with a few others, you have to remember to ask them these questions!

1. The Basics

What's your name? Where are you from? What's your major and the like. It's important to get this question out of the way early. So if you have a platform to connect to your roommate(s) before move-in day, make sure that you get this one out of the way.

2. Have you ever lived with anyone before?

Even if they've only shared a room with a sibling, that counts as sharing a room with someone. It's important to ask this so that you are aware of the circumstances that may lie ahead. If your future roomie(s) haven't ever had to share anything before, they may not be used to the fact and some banter could arise. This way, you can be on your guard if sharing is something they'll have to adjust to.

3. What's your schedule like?

Knowing your mates' schedules is important because you'll both be super busy, no doubt, with the school year and knowing when they're going to be studying in the room, or napping is important so that you won't disturb them on purpose. Establishing time windows for these activities is a good idea so that you're not getting on one another's nerves. Obviously it doesn't have to be so organized that you're timing your nap to fit in with their studying time, but make sure to discuss this one.

4. How do you feel about guests?

Will they be having friends over a lot, or will you? Do either of you have a significant other that will sleep over every weekend? How will they tell you if they have someone over? Do they have to clear it with you before having guests over? All of these are valid questions and while many know about the sock on the door, my freshman roommate sure didn't and thought I was totally making it up. Definitely cross this off your mental question list, it's pretty important to be in agreement on this.

5. Are you planning to go home a lot?

My freshman year roommate went home every weekend and also hated naps. Due to the fact that she went home every weekend, I allowed myself to sleep in and nap as much as possible, so that I could get it out of my system for the week. Knowing when they're going home is also good so that you don't wake up questioning where they are or where they went.

6. Are you planning to or are you already involved with clubs/sports on campus?

This is a huge one. If you or your roommate are going to be in and out of the room frequently, leaving early, or returning late, it's important to know just how busy you both are going to be. I found myself extremely involved with theater my first year of college, so I often came in late and my roommate was long asleep. Knowing that was asleep allowed me to prepare to tiptoe around the room and make sure I didn't wake her. Knowing each other's schedules can only help.

7. Do you have a job?

Knowing if they are going to be in and out of the room at random times is important, in case you are randomly locked out of your room and can't find a resident assistant or something like that. This is also important so you can both establish times for quiet hours/lights out, in case the other person may have to be up early the next morning.

8. Are you a morning or night person?

Maybe you like staying up late and sleeping in and maybe your roommate likes waking up at the crack of dawn to blast their music. This is something you have to establish right away, to make sure that you'll be able to compromise, if need be. If you find that you and your future roommate(s) are the opposite, know that there are so many resources on campus that you can utilize to study besides you room. Also know that you'll have to confront your roommate if they wake you up.

9. Where do you fall on the neatness spectrum?

Some people don't like being asked if they are clean or messy, because messy sounds a lot like dirty. I'm not dirty, but I have been known to let things pile up and clutter my side of the room. It's better to ask where they land on the scale or spectrum so you don't offend them and so you're able to get a good idea of what to expect.

10. What are you bringing that you're willing to share?

Now that you've got all the personal questions out of the way, it's time to get down to business. Will they be bringing a printer that they wouldn't mind you using? Or will you have to fight to use the microwave? This question can be a little awkward at first, but is essential if you're going to be living with someone and will break the ice for similar questions to this.

11. Are you willing to pitch in to buy _____?

Maybe you're going to buy a printer after you move in, or perhaps you want to split the cost of a microfridge. Asking if they're willing the share the cost of these things will give you good insight on how considerate they'll be with sharing too.

12. Do you have any allergies?

Besides the obvious snack foods, such as peanut butter, there may be some other allergies at play here. Maybe you really like berry scented air fresheners but your roommate is allergic to berries. In order to avoid issues with scents and smells, this question is pretty important. You can also ask if there's any scents or smells that they totally despise. That way you're not spraying the heck out of your vanilla perfume if vanilla nauseates them.

13. Do you have a car?

If you're a freshman, this may or may not be applicable, depending on who is allowed to have a car on your campus. If you're older, or allowed to have one, this could be helpful to both of you. If you ever needed to go pick something up from the store, or from another place in town, or even if you find yourself stranded somewhere, knowing that your roommate has a car will probably be a blessing.

14. How do you study?

Some people need complete silence to focus. Some people like music. Some people like to verbally read their notes to retain the information. I try not to study in my room too much because I think it's too easy to get distracted, but not everyone feels this way. Getting to know one another's study habits will help both of you succeed in your academics.

15. Do you like the room hot or cold?

If applicable, this is an important one. I am definitely a cold person and luckily my roommate last year was too. Fighting over the thermostat can not only cause some super annoying fights, but can also break the thermostat. Let's try and cut down on the maintenance requests this year, shall we?

16. What are your pet peeves?

Another great question so that you're not stepping on each other's toes. You never know what could annoy someone. My previous roommate sometimes got annoyed that I didn't do laundry more often, something that virtually did not affect her at all. The way to an efficient living situation is communication. This way, both of you know to avoid those pet peeves.

17. Do you drink?

This one and the next questions are completely essential, whether you do or don't. If you have a problem with them drinking, speak up right away so they know not to do it in your presence.

18. Do you smoke?

Again, you have to ask this. I believe vaping counts. If you have a problem with them smoking or vaping, speak up right away so they know not to do it in your presence.

19. How do you feel about parties?

If perhaps you're the type of roommate who likes to throw parties, this could be pretty important. If however, you're looking for a party buddy or expect to be coming in late a whole lot, well, definitely let your roommate know and vice versa.

20. What chores do you not mind doing?

As much as I hate to admit it, cleaning is so important. Even if one of you is dusting and the other is wiping down counters, make sure to establish some sort of cleaning routine. If you've got plants, water them. If you have dishes, clean them. I'm not saying every roommate has to have a chore chart or wheel, but make sure to vacuum, dust, wipe down and sanitize at least once a month.

21. What kind of music do you like?

This could be fun, or for testing purposes. If either of you enjoy playing music aloud, this is to be asked only so you can be considerate of their tastes.

22. What are your favorite foods?

Getting to know your roommate(s) doesn't have to be super strict and awkward! Don't be afraid to get casual with it! Don't be afraid to ask the silly questions.

23. How do you spend your free time?

Maybe you could spend some free time together, depending on their tastes. Bonding experiences are fun experiences!

24. What was your high school experience like?

Heading back to your roots to talk about nostalgia and history can either be really fun or really terrible. Some people didn't have a great high school experience. Be wary of that.

25. What are your future goals?

Asking what they want to do after graduation with their degree can spark a whole new conversation. Dig in!

26. Do you have any pets?

Another fun, happy-go-lucky conversation starter.

27. Tell me about your family?

People love to talk about their families. Prepare to spend at least an hour on this question.

28. Why did you choose this school?

Even if you're a returning student, this could still be applicable.

29. Questions about their side of the room.

Ask them about that friend in that picture, or about the stuffed giraffe on their bed. Ask them about their favorite movies and if they brought any. Ask about the origami shark on their desk. Notice the little things.

30. What's your take on privacy in the room?

If you don't have the room to yourself, it can be easy to forget what is and isn't acceptable. Is it cool to be in the room while they are face-timing or skyping someone? Do they want to be in the room while you do it? What about phone calls? Who should leave? All of these questions relate back to privacy in the room. You or your roommate may be very open and totally fine with the other listening in. Alternatively, maybe someone isn't too fond of you listening to their face-time session. Remember to ask so you can narrow this down.

31. Are any of your friends going to school here?

Knowing that they have friends or will have friends hanging around a lot is a good sign. It means they're amiable. Hopefully the friends aren't crashing on your floor every night though.

32. When are you moving in and what time?

Just so that you can schedule your moving time around theirs if needed. If either of you is already moved in, this is also helpful because you have the option to either help the other roommate move in, or make sure you're nowhere to be found.

33. If something goes wrong, how will you communicate with me?

Some people are extremely passive aggressive. Some people will leave you angry notes. I personally prefer to confront someone and get everything out in the open, so that we can all be honest with one another, but I know that not everyone has this philosophy. Communicating about communication is going to be crucial if this roommate-ship is ever going to work out.

34. Is there anything you want to know about me?

Leave the floor open for questions. Even if it just sparks random conversations, it'll be good to talk.

35. Is there anything else I should know?

Maybe they have something else to mention that doesn't necessarily fit into the questions asked before. Give them a chance to voice this.

36. Are you excited for move-in day?

Keep counting down the days! You'll be in school before you know it!

Cover Image Credit: Charlie Foster

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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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What Even Is Anxiety?

What anxiety really is and why it shouldn't be so stigmatized

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Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, unease, or worry that typically occurs in the absence of an imminent threat. It differs from fear, which is the body's natural response to immediate danger. Anxiety is part of the body's natural reaction to stress, so it can be helpful at times, making you more alert and ready for action.

Anxiety disorders and normal feelings of anxiousness are two different things. When feelings of fear or nervousness become excessive, difficult to control or interfere with daily life, an anxiety disorder may be present. Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental disorders in the United States.

It's common to think about anxiety in a way that may hinder our ability to overcome it. It's something that is unfortunately stigmatized and people think it should be avoided at all costs. Psychiatrists see many patients that are under the impression that anxiety, along with other negative emotions, such as sadness, anger, fear, and discomfort, are all a very normal, universal human experience. Many people first develop symptoms of an anxiety disorder during childhood. Some anxiety disorders, such as specific phobias and social anxiety disorder, are more likely to develop in childhood or teenage years, while others, such as generalized anxiety disorder, are more likely to start in young adulthood.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 3.6 percent of the world's population suffers from anxiety disorders. (1)The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 19 percent of American adults are affected by an anxiety disorder each year (2). A review published in June 2016 in the journal Brain and Behavior of 48 studies noted that anxiety was more prevalent in women, in people under 35, and in those who live in North America or Western European countries (3). The review, conducted by researchers at Cambridge University in England, also found that people with chronic health conditions were more likely to experience anxiety. According to the review, almost 11 percent of people with heart disease in Western countries reported having generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). In addition, 32 percent of those with multiple sclerosis had some kind of anxiety disorder. (3)

Researchers think that genetics, traumatic events, and brain structure may influence whether you develop an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are known to run in families. Stressful events, such as the death of a loved one or childhood abuse, may heighten anxiety significantly. Brain structure, including changes in the areas that regulate stress and anxiety may contribute to the disorder.

An interesting study involving researchers from Pennsylvania State University in State College and Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey showed babies pictures of angry, happy, and neutral faces, and they found that the infants of anxious mothers took longer to look away from the angry faces, which meant that the infants had a tendency to focus more on potential threat. (5)
Study author Koraly Perez-Edgar, PhD, professor of psychology at the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, says that this focus on threat may be one way that anxiety begins to take hold. "Individuals who attend to aspects of the environment that they consider threatening can potentially create a cycle that strengthens biases toward a threat, as well as toward the view that the environment is threatening, which can then lead to social withdrawal and anxiety," she says.

"People can learn to be anxious in various situations," says Jonathan Abramowitz, PhD, professor of clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and editor in chief of the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders.
"This can occur through experiences in which anxiety or fear becomes associated with a specific stimulus or a stressful or traumatic event, by learning about something fearful, and through vicarious conditioning," he says. Vicarious conditioning, says Dr. Abramowitz, occurs when you watch someone else experience a stressful and traumatic event — like food poisoning or being bitten by a dog — and come to see certain situations as dangerous.

Women are more than two times as likely as men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. (6) It's not clear why this is the case, but researchers have theorized that it may be due to a combination of social and biological factors. Scientists are still investigating the complex role that sex plays in brain chemistry, but some research suggests that in women, the amygdala, which is the part of the brain responsible for processing potential threats, may be more sensitive to negative stimuli and may hold on to the memory of it longer (7). Other research suggests that the hormone progesterone may act as a trigger for this response (8). However, some think that nature isn't as much of an influence as nurture. People theorize that women tend to be socialized in a way that gives them permission to openly discuss emotion. So women may feel more comfortable admitting to feelings than men, who tend to be socialized to keep their feelings to themselves and are less likely to confess to emotional problems. Women may, therefore, get diagnosed with anxiety disorders more often than men (9).

Other research suggests that social structures that contribute to inequality, such as lower wages, may play a part. In a study published in January 2016 in the journal Social Science and Medicine, Columbia epidemiologists reviewed data on wages and mood disorders, and noted that, at least in their data set, when a woman's pay rose higher than a man's, the odds of her having both generalized anxiety disorder and major depression decreased (10). What is known for sure, says Beth Salcedo, MD, medical director of The Ross Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders and board president of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, "is that more often than not, women definitely experience an uptick in anxiety before menstruation, around perimenopause, and after giving birth."

Symptoms include increased heartbeat and breathing, tightness in chest, and excessive sweating. If you've ever felt it, you know that anxiety is just as much a physical state as a mental state. That's because there's a very strong biological chain reaction that occurs when we encounter a stressful event or begin to worry about potential stressors or dangers in the future. Other physical symptoms include sweating, headaches, and insomnia. Psychological symptoms may include feeling restless or irritable, feeling tense, having a feeling of dread, or experiencing ruminative or obsessive thoughts.

Anxiety disorders are treated through medication and therapy. You might feel embarrassed talking about the things you are feeling and thinking, but talking about it, say, experts, is the best treatment. A particular form of therapy is considered most effective: cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT for short. Antidepressants — the types of medication most frequently used to treat depression — are the drugs that also work best for anxiety disorders.

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