How To Transition From Friends To Roommates

How To Transition From Friends To Roommates

My friend group and I have just been approved for our dream apartment (hooray!) and now we're just several thousand dollars and a few signatures away from being roommates.

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After all the scrambling to get in deposits and paperwork and an agonizing two days waiting to hear back from the landlord, we were pretty relieved to get a text from our realtor sharing the good news. For a split second, it really felt like the hard part was over.

Reality will always swing back around to smack you in the face. The initial financial and legal stuff was hardly the most trying part of this process. Now, we actually have to live together. And with living together comes arguments, annoyances, and aggression.

People always warn you not to live with friends, and with good reason. Living with other people is difficult, no matter how much you love each other or how patient you are. When you are sharing your personal and private living space with someone else, their flaws (and yours!) quickly come to the surface.

Since we want our transition into this new home to go as smoothly as possible, my friends and I have done a few things to prepare ourselves for sharing a living space.

First, and maybe most importantly, set boundaries with your roommates. If you need an hour of alone time in the mornings, be upfront about that. Don't just expect your friends to know that about you, and then get mad when they're trying to have a conversation over your 8 AM coffee. You need to communicate your needs if you expect them to be met.

You also need to learn how to compromise. Maybe you need that alone time in the morning but your roommate needs to make smoothies before they leave early for work. Maybe you both have a show that airs Wednesday nights at 7 and you only have one TV. Compromise: wear headphones in the morning or keep the doors closed, switch off on weekly TV dibs. Learn to be flexible and accommodating of other people and they will do the same for you.

Another key element of a healthy roommate situation is laying down general expectations. You should all have an idea of who is going to handle what responsibilities. Do you want to divide up household chores by type, do you want to rotate them, or do you expect everyone to clean up their own messes in a timely manner? What about shared spaces like the bathroom?

I don't necessarily recommend a strict chore schedule unless that has worked for all of you in the past, only because life is unpredictable, and schedules or personal issues can interfere. Instead, I've found it's most helpful to dictate which common areas are shared responsibilities and to figure out a system of division that works best for you. Whether that means everyone pitching in once a week to scrub down the apartment, or just trusting everyone to take initiative and do a chore that they feel has been neglected, find what works best for you and those you live with.

Another difficult but important thing is sitting down with your roommates to establish guidelines. Again, strict rules aren't usually useful. Instead, try to come to general agreements about noise, guests, and behavior. Common courtesy is a good rule of thumb for these types of expectations. Give your roommates a heads up about guests, turn down your music if you're asked to, be conscious of how long you used shared appliances for (shower, oven, tv). It's really as simple as being considerate of one another.

Finally, try your best to figure out how you want to divvy up bills and expenses before you move in. Are you dividing bills equally each month? If not, on what basis are you splitting them up? Will you be paying rent separately or all together? What about shared goods like toilet paper or paper towels? Settle these things before you move in so you're not scrambling at the end of the month to come up with the money you need.

It would also be helpful to divide up the costs of shared furniture so that no one person is responsible for furnishing the entire living room while everyone else brings a few cups and a wastebasket. It's wise to have everyone buy an equitable amount of bigger pieces (shelving, tables, chairs) so that you're all contributing equally, and so that everyone has their own things to keep once they eventually move out.

The key to living with friends is being honest with one another. Speak up if you are upset by how one of your roommates is acting, and also be open to feedback on your own behavior. Clear, calm, and non-accusatory communication will be key in settling disputes and finding solutions. There will be bumps in the road for sure, but the chance to make great memories living with people you love makes it all worth it.

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6 Things I Didn't Really Need in My Freshman Dorm, And 6 Things I Wish I Brought Instead

I promise you, being Pinterest-worthy just doesn't make sense in a dorm.
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As I packed up my dorm room and unpacked it all once I got home, I kinda felt stupid. I moved in with 2 cars full of stuff (yes, I know how extra that sounds and yes, it was indeed that extra) and I didn't end up needing half of it. Now, I'm swimming in stuff I need to get rid of while holding on to the stuff I didn't realize I would need and ended up buying mid-year. No matter how much you think you know everything, first-time dorm residents, please listen.

6 things I DIDN'T need but swore I did

1. All my personal books

I mean, I'm an English major and I love to read, but no one, and I mean no one, A) has free time and B) uses that free time to read in college.

2. Keurig

There's a coffee shop I can use my cafe credits at on my way to class. I never woke up early enough to brew my own coffee, and I never craved it bad enough in the afternoon to feel like I needed to make my own immediately. It was nice to make tea with though.

3. Dishes and Silverware/Excessive Mugs

All you need is 1 mug and a couple of water bottles. I promise you paper plates and plastic silverware are all you need.

4. An overabundance of office supplies

I didn't use all those fancy office supplies in high school, so as much as I love them, I have yet to reach for them in college.

5. T.V.

The T.V. I had was only slightly bigger than my laptop screen and the wifi at my dorm wasn't good enough for streaming. I hardly used it, but I know others used theirs a lot. Just a personal preference!

6. Tons of wall art

I totally believe wall art has the power to make a dorm room feel less institutional, but I wish I had brought more pictures from home to make my room personal. Pinterest dorm rooms just aren't real, and they aren't what you want when you're homesick.

6 things I wish I had bought before school started

1. ID Lanyard

I personally love these ones from Vera Bradley , but honestly, any way you can carry your ID, money, and keys all in one is a life changer.

2. Earplugs/Eye Mask

Dorms are loud even during quiet hours and sometimes your roommate stays up later or gets up earlier than you do. Amazon couldn't ship these to me fast enough.

3. Wireless Headphones/Earbuds

Personally, I'm an earbuds girl, but either one does the trick. It's nice to not have to deal with cords and to be able to connect to any of your devices without an adapter.

4. Laptop Shell/Stickers

Almost everyone ends up ordering stickers to put on their laptop to express themselves to those around them. On a practical level though, you're probably going to have the same laptop as 5+ other students in your lecture and you will probably throw your laptop in a bag and run at some point. A shell and some stickers will provide more protection than you realize. Check out http://www.redbubble.com for some great options.

5. Small vacuum

This is especially important if you get a rug. Sweeping is not pleasant, and the vacuums at your dorm are probably older than you are.

6. Pictures from home

Like I said before, wall art isn't going to comfort you when you want to go home. A picture of your dog or best friend sure will though.


Cover Image Credit: Lauren Gherna

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.

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If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become.

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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