In those corny television shows where siblings had to share a room, they would fight like siblings have a tendency to do and one would get the brilliant idea to paint, draw or tape a giant line down the middle of the room. Having a college roommate is kind of like that.
My freshman year of college, my roommate and I could not see eye to eye and would not compromise on anything. I could not sleep with the television on and she insisted on using a table cloth as a rug. We lasted two weeks. Two very long weeks!
Even though we are friends now, if we would have been organized, compromised and minimalized, we might have lasted longer.
Organization is very important in college with everything from classes to activities to even your dorm room. In college, professors treat students more like adults and expect you to be able to keep track of your own stuff. A planner is one of the best things you, as a student, can invest in. With the aid of a planner , you can keep track of tests, papers and important events.
To avoid some of the freshman blunders - like forgetting to write the paper because the professor didn't remind you - here are some things you can do:
Before class begins for the semester and you are given the name and contact information for the professor, send him or her a quick e-mail introducing yourself and ask if he/she can suggest any reading that would help with the class. In doing this, you will understand the material better and you will be one step a head.
One the first day of class when the professor hands out the syllabus, put the reading assignments, papers and test dates in your student planner. Color coordinate the class with the assignment written in the planner. Color coordinating the class, such as green for math will make the planner cleaner and better organized.
Dry erase boards or to do lists will help you further organize your day. They now have dry erase boards that stick to the wall.
When scheduling classes, don't take on more then you can handle. Many students think that they can handle 18 credits (six classes) with no problem. Talk to your advisor before making this decision. The same goes for extracurricular activities - be careful how many of these you take on, some can be very time consuming.
Every class needs to have its own folder or notebook or both; even look into having a binder, whether it's one big one or one for each class. Keeping tests, hand-outs and the syllabus will help out when it comes time to study for the midterm or final. Find an organization system that works for you. It may be having one notebook for all classes or taking notes on your lap top.
Here are some things you can do to be a considerate roomie:
Put your clothes in the hamper and try to keep your side decent. It doesn't have to be spotless, but it doesn't need to be a pig sty.
Text, call or message him or her to see if it is okay if you bring friends back to the room.
Wear headphones when listening to music if they are trying to sleep or study.
If you must pull an all-nighter (and you will), make sure they are okay with it or go somewhere else.
If you do have a problem, instead of retaliation, try to talk to him or her.
A lot of being a good roommate and keeping the peace is common sense and good manners. The idea of minimalism plays a key role here. The less stuff you have, the less of a mess you will have.
Van Dyne can be reached at email@example.com