The following advice on how to survive in the dorm comes from: The Freshman Survival Guide
Don't be a doormat...
Be honest right from the start with your roommate about what you like and don’t like.
if you find yourself irritated with something your roommate is doing, you owe it to him or her to say so and to say so directly. There’s nothing worse than finding out your roommate has been complaining to everyone else on the floor about your irritating habits without the courtesy of keeping you up to date. Establishing a pattern of addressing problems as they arise will encourage your roommate to be honest, too.
Don’t Be a Princess/Prince...
That’s when you expect everyone to adjust to your way of doing things.
The first shock of dorm life can be lack of personal space; often a student’s living space is one-half the size of his or her living space at home.
Most students don’t go to their RAs enough. University of Scranton RA Bryan Heinline says people are often reluctant to admit they’re having trouble with roommates (and lots of other things RAs can help with). So keep in mind that there’s a reason your college put a person up the hall from you whose job it is to keep an eye out for you. It’s almost as if they know you might need help.
The ideal situation is probably when your best friend is not your roommate. Sometimes living with your best friend makes it hard to bring up annoying little issues, the things a friend should overlook but that can drive a roommate crazy.
Two issues tend to make things fall apart between roommates: noise and visitors. Address these problems before they become unbearable and trigger World War III. Sometimes the other person is unaware, and sometimes he or she is just inconsiderate.
Here’s a quick list of strategies for communicating positively and keeping things friendly:
- Don’t accuse. Use “I” statements. Don’t say, “You are so inconsiderate.” This accusation may well be true, but instead say, “When you leave your wet towel on my bed, I feel like you don’t care.” This lets your roommate know about the problem behavior but gives him or her room to change it. Accusations lead to arguments. “I” statements can lead to solutions.
- Catch your roommate doing something good and say thanks. It reinforces the behavior you want to increase without being negative.
- Offer a little support. If things are getting tense (but you’re still speaking to each other), ask how your roommate is doing. Sometimes stress shows up as inconsiderate behavior.
here are a few tips to create long-lasting roomie love.
Tip 1: Communication—Like any good relationship, communication is key; the same with having a roommate.
- Here is a list of what you should discuss before you move in:
1. How clean a person are you?
2. Are you a Morning bird or a night owl?
3. Will we be sharing food? Clothes?
4. What is it okay to have friends over? When is it not okay? What about people of the opposite sex?
Tip 2: The honeymoon period will end. The first few weeks of class is a great time. You might love your roommate and that you’re living together. But by the time the first exam rolls around, you may be ready to tear each other’s hair out. The hair-tearing-out time is a good time to sit down and make a roommate contract. You can do this on your own or with your RA if you need a mediator.
Tip 3: Gossip—Never talk about your roommate behind his or her back. If you have to complain to someone, talk to your very, very close friends, parents, siblings, or your RA. Your RA is living on the floor with you for a reason. Use them for advice on how to deal with or talk to your roommate.
Tip 4: Clean—Please clean your room! Do your laundry, take your trash out, and using a well-placed air freshener is an excellent idea. Your roommate will thank you. Your floor mates will thank you. Your RA will thank you. Smells travel through walls and closed doors.
The following is from The Freshman Survival Guide
You will find so many good people on a college campus - friends that will last a lifetime. But you will also find people that could drag you down and keep you from finding your full potential.
Here are six kinds of people to watch out for:
1. The constant Crisis - These are friends that are always in a state of crisis. They constantly need you to listen to their problems and they never seem to be free of them. With these friends, you may want to encourage them to campus services (such as counseling) and surround them with more friends than just you so that you are not their only source of help.
2. The Joker - It is natural to tease your friends and you should expect to be teased, but when you seem to be constantly at the wrong end of the joke, you may want to find friends that are more encouraging.
3. The Furious Friend - Watch out for friends that escalate easily - especially if they lash out, throw things, or punch walls. These tendencies grow when a person is stressed, and college designed to be stressful.
4. The Liability (aka: You're not their mother!) - Some friends will never clean up after themselves and will leave you messes to take care of. Let someone else be their mother.
5. The "No" Friend - These are friends that always want to do what they want to do and never what you want to do. They never want to compromise and they expect you to do what they want. You don't have follow such a person. There is a lot of people on the campus that share your interests - finds them.
6. The Arm-Twister - It is good for friends to encourage you to try new things, but it is not good when you are pressured to go outside your comfort zone and compromise your values. They may nag you or make fun of you in order to get you to do as they want. You want to grow as a person, but you do not want to become someone that you don't want to be.
The point is, don't get locked into just one group of friends. Find the people that will help you grow and do not feel guilty about passing over those that are holding you back.
But how do you disengage with people that are trying to monopolize your time? Here are 3 things you might try:
1. Get busy. - Join a club or try an activity. It will not only give you an excuse to leave the toxic friend, but will give you a bigger pool of people to choose from - many of whom will share your interests.
2. Branch out together - Because most toxic relationships are isolating - meaning that they are demanding your time in exclusion of other people - you should open up your friend group. Invite others to join you (even if the toxic friend is against it). Develop a larger friend pool so that the toxic friend can't just focus on you.
3. Let your feelings be known - Communicate your thoughts. Don't be afraid to say when you do not like something or that you want to hang out with other people. Don't talk about them behind their back or gossip about them - it will come back to haunt you. Instead, be clear about what you want. You can say something like "I came to college to expand my horizons and networks, and right now it seems like this is the best way for me to achieve that."
One college student summarized this by saying: "Your friends have an enormous influence on the person you are and the person you'll become. Choose them carefully, and choose friends that are like the person you hope to be."
The following is from: The Freshman Survival Guide
Dr. Richard Kadison, chief of Harvard University Mental Health Services gives this advice to college freshmen: "Being an independent adult doesn't mean going it alone. Part of being mature is learning when to share problems and concerns and when to ask for help."
When Stress or loneliness starts to get the best of you, fight back by reaching out.
The 5 best ways to meet new people in college (according to students):
1. Get involved. You're not going to meet people by sitting in your room watching TV - you have to get out there. Try going to smaller events that allow for more one-on-one interactions.
2. Live in a a dorm. There are all sorts of great reasons to live off campus, depending on the university, but when you first get there you'll find no better way to meet people than to live in the dorms.
3.Keep an open door. Keeping your dorm room door open when you're there increases your opportunities to connect with other people on your floor.
4. Take classes with strangers. If you hang out with someone random from your one random class in the dining hall, then you'll meet their friends and your social network just increased threefold.
5. Eat in the dining hall. A ton of people are always there, and you can almost always find someone sitting alone. Also, if you can't find someone new, there is almost always someone you know to sit with.
- Chat with people in the dining-hall line who seem interesting and ask to sit with them when you all get your food. That way you're all at the same part of the meal. There is nothing worse than sitting down when everyone else is about to get up.
- Ask someone you recognize (from class, orientation, extracurricular activities, and so on) and would like to get to know better.
- Stick to the big tables. Must of the time people who sit at the small tables do so for a reason. Go to the big tables and try to sit with a diverse group of people who look like they're all having a good time.
Here is some advice from the Freshman Survival Guide about making friends in college.
"Making good friends in college is important, but it takes time. Be patient, be smart, and stay connected to your support network - the friends and family who helped get you this far."
It took years to develop the relationships you have at home - do not expect to find this kind of closeness overnight when you arrive at college. "You've been through tough times with your old friends and have learned their strengths and weaknesses. You trust them because they've proven themselves trustworthy. They know and keep your secrets, and you know and keep theirs."
A common mistake new college students make is to create false relationships with the new people they are now sharing their lives with. These new relationships can quickly begin to feel "old" because you are spending so much of your time with them, but in reality they can be an artificial intimacy. "These new friends need to earn your trust. Don't just give it to them. The people you meet in your first few weeks of school may be great, some of them may turn out to be the best friends of your life, and some of them may turn out to be criminals (seriously)". As you progress through the school year, you will begin to realize which ones are gems and which ones are jerks. "Remain open to new friendships, but wait until you get to know people a little before you loan them your car, give them all your passwords, or share your deepest secrets with them."
"There is a tendency to settle in with the first group you meet." They offer peer support while you are going through the overwhelming start of this new adventure. It may feel like they are the only ones that understand what you are going through, so you stick with them. "But the people you choose to be friends with can make a huge difference in nearly every aspect of college life: study habits, interactions with other groups of people, how you spend your free time. Choose carefully and remember you can make a new choice anytime."
A good rule of thumb is that you will become like those you hang out with. If you find that you are constantly socializing and not able to get homework done, look for friends that are more academic in focus. If you find you are studying so much that you want to scream, look for friends that are more social. Balance these groups together and don't get stuck in just one style. And most of all, do not allow the connections you make to compromise the person you are and who you want to be. Remember, this is a small part of your life - don't let anyone or anything change you in ways you do not want to be changed.
Here are a few websites that you might want to check out while investigating different colleges.
This list comes from: "Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years"
An excellent website from the same people who bring you the SATs. Tips on how to use the Internet for admission and financial aid information, advice for parents and students, and links to many other related websites.
A website of the U.S. Department of Education. Contains a comprehensive interactive index of colleges and provides detailed information about each individual institution.
A guide to navigating college admissions, including general information and resources for people worried about the costs of higher education.
National Association for College Admissions Counseling
Includes good information on college preparation, the search process, applying, paying for, and helping your student succeed in college. Also includes sections for undocumented students and students looking to study outside the United States.
Offers information on the college search process: how to choose a school that’s right for you, how to apply, and how to pay for college. From the company that publishes Peterson’s Guides.
Public University Honors
Provides evaluation and discussion of public university honors programs and colleges and how they fit into the higher education landscape. Includes twenty questions to ask when choosing an honors college.
The Freshman Survival Guide suggests that there are 6 good habit that you should start cultivating while in High School.
1. Do your homework.
- Many high schoolers have learned to rely on their luck and charm to get them by without need for real effort. However, in college you will be required to learn much more than can be absorbed just in class room discussions. Failing to do homework and get it in on time could cause you to fall so far behind that you can't keep up.
2. Get enough sleep.
- Staying up late in High School is not usually a big deal, but in college it could lead to some unwanted side effects such as sickness and even weight gain - not to mention begin moody and having a shorter attention span. It is important that you develop a regular bedtime - and stick to it even on the weekends. You should also have a buffer time in which you turn off your screens (computer, phone, tv, gaming system, etc...) to let your eyes and brain so that you can sleep.
3. Do not procrastinate.
- We all underestimate the time it takes to accomplish what we need to do - which means that you do not have much time as you think you have. Pushing things until later could cause you to lose sleep (see above) and even risk your entire grade for a semester when you do not have all your projects done on time. Stay ahead of the game so that you can relax without stress.
4. Limit extra curricular activities
- In High School you are encouraged to try everything. In college, your time is precious, so you need to be very wise about how you spend it. Colleges offer a long list of activities you can check out - and you should - but do not try to do everything at once. It is easy to become overcommitted and overwhelmed. Activities need to "justify" their place in your schedule. If you do not know why you are doing it you may need to say no.
5. Watch your diet
- Through your HS years, you are still growing and your metabolism may be high. But as you get into college, this process begins to slow and that means that your body will stop using so much of what you eat - and start storing it. Develop healthy eating habits now, so that when you are away from home and in a high stress environment you will know how to find cheap, easy, and HEALTHY alternatives that keeps you moving - not slows you down.
6. Manage stress
- Realize that you will be overwhelmed and stressed. Knowing how to blow off steam in healthy ways could mean the difference between just surviving college and thriving at college. Exercise, counseling, mindfulness practices (such as prayer) and hobbies are all ways that you can control the stress you are feeling.
Take the time now - while you are still in home and not overwhelmed by stress - to think through those things that could slow you down at college. Analyze your strengths and develop good habits. It will pay off in the end.
The Freshman Survival Guide suggests that as you begin looking at colleges, you should ask yourself some key questions:
1. What do you hope happens to you/ for you in college?
- Go beyond the obvious (new friends, good education) and consider how you want to become through this experience (greater self understanding, beliefs, and experiences, etc...)
2. What are you most afraid of?
- This is a good reality check. It helps you think through real world concerns. This is a good discussion to have with your parents, because they have many fears about your future also.
3. What are your biggest weaknesses and strengths?
- Discuss those areas that you have had trouble with in the past - and what you have done to overcome these problems. Also, where do you shine and how can this be part of your future experiences.
4. Who will you call with problems or big life questions?
- College is hard and you should never try to go it alone. Have a support network of people that you can trust and that will be frank with you about life. This list should include people from your current life (friends, relatives, counselors, etc...) and possible people from your future life (campus pastors, counselors, Resident advisors, etc...).
These may be difficult conversations, but it is better to have walked through the possibilities before you are faced with real world situations not knowing what to do.
What are some of the things you should know before you arrive on campus?
In this blog, I am going to try to give you some perspective and maybe some confidence as you begin your college experience.
The best advice that I can give you comes from God Himself. Our Father made us and He knows us better than we know ourselves. To top that off, He had a plan for YOUR LIFE and He knows the best way for you to go, so it would be hugely important that you start (and continue) your journey with Him.
In Genesis God had this advice for Adam - who was just beginning his education in life. He said: "The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him (Genesis 2:18)". We are not made to walk through life alone - especially through the hard things. College will be overwhelming - count on it. If you share your walk with "suitable helpers", you will manage and very likely thrive in the academic environment. But if you try to walk alone, you could be crushed by the many demands that will fall on you every day.
So, who are these "suitable helpers" that you should surround yourself with?
1. Your parents.
You may be away from home, but you are not away from their thoughts. They are not only praying for you and worrying about you - they are rooting for you. They want you to succeed and they want you to have all the tools you need to make this happen. Don't neglect this relationship -- CALL YOUR MOM!
2. Student resources.
Believe it or not - even thought the university demands a lot from you, they want you to succeed. They have high expectations for you and believe you can handle the challenges - that is why they set the standard high. The college leaders also know that this can be overwhelming, so they provide helps. Check the campus website and find out what student services, clubs, and resources are available to you (such as tutoring and counseling programs) - then use them (they are there for you - and you pay for them through your tuition so you might as well get your money's worth).
The same as with the college administration, your professors do not want to see you fail - it reflects badly on their teaching. Remember that they got into teaching to help people succeed. Get to know them and ask them their advice on how to succeed - especially in their classes.
4. Social resources
Get to know the people in your classes - they may be your coworkers and peers in the careers you go into. These relationships may pay off big time in your future. They also can help you walk when you feel like crawling. They are good for helping you through classes and for venting your frustrations. They are walking the same path, so they will understand your fears and will celebrate your victories. You may want to join some clubs and intramural sports teams to extend your peer group. The more people you are connected to, the stronger your walk will be.
Many students away from home neglect this important connection. It is sometimes scary going into a new church and you will rarely find a church just like the one you knew at home, but don't let that stop you. You may want to check out a few churches, but as soon as you can, pick one. By being connected to this resource, your world will open up. Not only will it help you keep yourself grounded in your faith, but it will bring people into your life that have experiences and resources that you may have trouble finding. For example, if your car breaks down you could call the church for help. They would have a number of people that could give you rides and maybe even connections with a mechanic or a car dealer that could help you get a good deal.
Ecclesiastes teaches us that their is strength in numbers. The author (possibly Solomon) said: Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
Don't try to walk alone.
Parents - we know that it can be overwhelming and frightening to let your young adult leave the nest and head to college. You have watched them grow and been there for them through every stage of their life, only now to have to send them away and not be there for them through one of the biggest steps they will ever take.
When they were learning to walk, you held them up until they were strong enough to stand alone. When they were learning to ride their bike, you ran behind them holding the bike up until they were strong enough to ride alone. Now, after years of holding them tight and teaching them to be independent, you need to let them fly - and trust that they will.
Still it is scary.
As a campus ministry, we understand this and we want to work with you through this time. Your student will still need support at times, just as they will need to "adult" at times. They need to know that you are close enough to catch them if they fail, but far enough to let them try. Just like those days when you were teaching them to dive into the pool.
We want to be a support to you - and an extension of your hand. When your student needs a boost, you cannot always be close enough to do it, but we are walking the campus with them. To do this, we need you to communicate with us. You can send us messages here on the website (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) or you can call us (dave: 9704338585). Let us know what you and your student need to stand strong.
Also, we will try to keep you informed on ways you can be partner with us in helping your child.
To help you make this transition with your child, we recommend you check out the book "Letting Go: A parents guide to understanding the college years". The author does a good job showing when a parent should step in to help their child and when they should step back and let them grow. (Click the picture and it will send you to an Amazon link for the book).
I will also be trying to update you through this blog - so check back. And don't forget to check the rest of this website for pictures, calendars and CSF needs, so that you can see what your young adult is doing with us.
You may no always be present in their minds, but you are still the biggest influence in their life!!!
Thanks for loaning us your young adult for a short time. May God bless their time with us.