Living on your own is an exciting first step into adulthood but chances are, you’ve probably got a roommate – and that’s okay! Having a roommate around isn’t such a bad thing when you actually make an effort to make it work. First and foremost, having a roommate helps you save on rent and with rising living costs, that’s a pretty big bonus. Having a roommate also adds an extra sense of security and mostly keep the anxieties of living all by yourself at bay. Did you forget to turn off your straightener before rushing to class? Locked yourself out? Heard a weird noise outside your window? Cultivating a healthy relationship with your roommate can help ease those worries, especially if it’ll be your first endeavor living away from home.

Whether you’re moving into a dorm or moving into your own place, moving in with your best friend, or moving in with a stranger – you’re still going to have to navigate through some pretty common roommate problems. Here are a few tips to help you resolve them and even avoid some of them in the long run!

Set clear expectations from the start. If you already know who you’re rooming or moving in with, that makes this first step a whole lot easier. Don’t be afraid to communicate with your roommate. After all, you two are basically gonna be living your lives within pretty close proximity of each other. Your best friend may already know and understand your quirks and weird habits, but you can’t expect the same from someone you just met.

Maybe you’re a night owl and your roomie’s a morning person, or you prefer study music whereas your roomie needs complete silence. Try asking people who have lived with you, maybe your siblings or even your parents, about little habits you have that you may not even have noticed you had. Talking about these things beforehand eliminates accidentally setting off your roommate and vice versa.

Here are some things you may want to talk about beforehand:

  • Sleeping habits and schedules
  • Bathroom habits (Do you steam up the shower? Take frequent baths? etc.)
  • Definition of what is considered to be clean and organized/dirty and messy
  • Eating habits (Are you a late night snacker? Vegan? Allergic to anything?)
  • Pet peeves

Talk about finances. This doesn’t just apply to rent and utilities if you’re getting your own place – this means talking about groceries, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and just about anything that two people need to purchase in order to live in their own place. If you’re moving into an apartment, maybe you need to talk about buying living room furniture or appliances and how you might wanna break down the cost. Maybe you absolutely want a coffee maker but your roomie doesn’t even drink coffee – it most likely isn’t reasonable to ask them to pitch in for a Keurig. Or conversely, if your roomie thinks it’s a good idea to get a toaster and you know you’re probably gonna use it once in a while – don’t expect them to foot the bill just cause it’s their idea.

Whether you split the bill in half on every communal item or offer to purchase different items with equivalent values, always remember to be fair. Also, keep in mind your roommate’s preferences when it comes to groceries. If it’s your turn to go grocery shopping, don’t ‘forget’ the almond milk when you know they’re lactose intolerant. Or if you know a certain laundry soap irritates their skin, don’t change it up all of a sudden. Be considerate and be mindful and make sure to communicate your needs too. Living with another person and creating a harmonious relationship with them means compromise. 

Here are some things you may want to talk about beforehand:

  • Groceries: will you shop together? is it a rotating schedule? how will you get reimbursed?
  • What are things you’re willing to pay for?
  • What are things you’re not willing to pay for?
  • If you’re splitting cost on certain big ticket items like a couch or a dining table, how do you determine who keeps what at the end of the lease?

Respect their stuff. This ties in with the finances talk you should’ve already had. If you didn’t pay for it, it’s not yours. Or even if you did at least pay for half, it belongs to both of you. Don’t use or ‘borrow’ anything that isn’t yours without asking and if it’s understood that it’s a communal item, don’t hog it. That’s just common courtesy.

Here are some communal items/things you may want to be considerate of:

  • TV time
  • Netflix, Hulu, and other shareable accounts (Just cause your roomie logged into the account on your smart TV, it doesn’t automatically mean you can use it. Ask first and offer to split the cost).
  •  Desk space/study space (Some school projects take up a lot of space, or sometimes you just need your notes sprawled out for reference, be considerate of where you choose to do so, especially if it’s in a communal space like the living room or dining room table).

Be mindful of guests you bring over. Your place is your roommate’s place too; your home is their home. Things can get especially dicey when you’re living in dorms and you’re sharing the same room. As a rule of thumb, always ask your roommate if you can have people over – or at the minimum, give them a heads up. If you know your roommate is feeling under the weather or has to cram for an exam, be considerate. Also, entertain the idea that your roommate doesn’t necessarily want to be around your friends (or significant other) all the time – nor do they necessarily have to like them.

Here are some things you may want to talk about beforehand:

  • How many people at any given time are allowed over?
  • How much notice do you need to give? Day before? Day of? A quick text before right before you and friends show up?
  • Where are your guests allowed? (If you have separate bedrooms, your roomie’s bedroom is a given ‘off-limit’ space but what about if you share the same room?)
  • Are there any days you absolutely don’t want people over? (Maybe you have an 8am class the next day or you have to go to work early the next day.)

Safety first! Again, your home is their home too. Always remember to lock your doors – you’re not just protecting your stuff, you’re protecting theirs too.

Set reasonable expectations regarding household roles and duties. This category includes the dreaded task of chores. But when you look at it from the glass-half-full perspective, if you lived by yourself you’d have to do all the chores yourself. Find a system that works for both of you – and keep in mind that just because you choose to do a task at the beginning, it doesn’t mean you both are locked into it forever. And most people understand that sometimes life gets in the way – times like that is when it’s especially important to remember to communicate and compromise. Being in college sometimes means that your days aren’t all the same; some days you work late, some days you don’t have class, and some days your schedule is all kinds of messed up. That’s okay, just make sure you let your roommate know when you can’t do a certain chore on a certain day but also offer a solution. For example, if Friday is vacuuming day but you’ll be gone from early in the morning to late at night, communicate that to your roomie and maybe offer to do it on Saturday or offer to switch tasks.

Be open to change. A harmonious home requires a lot of commitment from both sides. Most times this means creating a plan and sticking to it and reassessing the plan once in a while to see if it still works. Having a roommate is like being in a platonic relationship with someone – in a perfect world, partnerships are 50/50. But in reality, some days it’s 60/40 or even 80/20.

Own up to your mistakes. It’s one thing to do something you didn’t realize would bother your roommate; it’s another thing to do something you know would bother your roommate and not tell them. If you break something, let them know, offer to fix it, or even offer to replace it.

Fix the small problems before they snowball into big problems. It’s typically the little things that go unchecked that create the perfect conditions for harbored resentment. Roomie doesn’t finish their water bottles before starting a new one? Yeah, it’s mildly annoying, but one day you’ll wake up to a sea of half-finished water bottles in your living room and you won’t know how to cope. Do you choose to get upset over something as frivolous as water-bottles, or do you dump them all in a trash bag seething with resentment? Neither option is ideal, so nip it in the bud before they jump on your last nerve.

Often times, people don’t even realize their habits are slowly picking at you. Let your roomie know, but also be kind about it. How you say things is equally as important as what you say. If you come at your roommate with guns blazing over something that seems so insignificant, you can’t possibly expect them to take you seriously.

Be open to constructive dialogue. Communication is a two-way street. Yeah, you’re detailing all of your expectations and are quick to nip your roommate’s bad habits in the bud, but also give them the space to speak their opinions. If you’re bringing up your roomie’s water bottle habit, allow them to bring up any pet peeves they may have about you – like, say, leaving q-tips on the bathroom counter or wearing dirty shoes on the carpet.

Always remember the Golden Rule: Treat your roommate how you want to be treated. It may seem obvious to you what your needs are, but your roommate isn’t a mind reader. A healthy roommate relationship includes lots of communication, compromise, and commitment to making it work.

Every culture has different traditions to celebrate the season. These traditions are looking to bring luck into the new year, or just spend time with those around you. Here we look at just a few of the traditions that people celebrate throughout the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Denmark

In Denmark, they literally destroy their problems that have been saved up throughout the year. They do this through saving up unwanted glassware in preparation for New Years. They then smash this glass against the doors of friends and loved ones. They do this as a symbol of smashing the troubles of the past year.

Spain

Folks in Spain participate in the 12 grape challenge. During each of the bell tolls at midnight, people will put a grape in their mouths resulting in 12 grapes in their mouths. This is because of the superstition that each grape equals one wish for the year.

Brasstown, NC, USA

In this North Carolina town, they engage in a possum-drop. On New Years Eve, they lower a possum in a clear box over a crowd to ring in the upcoming year. Recent years have been forced to use a fake possum due to a lawsuit from an animal rights group.

Chile

People in Chile like to begin their year with loved ones, alive or dead. They spend New Year’s Eve graveyard camping at the graves of their lost family members. The graveyards open late and these folks spend the night surrounded by candles and classical music.

Hungary

Food in Hungary is a large aspect in the traditions of New Years in their culture. Hungarians will avoid eating chicken and fish in favor of pork. This is due to the popular beliefs that the winged fowl are a symbol of luck flying away and fish symbolizing the luck swimming away.

Southern USA

Like Hungary, food has a large impact on the traditions in many of the southern states of the United States. These folks in the south will eat black eyed peas on New Year’s day. They do this to gain luck for the upcoming year. If they want even more luck, collard greens are added  to the meal for the symbol of money.

Many of these cultures New Year’s traditions revolve around the ideas of gaining luck. How these traditions have come to pass is not always known. Regardless of how they came about, these traditions give the folks celebrating around the world a sense of community and fellowship with those around them.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! There’s nothing better than getting to spend the holidays with your loved ones and as a college student, your time off from school is precious. Whether you spend the holidays exclusively with family you haven’t seen all year, attend back to back Christmas parties, or just bundle up at home with a nice cup of hot cocoa, it might be time to amp it up and adopt some new Christmas traditions this year to make the most out of the holiday festivities! Here’s a list of fun activities to test out with your friends and family – and who knows? Maybe it’ll find a place in your annual holiday traditions!

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Christmas Cookie Bake-off

Cookies: the versatile sweet snack. I’ve never met anyone who hated cookies because there is just nothing to hate about them! Have your friends and family bake up a storm (of cookies) and bring them to a cookie party! And at the end of the night, you can crown the Annual Christmas Cookie Contest winner.

Elf on the Shelf

This one’s a fun one for the “90s baby with a baby” crowd that our generation is heading into! Get the 101 on the Elf on the Shelf
here.

Collecting Ornaments

Collecting unique ornaments is a great Christmas time hobby! In my family, my mom adds a new unique Santa to the tree every year but the thrill of the hunt is the best part because that means I get to spend quality time with my mom! You’re out shopping for gifts anyway, might as well pick up a new tree ornament.

Decorating Ornaments

If your tastes are a little bit too niche for the Christmas ornament market, you can try your hand at making some yourself! This could be a fun activity for you and your family, friends, or significant other.

Christmas Cocktail Party

Wanna impress your friends this holiday season? Spice up your party drink menu with these Christmas Cocktails! You can even make an event out of it by teaching your guests how to make them.

Christmas Pajama Party

You’re never too old for comfy PJs, so settle into a cute Christmas pajama set, and enjoy a nice night in!

Christmas Movie Marathon

Bundle up with your loved ones and have a Christmas movie marathon! And I don’t mean the tried and true titles like Polar Express. New Christmas movies are released every year, especially on Netflix.

Decorating Christmas Cards

I can’t remember the last time I received a Christmas card! Sadly, traditional cards are being replaced by portrait postcards. Get in touch with your inner writer and take the time to decorate your own cards and hand-write a note inside. I’m sure the friends and family you won’t quite get to see this holiday season will appreciate the personal touch!

Learn About New Traditions

Over 2 billion people in 160 countries celebrate Christmas! Read up on how other countries celebrate Christmas and the meaning behind their traditions; you can even try some out yourself! For example, in some European countries, children leave their shoes outside for St. Nicholas Day so that he can come and fill it with goodies! Here’s a hefty list from Green Global Travel to get you started!

Throughout the year, many video games have been created and given many entertainment and a relief from everyday life. This list contains just a few of the amazing games that have been created this year.

Blog_ Video Games

1.  Red Dead Redemption 2

After 8 years, Red Dead Redemption has finally made a sequel and it’s a detailed masterpiece. This game is set in the vast landscape of the American wild west of 1899 toward the end of an era. You control the outlaw and gang member, Arthur Morgan, making choices and exploring the world. I mentioned that this game was detailed and in my opinion that is an understatement. The game seems to have not missed a single detail that would make it more realistic and visually impressive. It was worth the 8 year wait!

2.  Celeste

Celeste is a platforming gem. It is a challenging game that sucks the player in as you help your character, Madeline, on her journey to the top of Celeste Mountain. It’s an intense challenge that is very rewarding once you finally complete a level. After you beat the game, you get another set of challenges that are even more difficult than the main game levels. There are many techniques you can use and things to do in this simple but visually appealing 2D platformer.

3.  God of War

God of War features the relationship of father and son with Kratos being a mentor and protector to his son throughout the game. Featuring a new setting, characters, monsters, and gods in the gameplay of the game. The story within this game is masterfully crafted and allows the player an enjoyable experience.

4.  Marvel’s Spider Man

In this game, you play as an experienced Peter Parker balancing his life as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and as Peter Parker. This game has hours upon hours of content allowing you to experience the story, explore, and fight. The swinging through the city is more than satisfying. It is visually appealing and has expertly crafted boss fights. Insomniac Games brings the world of Marvel and Spider-Man beautifully into your hands, making it worth for this list.

5.  Dragon Ball FighterZ

This 2D Dragon Ball fighting game follows up the success of the Xenoverse series. It has endless spectacular fights with high end anime graphics. The gameplay is easy to learn yet difficult to master. The amount of entertainment due to the endless nature of the fights and the incredible anime graphics created in a partnership with the talent at Arc System Works earn it this spot on the list.

6.  Super Smash Brothers Ultimate

Although it has not released yet, this game deserves a spot on this list. With 71 characters and 103+ stages, the possibilities are endless. This game has so much hype around it that the hype alone makes it a top game of the year. Story mode of this game will not be the end with the multiplayer of this game testing the limits of Nintendo’s new online service. The only thing that could make this game better would be Waluigi.

7.  Dead Cells

This action-platformer is tough yet fair game where you explore a large ever-changing castle. There are many ways to build your character and choice the path that best fits you. This game has the personality and the hours of entertainment. The speedy combat, amazing system for progression, and great music make this game worthy of being called one of the best of the year on this list.

8.  Pokémon Let’s Go: Eevee and Pikachu

Many seasoned Pokémon players were skeptical about this game from before its release. The main worries were that this game would be too easy or the new Pokémon go style catching mechanics were not the same as the wild Pokémon battles of the past. This games main plot is in fact easy, however post game and player created goals create a larger level of difficulty. With master trainers sprinkling the land and shinies to be found this game is enjoyable with a large amount of time to be spent in the Kanto region. On top of all of this, the game is just flat out ridiculously adorable.

9.  Super Mario Party

Super Mario Party takes its mechanics back to the days before Nintendo introduced the car that bused players around the board. The boards are not as imaginative as they potentially could be and the online component is fairly underwhelming. However, the team boards are interesting and add a great addition to this party game. It is a great game to play with friends and family over the holidays or just in general. The simple mechanics make it easy for anyone to understand and the minigames included in this title are fun while maintaining the awkward nature of motion controls.

10.  Return of the Obra Dinn

This mystery game is set in 1809. You play as an insurance claim agent investigating a bit that washed up to shore empty one day. Throughout the game, you make insurance claims of the boat while piecing together the story of the boat and what happened to the crew. The story of this mystery game is has an incredible narrative and surprising art style. This game is a true surprise and thematically wonderful earning it a spot on this list.

The holiday season is a great time to kick back and watch some movies. Here are the best ones coming to Netflix in December!

*All descriptions are taken from the IMDB website which you can visit yourself here or from the Netflix website here.*

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (2019)

A local scientist is often regarded as a failure until he invents a machine that can make food fall from the sky. But little does he know, that things are about to take a turn for the worst.
Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

The Big Lebowski (1998)

Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire of the same name, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.
Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.
Director: Edgar Wright

District 9 (2009)

An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology.
Director: Neill Blomkamp

8 Mile (2002)

A young rapper, struggling with every aspect of his life, wants to make it big but his friends and foes make this odyssey of rap harder than it may seem.
Director: Curtis Hanson