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The Ultimate Survival Guide for Residence Life

It’s the end of high school and the end of summer, which can only mean it’s time for a new beginning. You’re excited and readily anticipating the unfamiliar experiences that lie ahead, but that does not mean you aren’t nervous and exceedingly anxious about what to expect this upcoming school year. Whether you’re living thirty minutes or seven hours away from home while attending Carleton, so many questions and concerns are flying through your head; starting with “how do I do my laundry?” to “what should I be eating?” and everything in between. Being away from home while at school can have its hardships, especially on those overwhelming “I-have-two-midterms-tomorrow” nights, where you’d much rather be consoled by your mother and cuddled by your dog in your time of need. Fortunately, not all nights have to be like this one. Whether you’re living in a single room, or sharing a double with either a requested or unknown roommate, there are some useful tips to consider that will not only benefit your new lifestyle on residence, but also those around you.  



1) Keep the loud music to a minimum

Let’s say you come back from your afternoon class to find that you roommate isn’t in the room, and you’re unsure of when he/she will be back. You hear the hallelujah chorus play in your head, as this now gives you the opportunity to put away the headphones and play your music out loud. As this is an inevitable occurrence among roommates, and totally acceptable, also keep in mind that despite your roommate’s absence, you also have thin walls with neighbours living on the other side of them. With this being said, if it isn’t a weekend, be considerate of the volume and don’t be that person who brings a prohibited subwoofer on move-in day. Music is great. Trembling walls are not. 


2) Prevent locking your can-mates out of the bathroom

Not all, but most residence buildings at Carleton require you to share a bathroom with the person(s) living next door to you. Of course no one wants any unwelcomed company while using the washroom, so there is a lock on each door on each side of the washroom. On move-in day, get acquainted with your can-mates, and immediately discuss methods you can all use to insure no one is locked out of the bathroom. Putting up signs on each side of the door kindly reminding your can-mate to unlock the door is helpful, or deciding not to lock the door at all and simply knocking before entering is another solution.


3) Establish guidelines about visitors in your room


During frosh week, having company over is common, as you’re getting acquainted with your floor mates and making new friends. However, once school begins, talk with your roommate about having people over. For example, suggest that people can’t be over past 9:30 P.M during the week, or that their friends can’t sit on your side of the room (sounds harsh, but you’ll feel better knowing your belongings are safe and respected if and when you aren’t there) Also, if you or your roommate want to have someone stay over, run it by him or her in advance to make sure they’re okay with it, and if not, then they have enough time to arrange staying somewhere else while your guest visits.


4) Make a cleaning schedule

Make a cleaning schedule with your can-mates and take turns cleaning the bathroom once every two weeks or so. With your roommate, alternate garbage runs, vacuuming, and cleaning the counter every so often. This way, both of you are contributing to a clean room and one person isn’t cleaning more than the other.



5) Be considerate of your roommate’s schedule

 Unless you and your roommate are in the same program, or in a learning community, you are likely to find that your schedules won’t be alike. You may not have 8:30 A.M. classes every other day, but perhaps your roommate does. If they need to get a good night’s sleep, refrain from keeping the light on or being disruptive. If need be, go to a friend’s room for the time being or take the time to catch up on your readings with a small reading light on as they go to sleep. If it were you, you would want the same. With this being said, whether your roommate is trying to sleep, study or even just hang out, do things such as making phone calls outside of your room – it’s considerate and they’ll appreciate it.


6) Make healthy choices

You may not have a healthy home cooked meal every day, but that doesn’t mean Carleton’s cafeteria won’t take your tummy smile. With the variety of food that Carleton has to offer, try to even out what is on your plate with different food groups from time to time (i.e.: meat, vegetables, and a carb). Also, make time for the gym. Even if you choose to walk on a treadmill for fifteen minutes, you’ll be glad you did. Exercising is a great way to relieve stress (you’ll see this come exam time when the gym is packed) and if you have the time for it, why not?

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