Dorm Room

The Basics of Being a Good Roommate

20100407students4663Almost every college student has their fair share of roommate horror stories. What most people don’t realize, however, is that they probably have some not so great roommate qualities themselves. But don’t fear, it’s not difficult to be a good roommate! Here’s a list of roommate stereotypes, and some tips on how not to be labeled as one of them.

Pig Pen: This is almost exclusively applicable to guys. This gross person can usually be found eating in bed, or right behind his giant trash pile on the floor. Be considerate of your roommate and throw your trash in the trash can. Also, take the trash out. Otherwise, the garbage will overflow the and inevitably attract bugs….believe me, it happens all the time.

Music Show-off: Every dorm floor will have at least one of these. You can usually find them in their room bragging about their powerful sub-woofer that can shake the building, or showing off their brand new album. Please, for the love of God, be considerate of everyone else on the planet. Whether it’s quiet hours or not, there is no reason that everyone in the building needs to know what song you’re listening to. Only play music loud enough for you to hear, and if your roommate’s trying to work, or just relax, turn the volume down.

The “Borrower”: I get that it’s OUR room, but unless you ask to use something that isn’t yours, it’s not cool to use it. This rule can be completely disregarded if you’re very good friends with your roommate, in which case, do whatever you want. However, if you’re really just roommates, or acquaintances, take the time to ask before you borrow. It’s really just common courtesy.

Just remember, people aren’t always going to be exactly who you want them to be. So just relax, go with the flow and try to accept your roommate for who they are. Unless of course they’re all three of these examples in one. In which case, you should probably go ahead and move out. Have any awful roommate stories? Share them in the comments section below!

Easy & Effective Workouts That Can Be Done In Your Dorm Room

So you’re ready to get fit? Good for you! The hardest part of any workout regime is convincing yourself that you’re ready to make the commitment. It’s often hard to drag yourself to the gym. But whatever the excuse may be, “It’s too far, it’s too cold, it’s raining, I’ll workout tomorrow”, you just have to get up and go for it. Want to know the best part? Sometimes you don’t actually have to go anywhere! Your dorm room can double as a gym, especially in these upcoming colder months. As a result, you are forced to throw the excuses out the window and prepare yourself to sweat.

Here is a list of some easy and effective workout moves that will get your blood pumping, and your body tone in no time—all without leaving your comfort zone, or stepping foot in a gym!

What you need: Dumbbells, water bottle, and preferably a little pump-up music (to get you in the mood!) No dumbbells? No problem! Grab two water bottles or two cans of soup—same difference!

Side Bends
Here’s a personal favorite of mine—and a great place to start if you want to work on that pesky midsection! Grab one of your weights (or water bottles) in your right hand and stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your right arm at your side. Put your left hand on your hip, elbow facing out. Lean to your right, letting your right arm (with the weight or water bottle) hang to just about your knee or mid-thigh. You should feel a slight pull or stretch on your left side. Return to the starting position. Do 25 reps and then switch sides.

Pushups
No surprise here, but pushups are a sure fire way to feel the burn. They are difficult, but a great exercise to get familiar with and a good tool to tone those arms and chest. Keep your back straight and hiney held high. If you can’t grasp the full pushup right away, do a modified pushup, starting on your knees. Be sure to lower yourself so that your elbows form 90-degree angles. When you come up, extend fully. Do 10 to 20 for starters to test your comfort level. Start slow and take breaks if you need to!

Planks  (With mild alterations!)
So these exercises are a bit of a doosie but really worth your while. To start get into the pushup position and form a triangle with your hands.  Keep your back super straight and hold.  In no time you should feel your midsection working hard! To make planks even more beneficial try these variations!

1. First, try alternate shoulder taps. While in plank position, lift right hand and touch your left shoulder. Return to plank. Next, lift left hand and touch right shoulder and return to plank. Do 20 total taps.

2. The second plank exercise involves curls. Break out your water bottles. Start with the water bottle in right hand, while in plank and do 20 curls. Switch sides, and do 20 curls with left hand while in plank.

3. The third plank exercise involves kicks. While in plank, lift right leg slightly off the ground. Kick up, then lower leg almost to the ground—but don’t touch it. Repeat with left leg. Do 20 total kicks.

Mini-Squat Kicks
For this exercise, start with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Bounce down, then come up and kick to the right with right leg. Return to center, bounce down, come up and kick to the left with left leg. Do 20 total kicks.

So there you have it—a short and sweet routine that will leave you feeling great! If you want to kick it up a notch repeat the total routine 3 times—we want you to really feel the burn!

The final tip I have for you, if you aren’t too exhausted, is to bundle up and go for a walk! Doing moves in your dorm room is a simple way to work out, but nothing compares to a brisk walk to get those legs moving and take in a bit of fresh air.

-Ring Queen

I’m reading DK Guide to Public Speaking

Bounce Back from Winter Break!

It’s hard to acknowledge that a whole month has passed during Winter Break and many students will try to put off the lingering date of the first class back for as long as they possibly can. But eventually you have to order books, make travel plans, and pack to head back. So how can you bounce back from your winter fun and make the most of your return to the land of college? There are a couple ways to cope with the looming change of pace that you are about to encounter— some may be more productive than others. One option would be to deny the inevitable, kick and scream and lock yourself in your childhood room. It should be noted here that 1. I highly doubt that will work, and 2. Any college “cred” you’ve earned from your parents since you went away might go flying out the window. There has to be another way—A way to return to school without sadness and roaring and ready for yet another semester.

If you follow these few steps, your transition from sleep-ins and free time to textbooks and dorm rooms should be a tad smoother. Remember, break may be fun, but there are plenty of advantages to being back at school too—think cleaning room standards, freedom, curfew (or lack thereof), and staples of a “college” food pyramid. So grab a pen, a piece of paper and break out your rusty note taking hand so you can jot down the important tidbits of getting ready for spring 2012.

Tip #1: Spring Cleaning is not a dated concept
One of the best ways to get ready for back to school—college age or not—is to clean up and clean out. To better prepare yourself for school get rid of clutter and old stuff. Do you have old clothes, shoes, papers, notebooks taking up mountains of space at home and in your dorm room? Make a pact to downsize and start fresh. Throw away old notebooks, donate and sell back old books, and go through old clothes to see what you wear and what you don’t. I can speak from personal experience in the cleaning department. Every time I come home from break I clean out my closet and do a goodwill run. It’s not necessary to do it every break, but let me tell you, it is a huge relief to go back to school feeling like you have your room in order and last season’s drab duds put to better use. Then, when you get back school you are left with only the stuff you wear and use on a regular basis! It makes such a difference and will leave you feeling excited to get going with the semester.

Tip #2: Treat yourself
So you’ve made the effort both at home and at school to de-clutter and simplify, now it’s time to pat yourself on the back and add a little sparkle to your newly cleaned up life. Treat yourself to new school gadgets—a bag, laptop cover, or flash drive—or maybe a fun new outfit that you can’t wait to wear all over campus. For me, I got new kicks—All Star Low-top Converse sneaks—to spice up my wardrobe and convince myself I’m ready to hit the books, looking good and feeling good too!

The same goes for school supplies! Nothing says, “I’m ready for class” like pens and notebooks, all shiny and new! Maximize all that spring-cleaning you did, and reward yourself with a little sparkle and pizzazz for your upcoming courses. By buying new accessories  you will help ease the stress of changing up your routine, and will buffer the boredom that accompanies the start of class. Everyone loves pulling new school supplies out of your tote, and lining up all of your prettiest pens and highlighters to impress the professor! In my opinion, the new school sparkle alone is exciting enough to get me back to class—but that’s just me.

Tip #3: It’s a date… so mark it
Even with the new razzle dazzle pencils, post-its and a clean room ready to go, there can still be a lull in excitement to get the semester started. So the next tip I have for you is get a new planner. Now most calendars end in December (obviously) leaving you room for an upgrade. However, some agendas keep right on rolling through the New Year. It’s up to you, and your organizing preferences of course, what you do next, but here’s my advice. Get a new planner, or agenda and start fresh. Mark all the dates of things coming up in the semester, and even the summer—maybe it’s birthdays that get you going, or formals, or even graduation, but mark it all down! It is way easier to get through class and the semester if you have things to look forward to. Mark down the fun stuff (like I said, birthdays, parties, date night etc.), but also the academic dates—midterms, finals, career fairs, exams, the like. Having everything down on paper will give you a sense of what’s to come and will help you keep on track. Now, if you want to have a little extra fun with this assignment, check the web for fun events going on in your area. Maybe there are some concerts you want to save up for, or a movie that is scheduled to come out, a sporting event you can’t live without seeing, etc. Plan ahead and write it all in your planner. Visualizing is a great way to set goals, make plans, and prepare yourself for what’s to come.

Tip #4: Spring Break bodies are not just for Spring Break…
Now as cliché as it sounds, getting fit is a great New Year’s resolution. It’s easy to over eat and cut back on the exercise routine during break because you can always get serious “next year”. Well the New Year is here, and getting fit is not only a great way to start out the year, but also a great way to start the semester! Have you seen Legally Blonde? If you’re like me, you’ve seen it at least a bagillion times so here’s a little a quote you should remember: “Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands”. Most of this quote applies to us college co-eds–endorphins will make you happy and give you more energy to run around campus with your books and what not, and hopefully, for most of us, suppress the urge to shoot anybody. Let’s hope.

But seriously, exercising can help make the saddest of days just a little happier, and put a much-needed pep in every step. It’s the preconceived notion that exercise makes you tired, but in fact, it does the exact opposite! Even if you aren’t into hard core cardio or intense weight work outs give your body some much needed movement. Even walking to the end of campus and back just to get some steps in is a good way to ensure you aren’t staying stationary for too long. You will be able to focus and get more schoolwork done if you aren’t sluggish and tired. Plus, it won’t hurt your spring break plans to tighten up that figure of yours just for fun—no beach required (although booking a trip wouldn’t be bad for your motivation either!)

So all in all, it’s important to remind yourself of all the little bonuses of being back at school. Think positively and remember all the fun times, study parties (and real ones) that are in store for the semester and try to lose the ‘tude when it comes to moving back in. You will love being back as soon as you get reacquainted and settled in. And hey! If all else fails, make plans for the weekend as soon as you get back so you have something to immediately celebrate!

-Ring Queen

I’m reading An Introduction to Literature