How to Confront a Bad Roommate

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Ah, bad roommates. At some point in our lives, we will probably all have a bad roommate. It will either be our friend that we never imagined was so messy, the relative that has an unbelievable disregard for privacy or the stranger that moved in when we were completely desperate. Either way, every roommate cannot be perfect, so when things get to be too unlivable, it becomes necessary to confront the other person. Of course there is a right and a wrong way to do this, and the wrong way can make things much, much worse (if that’s even possible), so here are some tips to make this more of a friendly discussion than a confrontation:

1.) Pick the right place and time. Don’t bombard your roommate at 2:00 in the morning just as they walk in the door from an all-night study session during finals week. Instead, schedule a time in the future to talk about the issues. And don’t worry about keeping it all secretive; chances are your roommate knows you both need to talk too. A good idea is to schedule it for a time when the both of you can relax, like Friday night after you both get home from work. That’ll give you the chance to talk things through and then even go out for a beer afterward.

2.) Say what you need to say. There is no point in having this discussion if you just casually browse over your points. If you’re upset about something, you need to address it. Otherwise, they might not even know it’s a problem, will keep doing it, and this meeting will have been completely useless. If you need to make a list, do that; just so long as you find a way to say what you need to say.

3.) Listen. Every story has too sides. Maybe they never load the dishwasher because they have no idea how a dishwasher works. No matter how silly it may sound, you have no idea what their backstory may be. Allow them a chance to explain their behavior, and then don’t get defensive if they have a few problems with your behavior as well. You’re not perfect either, you know.

4.) Be ready to compromise. Living with another person means you aren’t always going to get your way. However, you both can meet in the middle, so be ready to give a little bit in one area in order to get a little in another.

5.) Plan something for after. Some talks are better ended when each person goes their separate way for a night (which is completely understandable) and some conversations are best ended when each roommate goes out for a beer and gets over the whole thing. Planning for something to do will give you a way out either way, you just have to choose whether or not to invite them after your talk.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

Forgotten Questions for Screening Potential Roommates

So it looks like you need a roommate. Maybe you like the idea of paying less in rent and utilities every month or maybe you’re just sick of making funny jokes every night and having no one around to laugh at them. Either way, you’ve started searching for a roommate. Luckily, you’ve probably found a few potentials.

However, even though you’ll probably ask them the basic questions (do you have pets, are you a smoker, etc.), there are a few additional questions you need to ask before you truly decide to live with this person.

1.) Do you use any drugs? Asking “Are you a smoker?” covers the basics, but it’s leaving out quite a bit of other things. Marijuana is technically a drug, and even if you’re cool with it, if your roommate admits to using it that means they’re going to be keeping some of it in your house. Marijuana is still very illegal in many states, which means if it’s in your house you are also at risk.

2.) Are you okay with my pet? You might be okay with their pet hamster, but will they be okay with your 16 pound cat that has a tendency for ripping lids off of cages? Just as they have to be forthcoming, you have to be forthcoming as well. Otherwise you could have some serious issues on move-in day.

live lavish

3.) Why did you leave your last residence? This question is essential. Of course you are going to do a background check with every applicant (you are, right?), so this question will not only let the explain themselves if something unsavory were to come up, but it will also prove whether they are honest or not in the first place. And don’t let them get away with a vague, “Oh I don’t know, I just had to leave.” You have every right to know the details. Plus, you need to be aware of badmouthing; this is just like a job interview, and badmouthing previous employers is never a good sign.

4.) What are your other expenses? This might sound nosy, but the question is absolutely necessary. Your rent may be quite low for the area, but if they’re paying thousands of dollars off in student loans and credit card debt, your measly $300 a month might be the one thing they plan on skimping on every month.

5.) How do you like to spend your free time? This should give you an idea of what kind of noise/activity level you’re going to be dealing with. If they say they love to cuddle up with a good book and a cup of tea on their days off, that’s much different than the roommate that says they like to “have a good time” on the weekends.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

Should Guns be Allowed On Campus?

Hey Tumblr world, we’d like to know your opinion on this!

This is a great article talking about gun rights on campus. Meanwhile though, we’d love to get your guys’ opinions on the matter: should people be allowed to carry guns on campus? We’ve got a few pros:

Pros:

– In a situation like Virginia Tech or the movie theater shooting in Aurora, people innocent, sane people would also have a weapon to turn to in order to protect themselves and take down the crazy person with a gun.

– As the article mentions, there’s a difference between feeling safe and being safe. Many feel that if people were allowed to carry guns the environment would be safer overall.

Cons:

– College freshmen are the same age as high school seniors. Would you feel comfortable giving someone with the maturity level of a high school senior access to their own gun?

– There is a lot of drinking and drug use that typically happens on college campuses. We’re not saying everyone does it, but we’re definitely saying it happens more than it should. We don’t know about you but we don’t quite feel comfortable with a dorm party going on across the hall where alcohol and guns are both in the same room.

– Suicides are rampant during college years. Many students feel completely lost during this time in their life. Combine that with the feeling of failing a class and breaking up with your high school sweetheart, then throw a gun in the mix; would the suicide rate increase with better access to more lethal tools?

Of course these are just a few things we thought of off the top of our heads, so we’re looking for input! What do you guys think? Comment with your opinion!

So go for it: do you think concealed guns should be allowed on campus?

Renter Safety Issues Solved

Renting a home is one thing, but being a renter with a few of the issues listed below is just plain dangerous. Hopefully, if any of these things happen to you it will be nothing more than a mere headache, but just in case things get a little heavier than anticipated, here are a few ways to get yourselves out of the following situations:

1.) Unwanted guests. Far and away one of the worst parts about renting: the random people you have to deal with. If you have a roommate, that means at some point their brother, good friend from high school, old sorority sister or even “this really, totally awesome guy I just met at the bar last night” all have a free pass to your home. And if you don’t have roommates, you’re still going to have to deal with the occasional surprise home inspection (read your lease, it’s in there) or even an additional roommate if your landlord decides he needs an extra room for his uncle that was just released from rehab. I’m making it worse than it sounds, but you get the point.

So how do you protect yourself? Well first of all, make sure the important things are kept somewhere secure. That means anything you’d rather not be messed with (like your collection of old vinyl records) needs to be kept in your bedroom. Then keep it locked up. Door locks, safes, and padlocks can work wonders when dealing with random house guests.

2.) Sketchy appliances. Of course the first thing you should do whenever any appliance breaks is to notify your landlord. Most states have a “duty of repair” which requires them to keep certain appliances (like those used for heating, cooling, electrical, plumbing and sanitary, just to name a few). Keep a record that you reported the problem in writing, and make sure it’s dated as well. You don’t want to be stuck with the bill if you need to move out three months later and the refrigerator still hasn’t been fixed.

The main issue though, is to get the item fixed as soon as possible. A broken stove could result in a more dangerous situation, such as a gas leak. After a reasonable time frame (usually two weeks), you can take your complaint to local housing officials if your landlord hasn’t attempted to make any progress. You can also contact your landlord to tell them you will be hiring a professional to fix the damaged item and you will be keeping the receipt for reimbursement.

3.) A negligent landlord. Or, the problem is your landlord him – (or her) – self. Maybe they aren’t keeping up on any of their required duties, such as putting a new lock on your door, fixing the broken step on the front stoop or replacing the missing handrail on the fire escape. If this is the case, move! These things all directly affect your individual safety, and you deserve better!

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

Ways to Fight Winter Gloom

Now I may just call it “winter gloom” but let’s be honest; what I’m really talking about here is a little thing called seasonal affective disorder. You may even have it yourself and not even know it! How would you know?

Do you find yourself feeling a little depressed during the cold, winter months? What about when you happen to live somewhere that’s rainy all the time, like London or Seattle? It might seem silly, but it’s a real thing; some people just need more sun than others.

No really, I’m not even kidding! Seasonal affective disorder is a change of mood that’s brought on by decreasing amounts of daylight. That means short winter days are all it takes to trigger an episode. And if you’re already prone to having depressing thoughts, or already struggle with anxiety, a couple months of short, gray days (combined with the stress of final exams) can push you right over the edge. So how do you keep your head above water?

1.) Get out in the daylight while you can. SAD is caused by a lack of daylight, so when there is available daylight, get out there! Go for a walk, a drive, or just go sit in the park. Take a friend with you or go by yourself. Personally, I love going for a long drive; it’s the perfect way to clear your head!

2.) When indoors, position yourself near windows. Need to head to the library to do study for finals? Don’t bury yourself on the basement level, go up a floor or two and find a quiet study spot next to a window. You can even rearrange your dorm room to have your bed closer to your window so when you wake up in the morning the first thing you see is a little daylight.

3.) Exercise! Exercising releases natural endorphins that help you feel instantly happier. And all you really need is 30 minutes a day; plus you can always combine it with something outside.

Freezing temperatures make it so you’d rather stay indoors? No problem! Head to the gym (a school gym membership should be included in your tuition fees) and try and get a treadmill facing a window. Or just blast some of your favorite music in your dorm room and have a personal dance party for one. It still counts as exercise!

4.) Trick yourself. Surrounding yourself with pictures of the ocean or home during the summer time may sound like a futile attempt to make yourself feel better, but it really does work. After all, when you’re feeling homesick would you rather sit in a blank room, or one covered in pictures of friends and family? There’s a reason college kids line their walls with photos; it makes them feel better! Do the same with this: put calendar pictures of summer days in between your photos. It’ll be a wall of inspiration.

5.) Make a fun change. Changing it up in the drab of winter can bring a little excitement into your life. It doesn’t have to be crazy; just get a new haircut or try out a new bakery in town. A little bit goes a long way!

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spray, safes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lighting, fun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

Keeping Important Documents Safe During a Mishap

When you think of winter you probably think of snow angels, hot chocolate and Christmas break. However, winter is also well-known for other things, like icy roads, freezing temperatures and burst pipes. Plus, the holiday season makes it notoriously difficult to get ahold of people that need to fix your burst pipes or broken windows during the winter.

Now here’s the tough part: how do you make sure your important documents are safe no matter what? Sure, you’d like to think that nothing is going to happen, but if a pipe bursts in your dorm bathroom while you’re home visiting your parents how do you know everything is safe when water starts to fill the room? And how do you know everything is safe when workers come in to repair everything?

Well first of all, you need to identify all your important paperwork. There are a lot of things you may not think of as important, but if someone else got their hands on them they could sure do a lot of damage. Here is a quick list of things you should gather up:

            – Bank account information

– Student account information (pin numbers, id cards, etc.)

– Credit card information

– Medical and immunization records

– Insurance policies and information (including student health and car insurance)

– Any tax/investment information (including financial aid items)

– Birth/Marriage certificates

– Auto registration

– Citizenship papers and passports

– Social security card

– Contact information for important people

Now granted you are probably not going to have some of things anyway (who the hell has a copy of their immunization records?), but if you do have these papers gather them up in the same group.

Step 2 is to make sure all your important documents are gathered and kept in a secure location. Many of our dorm safes, for example, are waterproof, fireproof, and even come with double steel walls and cables capable of handling up to 650 pounds of pressure. That means they are incredibly difficult to steel or break into, and in case of a natural disaster they’ll stay sealed, keeping everything inside protected.

Of course your best bet would be to have two locations with copies of the information, in case something happens in one location that makes it impossible to access this paperwork. One safe could be in your dorm, another could be at your parents’ house. That would sure make things easier when they are filling out school related forms.

In addition, it might also be a good idea to keep computer files in your dorm safe too. Think of that 40 page senior thesis you’ve been working on…would you have a backup if your computer got stolen? What if a fire ripped through your dorm room, destroying your computer and your backup you had on your USB? Copy your report on a USB and put it in your safe. That way, even if you emailed it to yourself (trust me, I’ve been there when it won’t download correctly) you’re still in good hands.

For more dorm safety equipment don’t forget to check out our website at www.secureoncampus.com!

When You DO Need to Get Involved

There are times and situations when you just need to keep to yourself and not get involved. However, there are also other circumstances that make it necessary for you to stop whatever you’re doing and help out. These are some of these times:

1.) When someone is in danger. Now let me be very clear here, this does not mean that it’s appropriate to put yourself in danger, it just means that something needs to be done. If your friend is in a violent and dangerous relationship, for example, it’s not recommended that you march over to their house and give their significant other a taste of their own medicine (as much as we all would probably love to do that). Instead, you need to have a serious talk with your friend about what is happening behind closed doors. Naturally, this can be an incredibly difficult thing to talk about, so don’t pressure them for information. Simply let them know that you are there for them and then keep an eye out for suspicious behavior.

2.) Someone can’t take care of themselves. Let’s say you’re walking down the street and you see someone so drunk they’re stumbling in and out of traffic. Now of course it’s not your job to go get them, prop them up, take them home and nurse them back to health, but it is your job (as it is everyone’s job) to do something. Simply calling the cops and explaining the situation (you can even do it anonymously) is enough.

3.) When you’re unsure. This one can be debated, but I’d rather fall back on the “it’s better to be safe than sorry” mantra. For example, a few years ago there was an older woman who lived a few houses up from me. I knew her because my cat often went missing, and I always ended up knocking on her door asking if she’d seen him. One day, while out for a run, I noticed a man in his mid-40’s forcing himself into the house. I went and knocked on the door and no one answered, but I heard someone moving around inside. I called the cops and soon they were there talking to the man. Apparently she was out of town and this was her son, and she had forgotten to leave a key so he could get into her house. When she came back into town (and her son had left) she came over and thanked me for checking on her. Moral of the story: she was perfectly fine, but under different circumstances her life could’ve been in serious danger, and she truly appreciated that at least someone was looking out for her.

4.) When you’re the only one that knows anything. Many bad deeds happen in secret and behind closed doors and if no one knows what is going on things will continue the way they are. If you witness something that is wrong (a professor being inappropriate, a roommate blackmailing another roommate, etc.) speak up! Failing to do so does not keep you on the side of neutrality, it puts you on the side of the offender.

And once again, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com for plenty of personal safety equipment like pepper spray, personal alarms, dorm room safes and more!

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