So What’s The Deal With Housing Reselection?

At this point, you have hopefully received an email with your housing re-selection information. Here are 5 things you should know to set yourself up for success in your second year!

1. Housing contracts are due by 11:59 p.m. on March 3, 2017. Make sure yours is in on time!

 

2. Housing is being done by a lottery system this year! This means once the portal closes on March 3rd, you will be assigned a random number to determine the order you will select your room. No need to stress about this–everyone has an equal chance to select their room!

 

3. Roommates: Whether you absolutely loved your roommate(s) this year or not, with the housing re-selection process comes the time to figure out who you want to live with next year.

  • I have my perfect roommate! What do I do? In the housing re-selection portal you can request one roommate. The roommate request must be mutual–which means they will accept and approve the roommate request.
  • I want to live with 7 of my friends! What do I do? If you want to live with a group, during the re-selection process you will form a “group” and select one person to be the group leader who will assign you into rooms once your lottery number is reached.
  • I have no idea who I want to live with! That’s ok! The best piece of advice I was given regarding roommates was that, “you don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, you just have to be roommates.” Sometimes best friends won’t actually make the best roommates (sometimes they do though!). Also, if you decide you don’t want to have a roommate next year you will also be able to request a single room in the housing re-selection portal.

 

4. STEP: The Second-Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP) was definitely one of the highlights of my second year. Personally, my favorite parts about STEP were getting to know a really awesome professor on an individual basis, getting to know the other 2nd years in my cohort (and hear about all the amazing things they were doing), and completing my Signature Project (through which I actually got to go to Costa Rica!). Had I not participated in STEP, I wouldn’t have that great connection with my STEP faculty mentor nor would I have had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica (which definitely was a life-changing experience for me!). When you fill out your second year housing re-selection contract, there will be a checkbox for you to opt out of STEP. More questions? Check out the STEP website or talk to your Peer Leader!

 

 

5. Food! Did you know that as a second year you will have an additional option for a dining plan? Check out the dining website or the chart below to decide which meal plan is right for you for your second year! If your current meal plan is working for you, you can just go ahead and select it again for your second year (makes life easy, right?). Lucky for you, if you change your mind, you can change your meal plan until the 2nd Friday of next semester.

Component

Unlimited Scarlet 14 Gray 10

Declining Balance

Weekly Traditional Visit Unlimited 14 10 Not Included
Traditional Visit Exchange Not Included Included Included Not Included
Dining Dollars $100 $200 $200 $1,310
BuckID Cash Option to add $150 $150 Option to add
Available to all residential students? Yes Yes Yes Only available to second years or higher

Best Friends or Roommates: Same Thing?

It’s that time of year: time to decide who you will spend the entirety of next year sharing your precious personal space with and calling your roommate. For some, the decision may come easy. But for many, the decision feels dreadful. Day in and day out I see friends posting Buzzfeed articles on Facebook entitled, “20 Reasons How You Know Your Roommate is Your Best Friend” or “8 Reasons Why Living with Your Best Friend is the Greatest Thing Ever.” Living with your best friend could be a great decision. But I have also seen the opposite be true; many friendships fall apart after deciding to live together. Some people, regardless of how close of a relationship, will not make good roommates and that is okay! As it comes time to make your decision, I recommend having an honest conversation with your potential roommate about living preferences. What matters is that you will be good roommates and do not necessarily have to be best friends.

Roommate Picture

Two years ago I struggled immensely with the decision of who would be my sophomore year roommate. There were at least four different contenders, and I was closer with some than others. However, I ultimately decided to live with a friend that I was not nearly as close with (at the time) but I knew for a fact we would be phenomenal roommates. We lived next door to each other during our first year, and it was very clear when you walked into either room which desks were ours based on the level of organization and cleanliness. Also, I knew I would feel comfortable talking with her if an issue were ever to arise (which fortunately didn’t end up happening!). While some may not believe me, I can honestly say I don’t think we had a single disagreement all year.

Being able to come home at the end of a long day to a room that I knew would be clean and drama free was a major reason I found my groove during my second year. Living with a fellow introvert, I knew that I could come home and just stick headphones in if I needed alone time. She wouldn’t misunderstand my need for quiet, thinking I was mad or upset. She recognized that we both sometimes just needed quiet time and that was not a reflection on her. Other days, we had great times together just hanging out and being silly. It was through this mutual respect and understanding, that we became great friends over the course of the year and ended up traveling across the United States together. I am so thankful that I picked my roommate based on someone who I knew would make a compatible roommate because that created the foundation for a wonderful friendship.

While I was fortunate to have made a great decision, some of my other friends found their friendships deteriorate because living with a best friend ended up being harder than they thought. I was so thankful day after day that I could confidently say that I had such a stress-free living environment. After all, there are plenty of other stresses that come with being a college student. Do you want to add the stress of incessant roommate disagreements and arguments? Think through your preferences and communicate with your potential roommate before you sign the housing contact. Don’t forget to submit your housing and roommate preferences by Feb. 26!

Second Year Roommates

Sharing a confined space with another living, breathing creature–and I’m not talking about your fish or body pillow–can be difficult. In my first year, I was challenged going from my own room at home with a bed big enough for my entire graduating class to a room half that size and a bed that was barely big enough for my Brutus pillow pet and me. Add three more people–strangers–to that space and life has never been the same. Those roommates I was forced to share bunk beds with turned out to be some of my best friends, but that isn’t always the case.

For some, it may seem as though school started yesterday, and here we are ten weeks later and the test are getting more difficult, we’ve become dependent on taco salads from the RPAC for survival (or is that just me?), and students are already making housing plans for the coming year. Whether you’ve found someone you plan to live with the rest of your life or you are a Nervous Nelly worried that it’s too late to find compatible living buddies, these second-year housing tips may be useful for anyone:

There are few things in life you have to be selfish about, but housing may be one of those things.

Whether you are living in a cave, your parent’s basement after graduation (oh no!), or the 37th floor of the Empire State building, that is YOUR home. When it comes to deciding where to live and who to live with, make sure you are comfortable and can come to consensus with your roommate(s). The last thing you want is to spend a year of your life unhappy trying to please someone else. Never agree to live with someone or somewhere out of guilt. Those tough conversations are hard to have, but you will be much happier in the long run…trust me.

Best friends are not the best roommates and roommates do not have to be your best friends.

Because of what we see in pop culture, we often come to college with an unrealistic expectation that our roommates are going to be our best friends and we will all live happily ever after drinking hot chocolate and having pillow fights every night until 2 a.m. When this turns out to not be the case, the perfect vision we created in our heads of college is no longer and we start to compare our experience to others. The best roommates are simply people who have compatible living habits. You do not need to be best friends; you simply need to get along. In fact, you may want to also consider not rooming with your best friends, simply to protect your friendship. Although they may be a great companion, they may have living habits that get under your skin. Find that perfect balance between good friend and compatible living habits, and you have the perfect match!

The Golden Rule: treat your roommate how you want to be treated.

If you do not like to come home to passive-aggressive Post-It notes, do not leave them for your roommate. If you do not like moldy food in your living quarters, store your leftover taco salad in the fridge. If you like to go to bed by midnight, study at the library or down the hall in a common area when you roommate wants to sleep. Chances are that the small things that get under your skin get under your roommates skin as well. Don’t do anything to your room or your roommate that you would not want them to do to your room or you.

Address a situation when it arises.

If you find that your roommate is violating the roommate contract or doing something that you do not appreciate, address the situation as soon as possible in a face-to-face conversation. The sooner you address the situation, the better things will become. Gossiping with your friends down the hallway will not make the problem go away. The last thing you want is to build up anger or frustration toward them for something they may not even realize they are doing. These conversations may be hard to have in the moment, but can have positive impacts on the roommate relationship in the long run.

Share the snacks that Mom sends.

This is mega important for your friendship, especially when Rice Krispies treats are involved.

Deciding to go random for my roommate(s) was one of the best decisions I ever made and I do not know if our Ohio State paths would have crossed if it were not for the lovely housing office that put us together. As you can see, living with another person is hard. A lot of the time it takes patience and every once in a while a hard conversation, but by keeping these rules in mind, you are bound to have a great year!

4 Ways to Solve Roommate Conflict

During my first year, four of us lived together in Drackett Tower from different schools and with different backgrounds and majors and–as we soon found out–different habits. I was used to sharing a room and living with sisters, so I figured I’d be a pro.

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Although we finished our first year as good friends with some incredible memories and most of us are living together again this year (our senior year!), we also had some less admirable moments: late night arguments, food possessiveness, what “clean” looks like and–oh–one roommate’s infamous decision to wake us up at 4 in the morning during finals week. (We laugh about it now.)

From my own experiences with roommate conflict–and later, training as an RA–here are tips to make your year successful with your roommate(s)!

1. Honest and polite communication

In my first year I became sick with mono and slept through almost all of my morning alarms. In my heavily unconscious state I had no idea that I kept hitting snooze and my roommates interpreted this as my blatant inconsideration. As a result, one morning I awoke to a roommate throwing pillows and wrathfully yelling at me. I felt horrible because I was not aware of the problem and I could certainly sympathize with their frustration! Had I known sooner, I could have established a better plan for waking up.

Another time, I left my shoes by the door, which irritated one of my roommates. She told me this directly before it became a big deal. It was a simple fix to move my shoes and I appreciated that she would let me know, before sharing her feelings with our other roommates!

  • Be honest and upfront, but don’t blow the issue out of proportion. Let your roommate know that you realize it’s something minor, but that it is a pet peeve of yours or that it makes you feel uncomfortable.

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  • Be polite!! Don’t be so blunt that you come off callous and hurt someone’s feelings. By not wording your request carefully enough you can accidentally incite an argument or isolate yourself from any future constructive conversations.
  • Avoid going to hall-mates and friends before talking directly with your roommate. Direct communication (after giving a little time to work out how you will politely approach your roommate) is the best way to solve an issue and avoid gossip or hurt feelings.

*Disclaimer: If it’s a legal issue, dangerous or your roommate is unwilling to change, do not hesitate to talk to your RA!

is-sleeping-in-all-that-bad

2. Know when to pick your battles

Although it is good to be honest when something is bothering you, realize when an issue is worth talking about and when something is so minor or ridiculous that your request may come off as extreme.

  • Think how you would feel if that person asked you to change something about your own habits or behavior.
  • Note if you are the one who always becomes irritated and reflect on whether it’s due to the actions of your roommate or if you’re frustrated with something else (and blaming your roommate).
  • Be careful of the frequency of these requests—be fair and balanced whenever you come forth and address issues with your roommate!

3. Respect different views and compromise

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Problem: Your roommate brings a significant other to the room during weeknights, when you like to use the room to study.

Potential Solutions:

  • Work out a reasonable schedule or timeframe
  • Offer to do your homework in a study room; ask them to find a different location on other occasions
  • Definitely ask for a heads up

It is very easy to observe your roommate’s actions and think, “I would never do that.” Be careful of expecting your roommate to behave and think just like you. Judging your roommate and determining that your values are right and his or hers are wrong is a very dangerous barrier to cross.

You may have different habits and different values: this is okay! Learn to be courteous of one another’s differences.

Whether your roommate goes out a lot, has visitors over often, skips class or argues with his or her parents, you don’t have to agree with it, but you have to respect that person’s life choices.

Create a well-constructed plan of give and take; be prepared to compromise, and if you request something, be willing to make sacrifices of your own in exchange. This is your shared space, so both individuals have to take steps to ensure the comfort and freedom of the residents of that space.

4. Know how to create change

Take the first step in creating change and change your own mentality.

Do not expect to be best friends with your roommate. Oftentimes the best roommates are the ones who are simply capable of being respectful and courteous to one another, and that can start with you!

Instead of thinking of the ways your roommate is a bad one, think about how you will be a good roommate.

The Reality of Residence Life

Ready or not, it’s time to start packing (if you haven’t already)! Move-in day is just around the corner, and as the collection of soon-to-be-transported items turns into a mountain in the corner of your house, you may begin to wonder just what it will be like.

Will I like my roommate? I hope my RA isn’t super weird. How do the laundry machines work again?

As a third-year Resident Advisor (RA) I understand your apprehension, but have no fear! Stay calm and read on as I reveal the real story behind the Residence Life rumors you may have heard.

My roommate and I were BEST friends.

While your older sibling or friend may tell you this, that doesn’t guarantee that your experience will be the same. You might hit it off with your roomies, but in most cases they may not become your new BFF. That is more than okay! You don’t have to hang out every minute and share all of your thoughts and feelings in order to be good roommates. At the end of the day, having a successful relationship with your roommate(s) is all about communication and compromise.


Sharing bathrooms is a nightmare.

I’ll admit, sharing a bathroom is not an ideal situation, but you would be surprised how it helps you to build community and feel connected to others on your floor! Community bathrooms are cleaned every weekday by the housekeeping staff, and nothing bonds you with another like brushing your teeth together in the morning!

It was so loud whenever I tried to nap or study.

Every residence hall on campus has standard quiet hours from 9 p.m .to 7 a.m. on weekdays and 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. on weekends. That means that during this time, you must be quiet and respect others in your community or the RAs may document you for a noise violation. In addition, there are 24-hour courtesy hours, which means at any point in time you can ask a fellow resident to quiet down and they should be respectful of your request.

quiet hours

The RAs love to get residents in trouble.

While documentation is an important part of every RAs job, I can say from experience that very few of us enjoy finding our residents in violation of the residence hall policies. It is a common misconception that RAs are the police of the building. The real story is quite the opposite. Most RAs take their job very seriously because they care about students and their success. Your RA is likely a wonderful resource who can connect you to faculty, events and organizations on campus that will you help you grow academically and as an individual.

As you can tell, residence life is full of opportunities that will help you to enhance your Ohio State experience! While the list above highlights some of the myths you may have heard, it doesn’t scratch the surface on all of the amazing aspects of living on campus! I encourage you to take advantage of the people, programming, support and free food (yes!) offered to you throughout this year, and to approach move-in day with excitement as you begin your journey at Ohio State.

free food

29 Bits of Wisdom For Your First Year

Before you move onto campus in about a month, think about what you want out of your Ohio State experience and let these bits of wisdom help you create an amazing first year.

1. Never let Facebook be the ultimate judge of someone’s character | Do not believe everything you see. Just because someone lives (or posts) differently than you does not mean he or she will be a bad person.

2. Sleep is so, so good | It’s important to take care of yourself. All-nighters will not help you pass an exam because in reality, the majority of the time you will be too tired to think straight.

3. Focus on being a good roommate, not a best friend | Concern yourself with being a considerate roommate and don’t expect to be his or her best friend. You can still be good roommates and have a great living experience together if you’re simply respectful and courteous.

4. Communicate | With roommates this is especially important. Nothing will ever get resolved unless you have honest and open discussions.

5. Get to know your professors | They are here to help you learn and grow. Talk to them and ask for help.

6. Don’t do laundry on Sunday night | Try selecting a different day and time when more machines are available.

7. Bring an umbrella.

8. Ask for help | There are so many people at Ohio State that want to make your experience amazing. Help is available, just ask!

9. Be yourself! | Why be someone else when you can be you?

10. Surround yourself with great people that will push you to your best, celebrate you, and pick you up when you are down.

11. Call home.

12. Wash your bedding/sheets and blankets.

13. Meet new people | People want to make friends but are often too scared to make the effort.

14. Keep your Facebook appropriate | It’s the world wide web, y’all.

15. Don’t leave your belongings unattended | They may not be there when you return.

16. Let yourself be a first year student | Your first year of college will be amazing and full of fun programs, just for you.

17. Take pictures.

18. Be smart with money | Create a plan and stick to it! The Wellness Center in the RPAC can help you!

19. Stay healthy | Watch what you eat and go to the gym (great stress relief, too!).

20. Reflect daily | Make sure you are making an effort to stay on track with physical, mental and emotional health. Do not let a breakdown be your first indicator.

21. Do not let stereotypes decide your feelings about people | People will surprise you in both good ways and bad.

22. Take time to be alone | You will need the time to decompress and chill.

23. It is okay to go to a dining hall and eat alone.

24. Cheer for the Buckeyes | Whether in athletics, residence halls, or our classes – be there to support your team and your entire community. We are all in this together.

25. Check your syllabi | Keep track of your assignments because your professors will not always remind you about them.

26. Get an agenda/planner/calendar | It will help you keep track of your life and help you manage your time.

27. Be silly | Get out there and be awesome! Order pancakes, chicken fingers, and a milkshake at Sloopy’s every so often, talk to the people in your class, and dance like there is no tomorrow!

28. “Don’t be scared to walk alone, don’t be scared to like it” | This lovely lyric from John Mayer speaks volumes. You are more independent at college and have the opportunity to do what makes you happy and study what interests you. Be your own person and don’t be afraid of the changes you will make in your life (for the better of course).

29. You decide your experience | Make wise choices and be all that you want to be. Don’t wait for something amazing to happen to you, go make it happen yourself.

Stay tuned for July 14 when Brandon will write about 31 Ways Your First Year is Like Your Favorite Flavor of Ice Cream!

6 Tips for Second-Year Housing

You’re in your second semester. Everyone is already talking about where they want to live next year. Whether you’re completely clueless or have it all figured out, here are six things to think about as you plan for your second year:

1)  WHERE will you live?

You probably know the three keys to real estate: location, location, location. And you know better than I do about where you’d like to live. Two particular things I hope you’ll think about:

Connectedness to campus. When I was a second-year student at Ohio State circa 2008, I lived in an apartment East of High Street.  Although I was a 7-minute walk from campus, I felt less connected to the campus. I was no longer surrounded by hundreds of other students like I was in my first-year residence hall. It took more effort to travel to and from campus for class. I hadn’t realized how living on campus is great for staying connected, making new friends, and maintaining a large support network in your home (residence hall). You can still do this when living off campus, it just takes more effort (i.e. get involved!).

Safety. If you are unfamiliar with an off-campus area, check out the police crime reports for that area before signing a lease.

2)  WHO will you live with?

Perhaps by now you’ve figured out how to live with a roommate (if you live on campus). Yes, it can be stressful to share such tiny space with a stranger. You’re probably itching to have your own bedroom.

Lucky for you, upperclassmen residence hall options often contain more space and amenities than a traditional first-year room. If you make the leap to live off campus, you will surely have more space. With more space comes more room for problems to arise. I speak from experience when I say that seeing your roommate’s 4-day-old dirty dishes in the sink will drive you crazy. Also, a disagreement on the location of toothpaste in the bathroom somehow becomes the fight of the century.

Just because you move to a bigger place doesn’t mean the roommate problems will go away. They will continue, but you will improve your ability to solve them. The university can also help you find roommates.

3)  HOW will you pay for housing? How MUCH will you pay?

Residence hall expenses will be paid through your tuition and fees bill once per semester. Do you have the funds (whether it’s loans, aid, or pure money in da bank) to cover this twice a year?

With off-campus living, you will have several bills to pay on a monthly basis: rent, electric and/or gas, cable/Internet, sometimes water and trash. You will likely need a checking account and reliable source of funds (i.e. money in da bank) to pay these expenses every month.

Sure, living on campus is a bit pricey.  But consider the many benefits (safety, proximity to classes, activities, sense of community, meal blocks) and decide if those benefits are worth the cost.

When living off campus, your utility bills will change with the seasons. Do your research about these off-campus living expenses.

The words spoken by many Ohio State students after the Polar Vortex of January 2014.

4)  WHEN will you live there?

Pay attention to the move-in date (on-campus) or lease start date (off-campus). Consider any factors (e.g. summer job, fall commitments) that might affect your ability to move-in at the start date.

While residence halls close in the summer, most off-campus leases include the summer months. Check your lease for policies regarding moving out and subleasing (if necessary).

5)  RESPONSIBILITY…groannnnn

Living off campus means you must assume new responsibilities: cooking, cleaning, paying bills, and understanding the legal obligations of signing a lease.

Learning to cook for yourself is a skill that’s perfected with time and experience. Heck, I’m 25 and I still set off the fire alarm in my apartment when I use the oven sometimes (#truestory). But living off campus or in a residence hall such as Neilwood Gables) will require you to use a kitchen.

And seriously, that part about paying bills and legal stuff: signing a lease with your name means you are the adult responsible for the place you are living.

6)  Take ACTION!

University Housing contract renewals are available beginning Saturday, January 25th. Check your university email for more info.

Consider joining the STEP program.  Not sure what STEP is?  Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post dedicated to the STEP experience.

If you decide you’re living off campus, use offcampus.osu.edu as a starting point for finding a place. If you haven’t already started looking, do so ASAP – off-campus places in the University District will fill up fast.

If you’ve already signed a lease, get your plans in order.

Stay warm this weekend!