5 not so obvious rules that you might not know if you’ve never had a roommate before
Rule #1 Unless your roommate gave express permission, do not take out someone else’s clothing out of the washer. Do not put their clothing in the dryer or else you may accidentally shrink someone’s favourite sweater. This goes for both the residence laundry room and a shared washer in a rented suite or apartment. If you urgently need to do laundry, call and ask or hand wash that one shirt you want to wear on your date.
Rule #2 Pay your fair share. Contribute fairly if your roommates are buying toilet paper, hand soap, cleaning supplies, etc. Same goes for utility bills. You may feel that it’s unfair for you to contribute equally to the electric bill as your roommate who is constantly watching the TV, using the dryer and leaving the lights on while you air dry your clothing and tiptoe in the darkness. Just pay. (Then subtly educate your roommate on being more friendly to the environment. )
Rule #3 Not everyone is okay with you walking around naked all day. Even though all your brothers lived in boxers, different people have different comfort levels when it comes to clothing at home. Set guidelines with your roommates. If someone is uncomfortable with seeing too much of you, respect that and your roommates may set a rule that clothing on the lower body is mandatory in the common areas (kitchen, living room, etc). If you’ll living in the same one room dorm, seasoned room sharers would prefer that you don’t waste valuable bathroom time but if you just met yesterday on move-in day, ask your roommates if they are okay with you stripping down in the room or if they prefers that you all change inside the bathroom. However, you absolutely do not have the right to regulate what your roommates wears in their separate bedrooms or to sleep. As much as you want to tear up their puke green flannel, respect others’ right to choice. Remember that you’re not their mother.
Rule #4 Preen outside of the bathroom, especially in the mornings before class or when everyone’s getting ready to go out for the evening. Get yourself a little mirror and put on makeup, curl your hair, check your outfit for the 28th time with it. Guys, hair gel, side burn grooming and practicing suave eyebrow waggles can be done out of the bathroom. Be efficient in the bathroom so that your roommates don’t need to wait too long to use the toilet. If you’re pressed for time and your roommate is not coming out of the bathroom, you can use the kitchen sink to brush your teeth and wash your face. Just clean up well after you’re done.
Rule #5 Even if you all agreed that eating each others’ snacks and leftover food is okay, avoid eating special food sent by family or other loved ones if your roommate didn’t offer to share. Giant bag of chips from Costco: probably ok. Mom’s beef stew that combats your roommate’s homesickness: don’t touch. Cute panda shaped cookies from the boyfriend or girlfriend: don’t touch. This also applies to other items such as clothing. Do not steal the shirt your roommate’s boyfriend gave her to add to your outfit. That’s rude… and weird.
So you have a couple weeks before class starts, what can you do to prepare? If you’re an incoming first year, plan an adventure to explore campus before class starts.
- At home, log onto the Student Services Centre online and print out your timetable, download it onto your phone or write out all the buildings you’ll have classes in. Screenshot or print a campus map.
- Grab a friend or if you’re new, make a new friend! Multitask by catching up with your friend/getting to know your new friend while you familiarize yourself with the campus. It’s more fun and safer.
- If you’re a commuter, commute how you will commute to school. This will help you figure out how long it takes for you to get from your bus stop to UBC or how long it takes to drive.
- Now start from one end of the campus and start looking for the buildings you will be in. Help your friend find his/her buildings.
- Once you’ve located the buildings,
- Note other buildings too such as Buildings in other faculties are important too. Even if you’re a science student, note where the theatre, music, forestry, engineering, arts etc buildings are. When you make friends from other faculties (which you should) and they tell you to meet them after class, you’ll know where it is. In addition, there will be tons of interesting concerts, performances and free lectures that you need to take advantage of 🙂
- check out the Libraries and other potential study spaces
- Check out where to get meals and snacks
- If you haven’t already, pick up your UBC Student Card, compass card and book list at the bookstore. See how much your textbooks cost in store. You can buy your books now, look for used versions from previous students, buy them online from Amazon.
- buying at the bookstore saves time.
- Try checking to see if your books are at the Discount bookstore (in UBC Village). Books are brand new but cheaper than in the official bookstore.
- Used versions are generally cheaper than in store. There are many textbook buy and sell groups on Facebook.
- Craigslist is also a source for used textbooks
- Amazon, Chegg, other online textbook providers generally sell new and used textbooks for cheaper than in stores. You do have to wait for your textbooks to ship though.
- Connect with as many incoming first years as you can. Connect with as many upper years as you can.
- Pay your tuition on the Student Service Centre website.
- Apply for student loans if necessary.
- Set up direct bank transfer
- Cash in scholarships/bursaries vouchers at Enrollment Services in Brock Hall or mail them in to where ever they need to go. Do this early because processing time + snail mail can take several weeks. **Bringing photo id with you to Brock Hall is helpful. You cannot ask a friend to help you cash in your vouchers for you. You need to bring it in yourself.
- Scholarships/bursaries that you’ve received in cheque form can be deposited directly at the bank and don’t have to go through Brock Hall.
Relax and enjoy the rest of your summer. See you on campus in September!
What else should incoming first years do to prepare before class starts? Add your comment so others can benefit 🙂
Original: August 22, 2015
Update: July 13, 2016