Tips for Sharing Responsibilities with Roommates

Before heading off to college, many students look forward to the independence that comes with living away from their parents. Yet, while living with roommates can be a fun experience – especially if you share the same interests and have similar personalities – it can also be challenging.

Often, the greatest challenge lies in making sure everyone does their part to keep the living space clean. To avoid conflict, it’s important to come to an agreement as to how you’ll divide household chores. Here are some helpful tips for sharing responsibilities fairly.

  1. Hold a Roommate Meeting

Open communication is critical to getting along with the people you live with. There will always be disagreements and tension if you fail to discuss expectations and responsibilities for chores. To make sure you’re all on the same page, arrange a time to talk about apartment responsibilities when everyone will be present.

  1. Assign Each Roommate Chores

Start by compiling a list of chores that will need to be completed on a regular basis. This could include sweeping or vacuuming the floor, cleaning the bathroom, taking out the trash, and washing the windows, among other things. There may also be some tasks you decide to share — for instance, you may agree that you’ll all wash your own dishes.

The next step is to divvy up these responsibilities. You have two options: you can rotate chores (meaning everyone takes turns at doing everything), or you can each pick the chores you’ll do. The latter is a good idea if one of you dislikes a certain task but another person has no qualms about doing it.

Try to make sure each person is spending about the same amount of time on chores each week. None of your roommates should feel that the schedule is unfair or that they’re doing more housework than someone else.

  1. Pool Money for Cleaning Supplies

Another way to ensure tasks are divided as fairly as possible is to have everyone contribute the same amount of money for cleaning supplies. The simplest way to navigate this is to pool money and use the funds to purchase products as you need them. Bear in mind that you might all have different budgets, which may mean it’s necessary to compromise on quality for certain things. For example, try selecting generic brands for cleaning solutions and paper towels whenever possible.

  1. Create a Cleaning Calendar

Make it clear who is responsible for what (and when) by drawing up a calendar. A chalk or dry erase board is perfect for this, as it’s easy to change and you can erase chores once they’ve been completed.

  1. Be Flexible

Never demand that your roommates carry out chores at particular times. In fact, as long as the chore gets done, it shouldn’t even matter if your roommate is a couple days late — after all, you’re students with busy schedules. If you’re unhappy about how a roommate completes a chore, discuss the issue calmly or perhaps offer to switch chores.

Living with roommates is much easier when you all have similar expectations. Unfortunately, when you share a room on campus, who you are paired with often comes down to luck.

However, on-campus housing is far from your only option. You can also live the college experience in off-campus student rentals. London, Ontario, students have Foundry First, which offers a convenient roommate matching service. This means you’ll share a suite with roommates who have similar interests, and as a result, sharing responsibilities can be a smooth, hassle-free experience. Plus, since you’ll have your own room, you’ll only need to divide chores for keeping common areas tidy.

Should You Declare a Minor?

Declaring a major is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make during university, and therefore comes with many questions. One of the most common questions is whether or not you should also declare a minor. While you can’t graduate without declaring a major, declaring a minor is often optional.

Like majors, minors are concentrated fields of study. The only difference is that they require fewer courses to complete. While declaring one is just an option in many cases, some fields of study do require a minor for completion. If you have the option to choose, however, here are some factors you should consider.

Reasons to Declare a Minor

For some students, declaring a minor just makes sense. For example, if you’re studying education but planning to teach in a developing African country where French is the first language, minoring in French would be beneficial. In fact, many students planning to work internationally often choose to minor in foreign languages. It may also be helpful for students majoring in fields where translating important texts from foreign languages is commonplace, such as archeology or anthropology. Moreover, to ensure the ability to serve a broader range of patients, many pre-med students minor in Spanish.

Sometimes, a minor can provide versatility and prepare you for career challenges. In other cases, they open up additional career options. For instance, minoring in math as a computer science major could open you to future IT positions. You could also use a minor to narrow your field of expertise or specialization, cornering a niche position in your profession. Or, some minors, like liberal arts, could make you appear versatile and useful in many professional atmospheres. Thus, such a minor could improve your chances of getting hired for certain positions.

Minors often fit major fields of study, but in some circumstances, you can acquire a special permission to minor in whatever you want. So, a biology major could minor in art. Thus, declaring a minor could be an extension of your personal or professional interests. After all, many students wrestle with choosing the right major. Instead of changing your major later (which can create added stress and lengthen your time at college), simply declare a minor in your other field of interest. You’ll then be able to study your two most desired subjects.

Furthermore, completing a minor is much less rigorous than completing a double major. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort by declaring a major and a minor. If you decide later that you’re more interested in your minor, changing your major should be fairly simple. Of course, the choice should still be made with care and consideration, much like choosing the right Fanshawe off-campus housing.

How to Declare a Minor

The process of declaring a minor is simple and straightforward. It’s not formal like the process for declaring a major, but it should involve some research. Before attempting to declare a minor, research what your school offers, how the process works, and what circumstances require special permissions. Most of this information can be found in your school’s course catalog, but you should conduct some independent research on topics such as career prospects for specific minors as well. Additionally, consult your academic advisor for their opinion on declaring a minor, as well as tips on completing the application process.

Health Tips for College Students

Between classes and active social lives, many college students forget to keep themselves healthy. Indeed, the distractions of student life can make it easy to overlook healthy habits. But prioritizing wellness means you’ll be better able to keep stress at bay, as healthy students can attend all of their classes and accomplish more work. While it might seem difficult to engage in a healthy lifestyle while at college, there are a few simple habits you can start right now.

Clean and Tidy Up

Whether you live in a dorm or Fanshawe College student housing, cleaning your living space is a good habit to get into that will keep you healthy. One simple yet effective way to eliminate illness-causing germs is to clean your surfaces, doorknobs, and keyboards. Your bathroom and bedsheets should also be cleaned regularly as well, since a lot of germs accumulate in these areas, too.

Decluttering is also a great way to reduce stress. Most people feel anxious in cluttered areas, so cleaning will help you take a break from assignments. As an added bonus, you’ll be doing something beneficial for yourself and your roommates.

Get Sleep

You’ve probably heard it hundreds of times by now, but it’s especially true for overworked college students: sleep is important. Sleep quality affects nearly all aspects of our lives, including how we function on a day-to-day basis. If you’ve ever gone to class on limited sleep, you’ve likely seen firsthand how hard it is to retain any information. Getting quality sleep is absolutely critical to your success in college, so try going to bed around the same time every night to get into a regular schedule.

Exercise

Staying active should be part of your regular routine at college. Many students struggle to find time to exercise every day, but even just walking to class instead of taking the bus, and using the stairs instead of the elevator, can help to increase your daily activity levels. These small choices add up, and can even contribute to a better night’s sleep and increased cognitive performance. Exercise can also keep your immune system healthy so that you can fight off colds and infections more effectively.

Eat Well and Stay Hydrated

College students tend to reach for unhealthy snacks, especially when they’re staying up late to finish a paper; however, these snacks can make you feel worse in the long run and often contribute to weight-gain. Diet and nutrition are important for your overall performance in college, along with your emotional and physical wellbeing.

Also, if you find yourself sipping on lots of energy drinks throughout the day, it might be time to switch to water. It’s a simple fact: your body needs water to function properly, and caffeine has undesirable side effects like jitters and sleep disturbances. Drinking water may not be the first thing on your mind when you’re running late to class, but try to bring a bottle of H2O with you wherever you go.

Take a Break

If you’re really not feeling well, know that it’s okay to miss class for the day or study a little less until you’re feeling better. You should never ignore the signs of getting sick because doing so can often make it worse. In most cases, professors will be understanding about a missed class due to illness and will tell you to get the notes you missed from a classmate.

You should also take a break whenever you are feeling overly stressed. While you should never miss a class when you are physically able to make it, you can take breaks from your homework and essays to enjoy college life. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break and ask your roommate if they want to go for a walk. This will refresh you so that you can go back to homework with a clear head.

Benefits of Living Off-Campus

Moving off-campus and out of the dorms can be a challenging choice to make. Dorms provide comfort and convenience, and are a common choice among many first-year students. But college is a transitional phase perfect for exploring adulthood and living on your own. Consider these compelling advantages when deciding whether to move into off-campus student housing near Fanshawe College.

Added Space

Dorm rooms are known for being one thing: small. Sharing a room with one or more roommates can be cramped and difficult, especially in the limited space provided in a dorm. As you mature and accumulate more items that make your space feel more like home, you’ll want to consider getting a space of your own. Even if you choose to rent a room instead of an apartment to yourself, you can expect a space of your own that’s typically larger than the average dorm room.

Apartments also come with a kitchen, living area, and storage to make your life easier. Even if you have a roommate or two, the larger space will provide you with everything you need to live together comfortably.

An Opportunity for Life Experiences

An apartment means new responsibility, which can help to set you up for a successful future. After college, you’ll most likely be living on your own with no significant financial support from your parents. Having this responsibility will give you the small push towards adulthood that you’ll need after college ends. You’ll be able to fully experience new aspects of adulthood which you wouldn’t get in a dorm, such as budgeting, cleaning a larger space, and grocery shopping on your own.

Don’t forget that renting off-campus is also a great way to build credit and establish a rental history. If you’re a good tenant, it will show on your rental history and make finding an apartment or home to rent in the future much easier.

Money Savings

Believe it or not, off-campus apartments can be more affordable than living in dorms — as long as you know where to look. Spend plenty of time doing research to find an option that’s close to your college, but cost-effective.

Since you’ll also keep a closer eye on your finances when you rent, you’ll be more likely to scout out deals elsewhere, too. For example, you might get creative with savings opportunities when it comes to books, transportation, and groceries.

Independence

From curfews to guest restrictions, most dorms are known for having strict rules. As you become more mature, you’ll want to live in a place with fewer rules so that you can maintain your own schedule and freedom. Keep in mind that apartments do have general rules about pets, noise levels, amenities, and occupancy; however, these rules are very easy to follow, and you can still enjoy a night on the town without anyone policing you.

Access to Amenities

On-campus living is typically restricted to the campus itself and its surrounding areas. When you choose to live off-campus, a whole new world of amenities opens up. Many complexes offer free Wi-Fi, a study lounge, and a gym. You’re also closer to key attractions like parks, shops, and other hot spots that you normally couldn’t walk to from your dorm room.

For more information on the awesome suites at Foundry First, contact us!

How to Look at Time Management Differently

Every college student and hard worker understands the value of time management, especially in today’s fast-paced world. Of course, while there are many ways to manage your time effectively, not everyone is organized enough to practice them. Ultimately, what helps one person manage their time may not work for another. Thus, it’s important to consider all the different time management options when seeking ways to be more productive. Here are a few less-common—yet highly effective—practices for better time management.

Apply the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 Rule is all about prioritizing. Also known as the Pareto Principle, this rule suggests that 20% of your effort will account for 80% of your results. For example, if you have a to-do list of ten items, two of those items should be worth the other eight combined.

Have you ever attempted to do too many things at once, and realized that some tasks are far easier than others? That’s the Pareto Principle at work. Most people tackle the easiest tasks first, but when it comes to time management, this is actually the worst thing you can do.

Everyone is guilty of procrastinating every now and then—especially students. However, by doing the easy tasks first and putting off larger assignments (term papers, for example), you’re actually putting yourself at a huge disadvantage. The most important things get pushed to the last minute, robbing them of the time needed to reach their full potential.

To apply the 80/20 Rule in your life, schedule the 20% of your work consisting of larger assignments and tasks first. This way, you can dedicate your best effort and ample time to the most important tasks. In doing so, you’ll accomplish 80% of output in less time you would spend if you had put the other 80% first.

View Time Management as Energy Management

Let’s say you have a big exam to study for, but you also have other tasks to complete, such as laundry or cleaning your Fanshawe off campus housing unit. You may feel like getting the small projects out of the way first. Yet, all of these tasks add up, using certain amount of energy and leaving you with less energy for the larger, more complicated tasks. This is called inefficient energy management.

Instead of focusing on the least demanding tasks first, always start with the hardest, most energy-consuming things first in the morning. That way, you’ll still have the energy to finish up the smaller tasks later. Ultimately, this will help you maximize your productivity and reduce stress levels at night.

Become More Proactive

Being proactive is the best way to manage your time. Just because you have a clearly outlined to-do list doesn’t mean that you’re properly managing your time. By being proactive and not pushing off important tasks like studying or writing essays, you’ll be more prepared for school assignments while still allowing for a full night’s rest.

By thinking about your future, you can easily organize your time and start acting earlier. For instance, if you know you have an exam or a paper due on Friday, start the initial phases of the task at the beginning of the week. Even doing a little work each day will help you take a proactive approach, thereby reducing the need to pull all-nighters.

Making the Most of Your Time Off in the Summer

Summer is the season most college students dream of all year long. Plans for summer are sometimes made well in advance, while others develop last-minute. But with so much excitement surrounding this time of year, it’s easy to overlook some of the ways you can make the most of your time off with enriching, memorable experiences. Remember, summer is more than just playtime; your break is also the perfect opportunity for gaining valuable experience for your future career. Here are a few suggestions for maximizing your time off between semesters.

Travel

Some students are fortunate enough to have the means to travel during the summer break. If you have such an opportunity, don’t let it pass you by! Traveling with friends allows you to immerse yourself in different environments and learn about other communities. You can also catch up with friends who may attend colleges far away. Moreover, your trip doesn’t even have to be expensive—it can be as simple as putting together a road trip with a few sight-seeing stops along the way. Summer is the time to make memories, so pack your suitcase and join your friends on a trip that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Nurture Your Hobby

Oftentimes, demanding class work and job responsibilities force college students to put their hobbies on hold during the semester. Luckily, it’s easy to jump back in to your favorite pastimes once summer arrives. You might even consider indulging in a new hobby that you never had time to try during the school year. Now that your schedule is more flexible, look for a hobby that brings you joy, and consider trying something you’ve never done before.

Get a Summer Job or Internship

Of course, summer isn’t just for relaxing; it’s also the perfect time to do something productive, like finding a job or an internship. Some students are successful in finding jobs related to their field of study, while others take any position available to make ends meet. No matter which route you go, summer is a great time to make some extra money that you can use to get through the school year. Even if you take on an unpaid internship, you’ll develop new skills and have experience for your resume—both of which employers look for when hiring.

Continue Learning

While summer typically brings a break from studies, some students choose to continue with their courses. If your school offers summer courses, taking one or two will still allow you freedom to relax, but you’ll also get a leg up on the next semester. With that said, you don’t have to take a course on campus to continue learning. You can use online courses and free apps to develop unique skills or learn a new language to enhance your future career prospects. Plus, learning something new will keep you busy, even when you can’t find anything to watch on Netflix.

This summer, take a tour and book your room at some of the best student rentals London, Ontario has to offer. Call Foundry First to book your tour today!

Balancing Work and Going to College

Going to college can be challenging enough, but when you’ve got to juggle working at a part-time job, as well, it can be even more stressful, and it might even feel impossible at times. But there are ways to attend school, work part-time, and have time for fun – it’s all about keeping a balance. Take a look at our top three tips below for finding and keeping the balance.

Create a Realistic Schedule

Creating a realistic schedule is vital to keeping a good school/work balance. The key is to not stretch yourself too thin. Find a job that offers flexible hours that work around your class schedule, and be sure to schedule time for schoolwork, study, and leisure. A part-time job at a restaurant or retail store could be the perfect match for a full-time college student. These types of jobs offer flexible shifts that can often be adapted to your academic schedule.

Set Realistic Goals

When you have a full schedule, it can be difficult to stay on track and keep motivated. Setting short-term, milestone and long-term goals for yourself can remind you of why you’re working so hard and can help provide constant motivation. Set attainable goals for your job and your schoolwork. This will keep you aware of your achievements in both environments and may even make it easier to get a promotion or to improve your grades in the future. Goals are also a great way to see where you’re working too hard, or where you’re not putting in enough effort.

Know Your Priorities

It can be difficult to balance school and work if you’re unaware of, or neglect your priorities; however, If you live in an off-campus Fanshawe residence like Foundry First, you should find plenty of resources to help keep you on track. Before the semester starts or before you start a new job, make a list of your current priorities and how they’ll be affected by the new responsibility. Create a daily time log that includes separate lists of your priorities (e.g. work and class), important activities or duties that can be postponed if you don’t have the time (e.g. going to the gym or doing the laundry), and unimportant activities (e.g. watching television). Additionally, use a weekly calendar to track your time and help you estimate how much time you’ll have for extra activities after taking care of your responsibilities.

Whether you have a part-time job or are looking for one, put these tips into action to find and keep the perfect school/work balance.

Tips to Kick Off Your First Year of College

You have your classes scheduled, your bags packed, and your schools supplies ready, but you may still have a lot of unanswered questions about what to expect from your first year. This is something many college and university freshmen experience. Ensure your first year gets off to the best possible start with these tips:

Scout Out Your New Surroundings

If you’re new to the campus, and new to the area, make sure you have ample time to check out your new home and campus. Mark the locations of your classes, potential study spots, and any important shopping locations. Early scouting could help you save time and avoid stress later.

Bring or Purchase the Things You Will Need

While some residences will provide students with basic items, there are some things you may need to bring from home or purchase around or off campus. It’s a good idea to ask for a list of what’s provided before moving to your room or apartment, but some of the items you will likely need to bring include:

  • A bedside lamp

  • A small toolkit

  • A small trash can

  • Bedding, pillows, collapsible laundry basket, towels (bathroom and kitchen)

  • Laundry, laundry detergent and bleach, a mini sewing kit, and a lint brush

  • Storage bins, including under-the-bed storage trays

  • A fan

  • A desk lamp

  • Push pins for your bulletin board

  • A wall calendar

  • A dry erase board

  • Removable wall hooks or double-sided tape

  • Office and desk supplies

Whether you need to bring your own furniture will depend on the type of housing you’ve chosen. For instance, at our student rental, London students only need to bring clothing and personal items to decorate their rooms and suites. Our suites are furnished and fully equipped!

Check Add and Drop Dates

Surprisingly, missing the drop deadlines or attempting to drop courses after the deadlines are mistakes many freshmen make. Once you’re settled and ready to start your classes, check the add and drop dates for your institution. This will prevent you from getting stuck in a course you don’t like or that was added to your schedule by mistake. Moreover, if a course is too difficult, conflicts with others on your schedule, or just isn’t a good fit, dropping it before the deadlines passes could prevent a great deal of stress.

Learn Your Student Number

This tip may seem pretty unimportant, but knowing the number off by heart can save you time and hassle. You may need it to purchase textbooks, find your grades in the school’s system, and more. Plus, your professors and administrators will ask for the number occasionally as well.

Do Some Academic Planning

One of the best ways to prepare and avoid stress during the busiest times of the semester is to create a chart for your assignment due dates and upcoming tests or exams. Sharing comprehensive notes with classmates, joining a study group, or finding a study buddy are other ways to start the school year well and stay ahead. Finally, find a quiet, comfortable, relaxed place to complete assignments and study. Without a quiet place to study, you might find it hard to focus.

Now’s the time to start thinking about the upcoming school year and what you can do to prepare for a great first year!

Guide to Choosing Great Electives

General or free electives give college or university students the opportunity to take classes that spark and satisfy their interests. Whether these electives are additional courses in your degree program or some other area of interest, such as music or art, these slots can be filled with electives that push you outside your comfort zone and open you up to new experiences. For example, you could take a theatre arts course to help with shyness, self-esteem issues, or social anxiety.

Most colleges and universities offer a huge number of electives, so narrowing your list of options may be a little overwhelming. Streamline your search with some of the tips below:

Formally or Informally Audit Potential Classes

This is a tip that only works during or after the first semester, but it’s still a viable strategy for choosing electives. If you’re curious but unsure about an elective, you could audit the course – formally or informally. To formally audit a course, you must apply with your college or university. Upon approval, you will be able to ‘sit in’ on, and even participate in, the class. You decide when to attend the course lectures and how much time to spend in the class or on coursework. Formally audited courses will also appear on your transcript with no bearing on your grade point average (GPA). To perform an informal audit, ask a professor privately to ‘sit in’ on their lectures. Most will be welcoming and allow this form of auditing. The entire process can be looked at like touring an off-campus apartment, such as Fanshawe College housing, before moving in.

Consider Your Interests and Major

For ideas on electives to take, look at your own interests and your major. For example, if you’re interested in the solar system, consider taking an astronomy course. Classes that match your interests offer major benefits, including providing relief from your normal academic schedule. You should also look for courses that fit your major or components of your major or future career. Most majors are multi-faceted and offer interesting and exciting courses that can be taken as electives. In fact, some electives are tailored for certain majors. It could also be beneficial to take electives that can help you build ‘soft’ skills for your future career. Humanities courses are advantageous to business majors, while statistics courses are advantageous to social science majors.

Choose Your Electives Early

The best electives will go quickly, so be decisive and choose your electives as early as possible. If you don’t, you will have to choose from the ‘leftovers.’ Leftover courses are those most students don’t want to take because they’re notoriously mundane or difficult. Don’t let this happen to you. Choose courses that match your interests or that are highly recommended. For advice, check out online student forums, chat with former students or current upperclassmen, and ask your academic advisor for recommendations. Most academic advisors know which electives are popular or what will work well with your schedule. Besides, choosing your courses well before the semester begins leaves plenty of time to switch to others if your interests change.

If you’re getting organized for the upcoming school year but have yet to reserve your place in Fanshawe College housing, now’s the time to book a tour of our off-campus residence. Contact us today!