Relationship Goals: Tips and Tricks for Community Living

Get rest, one way or another.

There are a plethora of stimuli in residence that all team up with one goal in mind: to not let you sleep.  Your neighbour might be playing music, you roommate might have their desk lamp on, or people might be talking outside your door in the hallway  There are better ways to get some shuteye than throwing a football at your snoring roommate, and so let’s dive into some tips to help you sleep in residence. 

  1. Wear ear plugs to bed.  It may feel uncomfortable at first if you’ve never done it before, but they block out lots of muffled noise to afford you the ability to sleep. 
  2. Play white noise.  Have you ever heard of fighting fire with fire?  If there is too much noise coming from the hallway or your neighbour’s room, play more noise to drown out the voices or music that is not letting you sleep.  There are endless white noise videos on YouTube or playlists on whatever music streaming app you use. 
  3. Call the front desk.  If it’s after 11 PM on weeknights or 1 AM on weekend nights and people are being too loud for you to sleep, feel free to call the front desk.  They’ll send someone by to remind your floor mates of quiet hours and you get to remain anonymous. 
  4. Alter your sleep schedule.  If your class schedule allows, you might consider shifting your sleep and wake times later in the day to accommodate for a generally later lifestyle in residence.  If your first class isn’t until 10:30 AM, you can go to sleep at 1 AM and still get that much-needed 8 hours of sleep. 


Make sure you and your roommate are on the same page. 

Different people have different habits.  I, for one, love a cold room.  I’m super happy to wake up with a chilly nose and wear a sweater indoors.  I understand, however, that my temperature preferences might be a little extreme and therefore I knew a happy medium had to be reached with my roommate when we were filling out or roommate agreement.  My roommate wanted the room to be warm enough to get out of bed in the morning in the dead of winter and be comfortable without the sheets over him.  So not surprisingly we both adjusted out habits and the thermostat to a normal temperature of about 21 degrees.  Now that I’ve got you hooked with an extremely fascinating story about my not at all mundane roommate quarrels, let’s consider some other things you and your roommate/suitemates should discuss before the year gets underway.  Sleep schedules, having people in the room, cleanliness, fragrances, music while studying/sleeping, class schedules, and personal space are all things that you should discuss with your new roommate to ensure you are both on the same page.  Take the time to fill out the roommate agreement because it covers most things that will benefit your relationship with your roommate and consequently your experience in first year. 

If you do nothing else, wear shower sandals. 

This may apply more to students living in traditional style residence but regardless of where you live, if you’d like to avoid stepping in a freaky fungal fiasco, read on.  The washrooms in residence are used by a lot of people.  Despite the frequent cleanings courtesy of Facilities Management, they can still become dirtier than you might like between scheduled cleanings.  If you’re normally used to very clean countertops and sparkling chrome taps, you might notice a little of a transition period in getting used to clean but lived in washrooms.  While you can do things like put your toothpaste on a rag on the counter, lay toilet paper on the toilet seat, and wear sandals into the shower (all totally normal), the best thing to do might be to commit to getting used to messier surroundings.  It’s a part of community living and a healthy experience to learn to be a little less fussy about it all. 

Have snacks in your room, or starve. 

I eat before going to bed.  If I don’t eat, I don’t sleep.  You can imagine then, that since the caf closes at 11 PM, I frequently found myself having to go to bed hungry, or order pizza, a habit my wallet was not fond of.  It took me a long time to realize that I can just throw a couple snacks in a drawer and never go to bed hungry again! 

Set floor expectations and give your new floor mates the benefit of the doubt. 

One of the things that is so great about living in residence is that you become part of a mosaic community.  What I mean by that is that every individual on your floor is coming from a different background, with different lived experiences, and different views and opinions.  The result of all these strangers coming together is a cohesive community that is greater than the sum of its parts.  A downside to this is some things will be basic knowledge to some, and novel to others.  Take some sexual orientation-derived slurs for example.  Some students will have heard and used that language without the ramifications ever being pointed out to them.  Residence is not a place to use derogative slurs but some people have to be taught that, and likely never used them with negative intent in the first place.  Expectations go beyond the language deemed appropriate for use in residence, your floor can set expectations around washroom policies and lounge use as well.  The more you can come to consensus on floor-related things, the better everyone’s experience will be down the road. 

Respect ALL the staff that works in residence 

Say hello to the caretaker, ask the staff serving your food how their day has been, hangout in your Don’s room, and wave to the front desk clerk.  Being nice to people never hurts, and will make everyone’s experience living in their new community that much better.