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A newsletter for you, the college student

who wants to learn how to do

everything better, easier or cheaper. Fall 2019 |

Living with a roommate

How to be a better RA

Living situations can be stressful when trying to share a space with someone who you may not be compatible. With these interpersonal relationships though temporary can cause massive amounts of stress and sleepless nights. To avoid the awkward conversations or quarrels here are two simple but big steps one can take to better a living situation, and to hopefully gain a friend rather than a headache.

RAs are not always well liked, and they are not the college stars, but they are always there; they do the hard work and get the job done. Resident advisor responsibilities vary from school to school but the core few stay the same: do bulletin boards, talk to your residents and monitor the building. Some of these things come easily to them and some do not. Here are some ways to master the art of being an RA.

By: Ethan Hall

By: Lacey Ballard

Bulletin boards

For some, bulletin boards are an exciting job. It allows them to stretch their creative muscles and show what one can do with just their two hands. For others, it is a nightmare. Take resident advisor Parker Mitchell, for example. He hates doing bulletin boards because he is self-proclaimed “not the most creative guy around,” however, over the past three years of being an RA he has picked up some t i p s and tricks on how to be creative without looking sloppy. (Cont. on page 6)

Get Involved

On campus activities really shorten the day and give you something to look forward to. Being together in a sports setting also benefits the relationship by bringing a new team quality to a rooming situation. My first suggestion would be to join an intermural sports team. It is important to get out of the house together because being cooped up can hurt even the greatest relationships. Create bonds beyond the household that may bring other acquaintances into the picture to potentially add mutual friends. “Softball with the boys made me look forward to Wednesday nights,” (Cont. on page 7)

Photo by Lacey Ballard Graduate Assistant Cody Allen


1a. How to be an RA 1b. Living with a Roommate 2. Organization for dummies 3. Organization for dummies (cont.) 4. Should I live on campus? 5. Should I live on campus? (cont.) 6. How to be an RA (cont.)

Photo by Caroline Farrington

7. Living with a Roommate (cont.)

A messy study space

By: Caroline Farrington

The perfect bedroom is vital in college for a productive year. Having a space that brings you joy with your own creativity will create a safe environment for you to be yourself. At times school can be challenging so your room should aide as your space to get away from stressful elements such as homework or class. Keeping your room organized and clean can have a big effect on the tasks you accomplish in school. Keeping your room neat in a sense keeps your mind neat, relieving stress. Here are my tips to keep your room a healthy space for a productive and stress-free school year.


When starting the school year you tend to grab all of the essentials that keep you organized. A backpack, agenda, and notebook keep you organized with your school work, so your room should cater toward keeping things organized at home. Having a desk that you can work from separates school from sleep. A lot of people do their homework in bed and tend to not get a lot accomplished because your bed makes you relaxed. The American College of Healthcare Sciences gave three reasons why you should never do your homework in bed: It limits focus, decreases productivity and hurts your sleep. At a desk you are focused on your work and more likely to get your work done. Another way to keep your room organized is by having labeled 2

bins for storage. Interior Designer Kelly Rodgers from Sound Furniture told me that storage is everything in your college room. “This is going to be your home for a year, so storage is key, so everything needs to be planned around maximizing room.” An example she had was cool baskets under your bed to add a punch to the room but operate functionally as well. I keep a bin under my nightstand to hold my books for when I want to read at night. A good idea for items to place in bins under your bed is things like older books or seasonal clothes. Compact storage is a great way to keep your room neat and minimal. Photo by Caroline Farrington


Organization for dummies


The aesthetic is what makes your room your favorite place in your house. Everything you bring into your room has a sense of meaning that makes it special to you. Eason White, an interior designer at Robuck Homes in Raleigh, gave me great advice on how to view your rooms aesthetic. “Create a space that constantly inspires you and make sure all of your pieces communicate well with one another to create a perfect harmony in your unique design.” Your aesthetic is how you are feeling and can be whatever you want. The point of having an aesthetic is to cater towards your likes and create a happy space. When picking out your

colors make sure they are compatible with other colors. Having contrasting colors can create a sense of distance from your room, as if something is missing. A tip for keeping a consistent theme is to pick out the biggest piece of furniture in your room first and build off of that. If your bed is the biggest piece in your room, you want to pick the color of the comforter and then add your accenting throw pillows. This will also help to decide what décor you should add around the space. Building off of singular items help to make your room symmetrical.


When looking for things to put in your room, comfort should always be a key factor in your decision-making process. You want to make an environment that is relaxing after a long day

of class and activities. You always want to make sure your bed has the essentials to give you the best sleep for a productive day. If your bedding is not comfortable it can hinder your sleep and make you restless at night. When choosing your bedding make sure the thread count is to your liking. If you get a threat count that is too low your sheet could feel like plastic creating a less enjoyable night’s sleep. HGTV had a great article that described the basics of buying sheets relating that the higher the threat counts the softer the sheets and the better you will feel. Another tip is to make sure your pillows and mattress are firm enough for you to help get a good night’s sleep. If your pillows and mattress aren’t firm enough, they can cause 3

Photo by Vectezzy via

A neatly styled bedroom featuring Bandit the cockapoo

aches and pains. You should always try out your mattress and pillows in the store before deciding if they are the best fit for you. Your room is essentially your best friend in college, keeping you sane at times when school is too much. Having your favorite things that will help you tackle the hardships of college is what makes your room so personable. A space that is free of stress induced by school can have enormous benefits on your way of living. Create the space that is perfect for you and will make you the

most comfortable. Your room is the place that makes you feel at home when you’re away from home, so make it count.

Should I Live on Campus?

first-year students should live on campus because they are pushed out of their comfort zone and will feel a sense of belonging to the university. “You will live, breathe and eat ECU. You’re on campus all the time and there’s so much to do,” Saperstein said.

By: Benjamin Oke-Bello

Graduating high school is a pivotal period for many students. With almost 85% of pupils nationwide receiving their diploma, adult life has begun to creep around the corner. Making the decision to live on or off campus directly impacts the maturation and adaptation process for college students.


Daniel Roberts, a senior at East Carolina, has lived on campus since he first enrolled at the school. “You will always come across people,” Roberts said. “So, living on-campus will give you the chance to be a little more social.” In his time here, Roberts has joined multiple organizations and clubs, such as an acapella group and he writes for The East Carolinian. Roberts believes the consistent exposure to so many things that the school has to offer has helped him enjoy his experience in college more, and built a greater attachment to ECU. Aaron Lucier is the director of Housing Operations at ECU, and believes that keeping students on campus is crucial, as the data shows that housing pupils on campus their first-year increases retention. “Students have a built-in social network, opening more doors for a rangier experience,” Lucier said. Lucier oversees housing assignments, technology, emergencies and is normally the face that students see when they are having discrepancies with roommates. To avoid issues with roommates, Lucier believes individuals should first look at themselves. “My best advice is to first be a good roommate. Be someone you would want to live with,” Lucier said, shrugging his shoulders.

The transition

High School graduation rates have risen throughout the decade, and nearly every state has schools where 100% of the students have graduated, according to a Washington Post 2017 article. Making the decision of what to do post-graduation looms over plenty of high school seniors, and for many, the choice is college. Going to college offers a different experience for incoming freshmen around the country, allowing many the opportunity to have distinct encounters with adulthood. Many incoming freshmen are advised or required to live on site at the university, in order to experience what it is like to receive an experience that is catered to social and academic growth. The United States Department of Labor reported that 69.1% of 2018 high school graduates 16 to 24 were enrolled at a college or university, many of which require them to live on-campus as freshmen. Jennifer Saperstein, Assistant Director of Resident Life at East Carolina University, believes

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Photo by Aaron Lucier via ECU Director of Housing Operations Aaron Lucier


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On e of the greatest skills Saperstein believes college students should pick up, and having another person living in the same room as them quickly forces students to do so. While living on campus creates a great social experience for students, as they’re immediately surrounded by hundreds of their peers, off-campus living has perks for upperclassmen as they adjust to growing older and being on their own. A sense of independence arises for students who may live off campus in apartments, or with friends and family. “One of the hardest things about adulting is that I’ll have to decide what to cook for dinner every single night,” Saperstein said, cracking a smile. She believes the experience is already preparing students to live alone in the future, and there is much more preparation that has to go into the daily routine of students who live off campus. Waking up a little bit earlier to catch the bus or find parking, grocery shopping, and paying for rent is immersing those who live off campus into what life will be like after graduation as they are forced to be more independent. “You can operate by yourself a lot more. There isn’t a staff holding you to certain standards or catering to you as frequently when you aren’t living on-campus at the university,” Saperstein said. College is not only about receiving an education, but also using the time to open doors for endeavors for the future. Students will also have to adapt to a life that requires a little bit more independence. Human development has been debated with the Nature vs. Nurture Theory, credited to Sir Francis Galton. The theory debates whether humans develop based on their genetics (Nature) or their environment (Nurture). Living situations in college are just another stepping stone to better the development of future generations. 5

(Cont. from page 1) The first tip is to die cut patterned letters. A die cut is a machine you put paper in and it will cut out a letter or shape for you, no scissors required. Most colleges or universities will provide a die cut machine, so don’t worry there. “The issue most people have with die cutting patterned paper is they go out to the store and spend the little money they have on buying packs of patterned paper that may or may not go with their theme of their bulletin board,” said RA Mitchell. “The trick is to print out the patterns. They can be anything you find online, and die cut that. Boom, patterned paper!” However, when searching for different patterns to print, be sure to check with your supervisor on your school’s policy on copyrighted images.


Duty can be scary and overwhelming for new and even experienced Ras, but when it comes to duty, graduate assistant Cody Allen has got your back! Cody has been an RA for three years and a GA for two. In this time, he has racked up some seriously helpful tips when it comes to going on duty. Cody’s first piece of advice is,

“Never go alone, bring an RA friend of yours; they don’t even have to be an RA in your building.”

your opening already written. Most universities or colleges will have a specific way they want you to write the beginning and to cut out the time it takes you to type that for the 100th time just have a document on your computer with the beginning Photo by Lacey Ballard and type your Resident Advisor Parker Mitchell. reports in that “It helps to have someone document before copying and else there to be a credible eye pasting it into your school’s witness to everything you say submission form of choice. or do in case a resident wants Just make sure you do not to twist your words.” He says save the document when you it’s also important to that if you are done to avoid comproneed to call for back-up, they mising your preset document. Also, have a folder specifiare already there with you. In addition to bringing a bud- cally for pictures you need to dy Cody always makes sure upload to a report. This makes to use his phone as an asset. it easier if you need to show “Take pictures of everything! them to your supervisor or if Take a picture of IDs, damage they did not upload correctly. I hope these tips and done, messes made, anything that could possibly be used lat- tricks will help you through er when your writing the report.” this crazy job and that maybe you can pass some of these down to the younger The Report Ah yes, the dreaded report. RAs on your staff. The tip I The keep you up all night when will leave you with is, ask for you have a test the next day help. No one expects you to report. When it comes to writ- do this job all on your own. ing that report there are some Ask your older RAs for their tips and tricks that will make tips and tricks; I am sure they it go along much faster. Have have a few up their sleeves. 6

(Cont. from page 1) said Josh Hughs a senior at East Carolina University. “We only won one game, but we had fun”. Hughs has had seven roommates during his time in college, and has struggled to get along with them after only a few months into the living situation. When asked what helped lessen arguments and create friendships, Hughs attributed intermural sports to a much happier living situ-

ation. “We threw ball at the house and invited teammates to chill so we weren’t always just bored together,” he said. If you are not into sports, there are other ways be get involved. Join a club or organization together that you both find interesting. There are groups that do community outreach or just meet to have fun on and off campus. Adding extracurricular activities to the week will give a sense of longing for and looking forward to it together. This also adds the feeling of accomplishment to an afternoon and should help solidify a bond through shared experiences .

Photo Daniel Wiseman Via

Communication is key

ECU Academic Advisor Daniel Wiseman and his son.

If the relational issues do not get better with time, it may help to talk to someone who will listen without bias. “From the very beginning, be up front with

Both the content for this newsletter and the design are created by students enrolled in COMM 3310 Copy Editing and Design in the School of Communication at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina during the Spring and Fall semesters under the direction of course instructor Barbara Bullington.

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the person regarding expectations,” said Daniel Wiseman an academic advisor at ECU for nine years. He has helped students with many living situations and encourages students to talk to their advisors. His advice was to realize the other person or persons are in the same boat. “I try to be cognizant of their space, both mental and physical”. In doing this you both have time to adjust and can communicate more openly about differences or commonalities you may have.

Do not hesitate

On a more serious note, if a situation is dangerous in any way Wiseman’s advice was to contact the dean of students on your campus before anything escalates. Wiseman also refers students to professionals on campus who may relate to a specific situation. Academic advisors have connections on campus and can be a stepping-stone to reach these professionals. Wiseman’s closing advice was,

“You don’t have to be best friends to be good roommates”

Strive for good relations with those close to you by getting involved on campus and asking others for advice when needed. These two seemingly small tips can help you maintain a healthy living situation.

Profile for Lacey Ballard

Students How 2  

A Newsletter for You, the college student who wants to learn how to do everything better, easier or cheaper

Students How 2  

A Newsletter for You, the college student who wants to learn how to do everything better, easier or cheaper