Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oh, Quiet Time How Much I Value You

I've mentioned in previous posts the constant issues with noise while living with roommates. The times when you most crave the peace and quiet is usually the time when everyone else decides to be their loudest. I know it's never intentional, but at least that's what it seems like. I know I'm not the only one who likes peace and quiet. All university students need a break once and awhile, from homework, paper, studying, working, whatever else they do. And when living with roommates, the times when it is quiet and you can get some peace is the most valuable thing ever.

There's about a two hour gap on Wednesdays when I'm the only one home. The rest of my roommates are at class between four and six. I get home from class at four, check our in and out board to see who's home. I always relish in the fact that my name tag is the only one in the in slot. It's so quiet in the house; it gives me chills, in a good way. Now, mind you, I'm not about to start running around singing and dancing because I have the house to myself. I don't do something crazy when I'm home alone. Usually, and I'm not exaggerating, I lay in bed. I don't sleep, because then my sleep at night gets messed up. I just lay in bed, basking in the golden silence. Sometimes I put on the television, and watch whatever I feel like. Other times, I put on music, my own choice of music that no one can complain about because there's no one around to complain. This is by far my favourite time of the entire week. Sure, once and awhile, I actually do work during my quiet time. I can get a good chunk of an essay done or study in silence. But most of the time, I do nothing.

I know that I'm not the only one who values some personal time. I decided as my little piece of advice today to offer some suggestions of what to do with your own alone time.

1. Read a novel, poem, or anything you've been wanting to catch up on.
2. Listen to music, whatever you choose for your mood.
3. Work on a hobby that you've neglected in the past.
4. Write, call, or email someone you haven't spoken to lately.
5. I also suggest using the time for self-reflection or mediation.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stuck in the Middle

Five girls in one house can be chaotic. We all have different schedules, different lifestyles, and different personalities. I, for instance, am not a big fan of the weekend partying that usually takes place. Friday and Saturday nights are usually filled with people consuming alcohol, playing loud music, and just being all together noisy. I like staying up and relaxing on these nights, sort of like a reward for getting through another week. My roommates are not quite like that, they are more social and more likely to be louder. Normally things run fairly smoothly around here; if we have issues or concerns, we usually try to deal with the matter as soon as possible.

However, there are times when roommates collide and tension begins to build. We do clash at times, about many different things. Sometimes it's about quiet hours or quiet time, especially if it's later on in the night. Other times, it's about things that make some people tick. These small instances sometimes build up and explode. One time it was even about the delay of replacing an empty toilet paper roll. The worst part about fights in the house is when roommates who aren't involved suddenly get put in the middle of the two people fighting. In fact, sometimes it's one or two roommates verses one roommate. Being in the middle is something I hate because it leaves me feeling uneasy and stressed. I don't pick sides because usually both sides are right in some way. It makes me feel stressed because I feel like both sides talk to me about the other side and I feel so caught in the middle. The only thing I can do is stay out of the situation as much as possible, even if it means spending less time in my house or with the people that are fighting.


Things always work out in the end, the issues are resolved because the people fighting usually get to a point that they forget what they were fighting about or decide they'd like to talk things out. It usually takes a few days for the two to sit down and talk things out alone, and get everything out in the open. Once this happens, things always turn out better for everyone. There is no tension in the air when you walk into the house and there's no sides being chosen. It relieves stress for everyone and makes everything a little less hectic in our university lives.

That's all for now, I hope everyone is still enjoying their reading week. Also, I hope everyone's project from 26-397 turned out well.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I'm Leaving.... On A Via Train

After all the stress of midterms and so many papers to write, we all welcome the reading week break. It's a week off from going to classes and for most waking up early. Yes, there is reading involved and many of us have things due right after the break. I, for one, have a classical rhetoric essay due the second day back. And I admit that I'm behind on readings for most classes, so I welcome the opportunity to catch up. For those of us living on residence, reading week offers us an opportunity to head home and see friends, families, and significant others we have at home waiting for us. I get to home and see my family, celebrate my little brother's birthday, and spend time with my boyfriend. Needless to say, I definitely enjoy going home.

Reading week gives me time to reflect on what's gone in the past few months since returning to school after the Christmas break. I considered how school has gone so far, how well I think I did and if I put enough time and effort into all my classes. I look at how hard I worked at my job, and if I feel rewarded from this. I also look at my relationships. Did I talk to my family enough? Did I update them on the going-ons in my life? I also wonder if I did everything I could to be a good roommate. There's no such thing as a perfect roommate, but we can all try to respect everyone else we live with. Basically, I just look at my life in general and see where everything is. If there's something I feel has to be changed or worked on, reading week gives me time to re-evaluate and reconsider.

This post is relatively short and sweet. I just wanted to share my thoughts on this reading week we are rewarded for working so hard (or so I like to think). Maybe fellow bloggers and readers can take the time to evaluate things in their live, and maybe we can all come back refreshed. I wish everyone a safe and happy break, whether you're traveling somewhere or staying in town. Enjoy well it lasts, because we're right back at it in a week or two.

Friday, February 6, 2009

If We Only Had An Arc

Cleaning the house is something no one wants to do, well usually no one. Getting all dirty and sweaty cleaning is not my idea of a good time. As it currently stands in my house, mostly every room is clean. The kitchen is modestly clean, as are the bathrooms and other common areas. I admit it right now, my room is a mess. Pop cans, papers, a few dishes, clothes, all spread on the floor. I don't have old food growing other organisms on it, or animals or pests in my room, so it's not affecting anyone else. We're all pretty good about cleaning messes in common areas, we take turns and dishes don't normally sit for too long without being washed. When we all head home for breaks, we clean the place pretty well. Garbages and recycling bins are emptied, and the fridge is cleaned out.

Thanksgiving this year, three of us were heading all the way home, one went to Chatham and one roommate stayed in Windsor. The roommate who stayed behind was left alone for a day and a half, to do whatever she wanted. We didn't expect her to flood the house in the time we left her. She took it upon herself to clean the bathroom thoroughly, the shower was going to be scrubbed and the floors cleaned. The problem with living in a house of five girls is the drain gets clogged easily with hair. The bathroom she decided to clean on her own has a drain that is very temperamental, and sometimes drains and sometimes doesn't. So, this roommate who we'll call Rybbon, put cleaning solution in the shower, and decided to let the water stay on to clean away the solution. Rybbon left the water running and went into her room. It wasn't until water came in under Rybbon's door that she realized something was wrong. The shower hadn't drained. Instead, it overflowed, sending water gushing into the upstairs hallway. Rybbon immediately built a dam of sorts to stop the flow of water from going into anyone else's room, and ran downstairs to see if anything had gone wrong. And of course, it did. The ceiling was dripping from several places, and the microwave was filling with water, and thankfully the microwave was not plugged in at the time. In panic, Rybbon ran to another neighbouring house to get help. When she found a friend who had also stayed in Windsor, they called the RA on duty to come help. The RA never got the message. The last course of action was to call the campus police, and in turn, also call the fire department to come.

The aftermath of the flood had many casualties. There were various towels that had to put to rest, some shampoo bottles that got swept up in the tidal wave have passed on, and the microwave has left us peacefully. I learned about the catastrophe first by a text message, and then by a Facebook message sent to all of us. I couldn't help but laugh when I walked into our house the Monday after my weekend at home. Around the kitchen, there were various pots and bowls, collecting water. It was chaos, but in the end, we laughed because she managed to create such a disaster in 24 hours. Things could have been much worse, so in the end we were lucky. So, my advice for everyone out there today that lives with roommates, is to never leave the roommate most accident prone alone in an empty house.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Study Hysteria

The wonderful season of midterm writing has come upon us once again. It's not just one or two midterms but often all of our classes have all their midterms in the same few weeks. In addition, we also add in essays, response papers, group projects and anything else we are unfortunate enough to be assigned. We all feel the enormous pressure, no matter what program, faculty or year. We all study differently, though, depending on our own personal preferences. Some of us need some source of noise around us, while others needs complete silence to focus. We study better in groups with other people, or we study better on our own, away from outside distractions. There are so many differences in the way people study, that finding someone that studies exactly like you is almost impossible.

This is the case in my house with my roommates and me. Two science majors, two English majors, and one education major make an interesting concoction anytime, but even more so during midterm season. Not one of us studies the same as another, not even close. This often causes problems in our house, around midterm and exam time. I, for one, need to have some kind of noise around me to study. It doesn't have to be a loud or certain noise, it just needs to be something. It can be the t.v. on low volume or music on my computer, or my headphones. Total silence drives me insane, it's too quiet for me. Two roommates need silence to study, which is why you can often find them in their rooms in complete silence or in another place entirely. We often clash with noise, because the walls are awfully thin so you can hear music through them or the television. The library is sometimes a safe haven or our study room in our building. I usually study in my room, because that's where I concentrate best and feel most comfortable. I can sit at one of my two desks, or sit on the bed, lay on the bed, or even sit on the floor if I really want to. Occasionally, you can find one of us at the kitchen table, for a change of environment. It depends on the day, what we're studying, how much sleep we got, and many more factors.

I should really be studying right now actually, for upcoming midterms, but I decided writing a blog about how I should be studying would be a better use of my time. I think it's mostly because the difference in studying styles is what caught my attention today. Every student studies differently, depending on their own preferences. Put five students in one house, and then watch the craziness of study time. I decided to put in some study tips for students that I found useful online, and I hope other students find them useful as well.

1. Find a well lit, quiet place to study. (A problem in a house of roommates)
2. Work at a desk or table. (I have a problem with this, the bed is more tempting.)
3. Find the best time of day to study. (Morning vs. evening, who knows?)
4. Set up a schedule to follow. (I should work on this one)
5. Bribe yourself with rewards. (This one sounds good.)
6. Take short, frequent breaks when needed. (My breaks last too long, easily distracted.)