Saturday, March 21, 2009

Money, Where Are You?

Many university students can relate to my financial woes. We pay so much in tuition, books, additional expenses, and either residence fees or transportation fees. We can hold down part time jobs during the school year, but that money won't stretch to cover everything. For me to afford school, I had to apply for OSAP, get a student loan, and work part time during the school year. Even still, there are still times that I'm short on cash. I do have to pass up certain trips to the mall or to dinner or the movies with my friends because I simply can't afford it.

You should know first of all, that I am the only one who is working during the school year, out my house and the boys downstairs. I struggle to cover interest charges on my line of credit, and buying groceries sometimes means putting back certain things to lessen the bill. It does make me upset sometimes that my friends can afford to go a movie, or go the mall and on a whim, buy a new pair of shoes. I'm usually the one at home, doing homework or watching t.v., much like tonight. Everyone else has gone to a movie at the mall, but I declined the offer to save money. In the end, you have to pay for your ticket (and ticket prices for the movies these days are ridiculous), snack food (we all love popcorn, admit it), and then transportation to and from. So, it's just me alone in the house, which sometimes isn't a bad thing. For some reason, no one else seems to understand the financial situation I'm in. When I say I don't have money, they look at me like I have six heads. Only a few of us have OSAP as financial aid to help us through, and I'm the only one who has a student loan already. I have no idea how to make them understand that I'm not well off financially, and neither is my family.

I don't mean to vent in my blog about things, but sometimes writing is the only way to get it out. I'm sure there are plenty of other students out there who have some financial trouble, but they have those friends who seem to never run out of money, ever. They have some endless supply of money to their bank accounts. I'd be open to any suggestions from anyone who has any tips on how to deal with this problem. I'm almost at the end of my rope over here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Perogies, Pasta, and Patience

After finishing my blog analysis paper last night, I realized that I have an interest in food blogs, despite being untalented in the kitchen. I did my analysis on a blog that was called Slashfood, and I've taken an interest in the food blogs being written for this class. I like learning about new foods, even if I can't make them. I'll admit that I have very little skill in the kitchen, but I get by. I can make simple things and maybe even more complex things if I have time. I enjoy helping with the cooking at home, my dad takes control of the kitchen when he's home. He's the guy who watches the Food Network, and then tries out the recipes in our kitchen. Being away from home means I miss home cooked meals.

There are a few staples that I rely on in the kitchen, and I'm sure many other students do as well. I absolutely love perogies, they're always on my shopping list. They are quick, easy and delicious. Many of my residence friends enjoy perogies, we sometimes go to Costco and pitch in for a huge box. Any kind of pasta is good as well, at least for me. I'm not a huge fan of tomato sauce, but I enjoy pastas none the less. Sidekicks are another staple in our house, they're easy as well. You boil water, add pasta, drain pasta, add milk and butter, and let stand, and you're good to go. I think most of our cupboard space is occupied by Sidekicks. When I don't cook, I order in or use my meal card. But that costs money, and being a university student, money is hard to come by. So, cooking it is.

I've started looking for recipes online that are easy and don't require too many ingredients. Here are some of my favourites.
Gourmet Food Express
Gaia Online

Many of these recipes make more than one serving, so they can either be saved as leftovers or they can be prepared by more than one person and split. Roommates have differing eating habits and tastes, but there's always at least one recipe that everyone can agree on. In my house alone, we have two vegetarians, one person who doesn't eat any beef but other meats, and two regular old carnivores. We do manage to work things out in the kitchen, and haven't burnt the house down yet.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Early Risers vs. Late Nighters

I have mentioned in the past that my roommates all have very different personalities. How we all manage to coexist is beyond me. Besides being in different programs, we all have different tastes in everything. Music differs, everything country to rap to classical, and our taste in t.v. and movies also differs. We also live different lifestyles as well, I guess you could say. I work a part job, sometimes 30 hours a week. The other roomies don't work at all. Three of us do volunteer work through the school, the other two not so much. Some of us don't mind clutter and don't mind a messy room, while others could be considered "neat freaks". Another difference that can be quite noticeable is the difference between the early risers and the late nighters.

Early risers. They are the people that get up with the sun, starting their day nice and early. They get things done earlier in the day, get the little things done before the day starts. Most often, rising early means retiring early. In this house, one can never be so lucky. Just because you're ready to go to sleep doesn't mean anyone else is. We also have our late nighters. These are the ones who stay up late, doing a variety of things I guess you could say. Some stay up to do work, because they work better at night, and some just stay up watching tv or Facebooking. Now, sometimes when the late nighters stay up, they keep someone else up as well. Late night means a late morning, because of the need for enough hours of sleep. We definitely clash in the house with who stays up late and gets up early. I'm sure other people who live with roommates experience this too. The clashing that exists is really unavoidable, despite everything you try to do. On the residence application form, one of the questions is about whether or not you like to rise early or are a night owl. They say that they try to match you up according to your preferences, but I really don’t think that works very well. They can never actually match you up with a roommate exactly, not matter how hard they try.

Somehow we manage to find a way to get around these issues. If I don't get enough sleep because another roommate is up too late, I try to substitute a nap into my schedule to make up for it. With a slamming front door in the house, we try to hold the door in the morning to let others sleep. We're not perfect, but we try.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rule Breakers

Quiet time was the subject of my last post, and my struggle to find some of that illustrious time. We all need our quiet time, no matter who we are. Way back at the beginning of the school year, all five of us housemates sat down to discuss rules and things we'd like to see happen. As part of our residence expectations, we had to fill out a housemate agreement form. It had all different rules and regulations on it that were about living with roommates. It had things like how often would the floors be mopped, and we all had to agree on the answer. Not only was it about the house and cleaning, but about the living situation. There were questions about quiet hours, weekends, and music, and much more. As a residence itself, Clark enforces no set quiet hours during the year. Mostly every rule is decided upon by the people living in the individual houses. So, as a collective group, who have already known each other for a year, we went through the list and everyone signed their lives away on this ordinary piece of yellow paper.

That was 6 months ago. Things change. First and for most, that paper we all signed has been taken away. The residence assistant took it from us as soon as we had completed it, and we have yet to see it since. I suppose it's her way of having some control over us; she holds the copy of our rules we made. I have no idea what we agreed on or any of the rules, save maybe a few. All I know is that we don't follow them quite so well. Of course we all try to, but we usually fail. I think the rule that we break most often is the quiet hours or study time rules. We did agree on the fact that after about 11 p.m., we were going to quiet down for the night. I usually hunker down in my room after about 10 for the night, in my pyjamas with my homework. The same can't be said for my roomies. They are often in and out after 11, downstairs to another unit and back, and then gone again. This wouldn't be quite so bad, if the front door didn't slam, shaking my whole room and often waking me up if it's later. I know for a fact that I've mentioned this in the past about holding the door and stopping it from slamming. Now, if they could only remember this.

It also doesn't help that we have a bell on the door handle from Christmas still. I mentioned in an early post about our obsession with holiday decorations, and this bell is one of those decorations. So, you don't get only a slamming door, but ringing bells. I've contemplated taking the bells off the door, but someone would most likely put up a fight about it. The rules are a thing of the past I suppose; it is hard to follow them when we don't know what they were originally. A little part of me wants to go ask for the rules from the RA and show them to my roommates, just for a little satisfaction.