How to Stay Friends with Your Roommate
Nothing makes a living arrangement more unbearable than animosity between roommates. Though common, roommate wars are easily avoided when both of you agree to follow a few simple rules. The following ideas will help you and your roommate stay friends and maintain a comfortable and pleasant home.
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One of the most universal areas of friction between roommates occurs in the domain of cleaning. Cleaning is a necessary part of maintaining a household, yet some chores can be tiresome and unappealing, such as cleaning the kitchen or the bathroom. You can stay friends with your roommate when both of you draw up a list of weekly cleaning chores and follow it faithfully. Make sure that both of you rotate the chores on a weekly basis, so that the same person doesn’t always get stuck swabbing out the toilet.
If neither of you can agree on chores, or if you find that the chores simply aren’t getting done, another option is to pool your money and hire a cleaning person to come in once a week and take care of the chores for you. Many individuals advertise cleaning services online on venues such as Craigslist, and these services tend to be very inexpensive. A small outlay of money every week can save enormous headache and encourage harmony between you and your roommate.
Another thing that often creates problems between roommates is food. Sometimes if you haven’t had time to buy groceries and your roommate has food in the fridge, you will be tempted to eat his or hers. If you do, make sure that you replace it promptly – as in the next day – and make sure that if you can’t find the same brand, the replacement food that you buy possesses the equivalent monetary value. For example, if you eat your roommate’s nine dollar piece of salmon, do not replace it with a two dollar can.
Certain household items that you both use regularly need to be kept well stocked. These include toilet paper, dish soap, laundry soap and cleaning products. The best way to make sure that you share these expenses equally between the two of you is to draw up a roster and check off the items from week to week. This will allow you to alternate purchasing these products and thus share the cost fairly.
One of the most common areas of dispute between roommates remains finding adequate alone time. Communication is essential to avoid wars in this area. Sit down and talk about the times when both of you want the apartment to yourselves. For example, if you would like some alone time with your boyfriend or girlfriend, if you would like to have some family members or friends as house guests, if you want to have a party or if you want quiet time to study, these all need to be discussed and planned out together. Avoid surprising your roommate with house guests; give him or her at least 24 hours notice if you have someone coming over.
Another way that you can stay friends with your roommate and avoid hostility is to keep track of the shared utility bills. One of you may volunteer to collect money for the utilities, either in check or cash form, or you may each decide to pay your half of the utility bills using pre-authorized withdrawals via your online banking account. As far as long distance phone bills are concerned, one way to avoid wars is to use a calling card or Skype for your long distance and avoid a shared land line altogether. Money can lead to acrimony quickly and easily, so wherever and whenever possible, keep the money that you each owe as organized and transparent as you can.
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Noise is another area that can become thorny between roommates. Make sure your alarm clock is not too loud, and keep it on the opposite side of your bed if the walls of your rooms are adjacent. Also, use some basic consideration where noise is concerned. If you know your roommate works at 7am, do not come in to the apartment at 4am with an army of house guests and blare the music. If it is late at night and you are on the phone, consider going out on the balcony to talk to avoid disturbing your roommate. Better yet, late night conversations are best kept to whatever online chat forum you prefer.
Communication and consideration are the most effective tools at your disposal when you are managing your relationship with your roommate. A shared space can be hell on earth, or it can be a nurturing and warm environment. When both of you agree to treat each other how you would like to be treated, your home becomes a haven.
Boost Your Academic Performance with These Research Tips
Academic work can be challenging, especially from a research standpoint. Not only does a vast amount of research typically exist for any given academic topic, but research itself changes almost annually – what has been proved this year may be disproved next year, and vice versa. The following useful research tips can help you boost your academic performance, save time, work efficiently and stay focused on the goal of achieving the highest possible marks.
Once you have chosen the topic for research, the first tip that will help you boost your academic performance is to focus exclusively on that topic and your interpretation of it, to the exclusion of all others. Though this may seem obvious, sometimes focus becomes the hardest aspect of research. Focus on the topic and narrow your research to always relate directly to that topic. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use key words and key phrases.
Sit down with your topic and list five or six key words or key phrases that relate directly to it. For example, if your topic is 19th Century Labor in Britain, some appropriate key words and key phrases to utilize in your research might be Chartists, Industrial Revolution, British working-class, Factory Act, Cooperative Movement, Trade Union and the London Trades Council. Your key words and key phrases are valuable tools that can help you hold the focus on your topic and save you hours of time researching tangentially and unnecessarily.
A second useful research tip that can really save you time is to carefully evaluate the bibliographic citations you come across in your research. When you use your key words and key phrases to look for books, journals and magazines that relate to your topic in the catalogue of your school library, or online in such databases as Academic Research Premier, Proquest and EbscoHost, the entries you receive will come with the bibliographic citation entry.
The entry includes a brief overview of the text, information about the author or authors, the name of the publisher and the date of publication. Apply your key words and key phrases to the bibliographic citation before you download the source or take the time to find the book; your key words and key phrases will allow you to evaluate the worthiness of any given source on the spot. Things to take into account include the credentials of the author, the title of the source, how many of your key words and key phrases match the overview, where the source was published and how recently the source was published.
The third research tip that can help improve your academic performance is to not reinvent the wheel. Resist the impulse to research everything from the beginning of time until now. Familiarize yourself with the major works associated with your topic over the last five years. Use your key words and key phrases to conduct a preliminary Internet search and keep it timely. This tip saves endless hours and ensures that you do not accidently plagiarize anyone else’s interpretation of your topic.
The fourth research tip designed to boost academic performance is keep your eye on your result – prove what you want to prove, not what has already been proven and not what you think other people want you to prove, but what you believe needs to be proved. Prove the element that drew you to the topic initially. This tip ensures that you maintain your interest in the topic and that the research you choose pertains directly to your thesis and supports your interpretation.
The fifth research tip which can help improve academic performance is to keep an idea file handy at all times. An idea file can be an electronic file that you keep on your computer or mobile device, a notepad or a combination of all three. The purpose of the idea file is to make sure you are always prepared to make use of your research; once you have synthesized your research, ideas will often begin to occur to you, and sometimes they occur outside of the normal parameters of school work, such as first thing in the morning, in the middle of the night, or while you are out with friends. Always have your idea file on hand so you can jot down thoughts and ideas as they occur to you, fresh and in the moment.
The ultimate goal of any academic work is to offer a meaningful contribution to the existing body of knowledge surrounding a given topic. To that end, the final research tip is to avoid the seductive pull of complex language and jargon when you are searching for the sources that will eventually support your paper. In the vast majority of cases, the best ideas are those that are stated simply and plainly. Choose the research that best serves your vision and your voice.
Best Free Online Library Resources
The Internet remains a treasure trove of free information, and students can usually find exactly what they are looking for without the need to dig out their credit cards. Whether you need to find a specific book, course or video, the Internet offers a wide range of valuable sites that you can access absolutely free.
One of the best free online library resources for students studying literature is The Literature Network. This site offers over 3000 full e-books and 4000 short stories; it also posts classical plays, as well as poetry from more than 250 authors. The Literature Network has many classical full texts such as Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, The Cherry Orchard and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as well as full classical plays and philosophical e-texts from the likes of Plato, Aesop, Sophocles, Homer, Aristotle and Aristophanes.
The Literature Network also hosts full texts of many of Shakespeare’s classics such as Othello, Julius Caeser, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and many of the famous author’s sonnets as well. Full texts of more modern authors such as Franz Kafka, George Orwell, James Joyce, Willa Cather and Aldous Huxley can also be accessed for free online at The Literature Network.
The University of Pennsylvania offers a valuable free online library resource that hosts a large number of non-fiction texts including text books, biographies, histories, translations, business books and political science commentaries. The site is called The Online Books Page and it lists more than a million free books, and includes new books regularly. The Online Books Page also hosts an interesting section entitled Banned Books Online, which is a special virtual display of books that have been censored or banned.
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The Hathi Trust Digital Library is a free online library resource comprised of the combined collections of its partner research institutions. Member libraries of the Hathi Trust Digital Library include such institutions as the University of California, the University of Virginia, Arizona State University, Duke University, MIT and the Harvard University Library. The Hathi Trust Digital Library hosts an incredibly diverse assortment of online books and texts in a multitude of subjects such as folklore, history, politics, military history, agriculture, film, math, economics, gardening, culture, science and health.
The Free Library was established in 2003 and since then has grown to host an enormous collection of free books. More recently the site began to make millions of periodicals available for free to the public from a wide variety of sources including trade publications, magazines, general interest journals and academic journals. The Free Library’s collection of periodicals cover a broad spectrum of subject matter including business, arts and entertainment, health, humanities, law, science, fitness and recreation and finance and investment.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers OSW Scholar, a free online resource center that offers open courses to students, independent learners and the public free of charge. Some examples of the types of subjects covered include Classical Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, Solid State Chemistry, Calculus, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Health Sciences and Technology, Biology and Physics. MIT’s OSW Scholar also offers courses in the humanities such as Linguistics and Philosophy, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Comparative Media Studies and Anthropology. The OSW Scholar courses include learning objectives, course notes, lecture videos, class slides and problem solving help videos. OSW Scholar is an excellent resource for students and independent learners alike.
Digital Dialects is a free online library of language learning games. This site offers language students free interactive games to help them learn new languages. Digital Dialects offers a vast selection of languages including Cantonese, Arabic, Hindi, Māori, Somali, Thai, Greek and Mongolian. The language games themselves employ Flash to help students learn new words, master verb conjugation, understand alphabets, discover new phrases, learn numbers and become familiar with spelling.
Another interesting free online resource is TED, an online library of talks and lectures from academics, philosophers, scientists, artists, policy makers, cultural critics, designers and engineers from all over the world. TED stands for Technology Entertainment Design and began as a conference in 1984. Since then TED has grown to make full use of the virtual community and now regularly posts riveting talks and lectures from some of the smartest and most original thinkers on the planet.
Some examples of TED lectures available for free include a discussion on anatomy from Alice Dreger, professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Chicago’s Northwestern University; her work centers around conjoined twins and people born with the anatomy of both genders. Another interesting talk you can access for free on TED is a lecture by Dennis Hong, a robotics engineer whose company RoMeLa is building a car that can be driven by people who are blind.
As these sites demonstrate, the Internet is an ever expanding resource full of fascinating information. Students and independent learners can typically find almost anything online and the vast majority of this information can be accessed absolutely free.