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Things To Prepare For The Ultimate College Road Trip

Things to Prepare for the Ultimate College Road Trip

College is an important milestone that is meant to prepare you for the professional world, and while it is tempting to imagine a college life that is focused solely on studying to get good grades, maintaining a social life is also just as important. A study shows that focused socialization activities helped 88% of students overcome challenges and adjust to college life. Moreover, having a good social life during college helps you improve your social skills, enabling you to become a well-rounded adult.

One excellent way to spend time with your peers during college, especially during lengthier breaks in between terms, is to go on a road trip. Not only will this broaden your perspective, but this will also give you and your peers a chance to get to know each other outside of an academic setting. Before you embark on a road trip, here are some things that you need to prepare.

Schedule and Itinerary

Trips done out of impulse or that are minimally planned are quite common among college students. On average, college students only spend 46 minutes planning their trips using travel websites. 55% of students also do not have experience in planning a trip using travel websites. While spontaneous getaways might indeed seem exciting, they can also have pitfalls. You tend to spend more money during unplanned trips, you may end up with long wait times, and you may miss out on things that you might have experienced if you planned your trip well.

When you embark on your road trip, due planning is highly encouraged. Make sure that you and your friends have no prior commitments on the dates that you plan to travel. Also, engage your peers when planning. For example, all of those who are going on your road trip should have equal say on which sites to visit. Proper planning that involves the entire group ensures that you do not have unnecessary arguments in the middle of the trip itself.

Mode of Transportation

One of the best ways to have a successful and enjoyable road trip is to ensure that the vehicles you’ll use are in good condition. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 44,000 of 2.2 million accidents are caused by vehicular issues, such as faulty accelerators, electrical system problems, and problems with fuel system components. Making sure that your mode of transportation is in good shape ensures that you and your travel buddies are safe while on the road.

As such, make sure that all electrical components of your car are in good working condition. Your tires should be properly inflated, and your exterior lights and horn should be working well, too. Another important thing to know is the condition of the gas in your car. If it’s been sitting in your vehicle for months, it may be time to replace it since gas has a shelf life. Checking if your car still has good fuel is important to avoid operational problems.

Money and Other Matters

While it’s the experience that matters most during a college road trip, it doesn’t hurt to have sufficient funding for your entire trip. This is easier when you’re going on a trip alone, but planning out your finances for a trip that involves several people, college students at that, can be challenging. Things are bound to get awkward, and disagreements are bound to happen.

You and your peers do not necessarily have to have too much money in order to have a comfortable trip. The first thing that you need to agree on is that for group expenses, everyone should shell out the same amount. As well, booking your lodging ahead of time increases your chances of snagging discounted rates. You can also check for available travel programs that your school offers. These are just some possible ways to save money on your road trip. In turn, you can allot more funds to expenses that you can actually enjoy.

Going on a trip with college friends is a worthwhile experience. As long as it’s done with proper planning, you’ll find that this journey is something that will not only strengthen your social bond with your college peers, but it will also make for a more enriching college experience.

SEE ALSO: The Importance of Keeping Up a Social Life in College

Tips for Dealing With Difficult College Roommates

Tips for Dealing With Difficult College Roommates

One of the exciting things about going to college for the first time is getting roommates. Unfortunately, far too often that “exciting experience” can feel more like a nightmare. Roommate problems are a common complaint among college freshmen. But, because so many universities across the country require students to live on campus their first year, there’s often no escaping dorm life and the roommates who come with it.

College is hard enough on its own for new students. You have to handle being away from home, adjusting to a new schedule, and feeling like a full-blown “adult” for the first time. Dealing with difficult roommates on top of everything else can be overwhelming.

You might not be able to change the personality or habits of a complete stranger. You might not even be able to get a different dorm or switch who you’re living with.

But, there are things you can do to deal with difficult college roommates. Let’s cover a few tips that can make dorm life easier for you.

Talk Things Out

If you have problems with your roommate, chances are you aren’t the only one feeling the tension. Unfortunately, the longer you ignore the elephant in the dorm, the bigger it will become.

One of the best things you can do is sit down and talk with your roommate. If you have more than one, hold a “meeting” so everyone can openly and freely express themselves. Even though it might feel easier to do a group text or write an email, it’s important to communicate these issues in person. If you’re not sure what to bring up, consider some of the following topics.

  • Your individual needs
  • Problems you can’t ignore
  • Habits that are causing issues
  • Unfair actions

Often, an open conversation can make a big difference and will help to strike a balance between you and your difficult roommates. It’s important to remember that you’re all strangers coming from different walks of life. They might not realize the things they are doing are bothersome to you because it’s what they’re used to. You might be doing things they don’t like, too. Having a conversation will clear the air for everyone.

If you talk and things don’t change, consider continuing the conversation with your RA. They might be able to serve as a mediator and make it easier for a healthy, productive conversation to take place.

Don’t Spend So Much Time in Your Room

Your dorm room is supposed to be a safe and comfortable place while you’re in college. It’s normal to want to hang your favorite posters and pictures, decorate your corner to fit your personality, and hang out in bed listening to music, studying, and eating bowl after bowl of ramen.

But, when you have a difficult roommate, it’s often better to spend less time in your dorm. That doesn’t mean you need to become a partier. Instead, fill your time between classes with activities and hobbies that interest you. Try things like

  • Joining campus clubs
  • Going to the movies
  • Getting a study room at the library for you and your friends
  • Working out at the campus gym
  • Volunteering

It might not seem fair to feel like you “can’t” be in your room. But, keep in mind that you’ll only have these particular roommates for a year. Many colleges allow you to pick (or at least request) your roommates after your freshman year. So, if you’re having difficulties with your current ones, spend this year building strong friendships and having fun. Next year, you can spend more time in your dorm with people you get along with!

Take Care of Yourself

You’re not going to be able to avoid being in your dorm 24/7. So, when you have to be “home,” it’s important to identify coping strategies that work for you. Your mental health shouldn’t be compromised because of a bad roommate. Try distracting yourself from the unpleasant environment through things like studying or watching Netflix. Soothe yourself by listening to your favorite music. Or, try things like deep breathing, mindfulness, or meditation to reduce stress and find an inner balance.

Stress is already a common problem for college students. It can lead to issues like

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Weight gain/loss

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the stress of your roommate situation, consider reaching out to mental health resources on campus. Most universities across the country have some type of program available or even a counselor on staff that can help you manage your stress and take care of your mental wellness. If you know that some of your roommate’s issues also stem from mental health struggles, including depression, encourage them to get help too.

College is meant to be an exciting and unforgettable stage of life. Don’t let it get tainted by bad roommates. You can’t control everything, but you can control how you react and respond to the situation. Keep these ideas in mind if you’re dealing with difficult dormmates, and remind yourself that things won’t be this way forever.

SEE ALSO: How to Manage Financial Stress as a College Student