Tip Tuesday: Nurturing Healthy Relationships

Contributed by: Taisha Lewis, Verano Place Housing Assistant

 

Every single human being has their own story. We have our own personal and family histories, our own traditions, hobbies and interests, our own personalities with likes and dislikes, our own sense of humor, our own style and physical appearance. We all have our own way of viewing the world and the people within it. Whether we like it or not, all people have some form of philosophies, stereotypes, and even prejudices towards others. Every experience molds the way we view people or groups of people. That can easily become apparent when we leave our comfort zone and enter a community like Verano Place with such an international, racial, and cultural diverse environment. Many people will draw towards others who are most like themselves, or avoid interaction with people as much as possible.

 

I remember when my family and I first moved to Verano Place. We spent our whole lives before Irvine living only a few cities away in a lower-class community with a culture all it’s own. When we arrived, while many were friendly, we noticed the major differences we had culturally from many people around us. People around us noticed also, as was made apparent by the stares we would sometimes receive both off and on campus. We did stand out and we did look different. We felt alienated and defensive during this time. As time has gone on, my husband, my children, and myself have made many great friendships and have built strong networks with so many around us. As we began to open up and become vulnerable to being different than others we began to realize the many ways that we could bond with people and all the interests that we shared. We also learned to appreciate the differences in others as well. This also helped open our eyes to the fact that many people felt the same way. It wasn’t just us.

 

It’s important to understand that with all the differences between human beings there are always similarities and ways to connect with one another. We are all either students here at the University of California, Irvine, or have a family member who is. We are all here with the goal of higher education to elevate our lives. We should all try everyday to elevate our knowledge and understanding of each other as well. When natural conscious, and even subconscious, judgment is actively placed aside within us it is quite amazing the way we can learn to dismantle preconceptions of others and enjoy them for who they are as individuals.

Relationships and Space, or Lack Thereof

Contributed by: Nikki Sherman, Verano Place Housing Assistant

 

With the quarter kicking back in again, it might be time for a gentle reminder that, we, as graduate students often have to take our work home with us. The hustle and bustle of daily life means that there are too few minutes in the hour, too few hours in the day. The stress of school, work, and family often piles on at a rapid rate. To cope with this, here are a few suggestions in conceptualizing “space,” and how it can help bolster the relationships around you.

  • Balancing family life is difficult when the work becomes a mountain. Remember to communicate with your partner and friends when work needs to get done. A few hours of space can give you the quiet time you need to knock a project out or get some grading done.

 

  • When asking for space, make sure you stress that the relationship is important too. Try to come up with a goal, treat, or outing to make the completion of work all the sweeter.

 

  • On the flip side, don’t forget to give your partner and family the time they need. Give your work some space, and show people that you can make the reverse sacrifices for them.
  • Making schedules can really help to balance heavy workloads. If you can visualize the time you need, you can better understand the time you actually have. Use the time you have to build relationships with those around you. As good as scrolling through social media might sound, try going out for a movie instead. In fact, Irvine has a great dollar theatre that’s perfect for cheap family outings! (http://www.starplexcinemas.com/locations.php?theaterid=1013)

 

  • Take advantage of Verano Place housing events! We try to design fun evenings to break up the routine. Bring your family to Family Movie Night, or enjoy a night with other adults and Adult-Only Movie Night.

 

 

  • Use these nights to take the space you may need in a relationship, or to make space for relationship time!

Remember, everyone is different and every relationship is different! Different people need different amounts of space or boundaries. The important this is to keep space in mind, especially with the hectic student lives that we are all familiar with in some way.

How To Have Healthy Roommate Relationships

Contributed by: Taisha Lewis, Verano Place Housing Assistant

Living on-campus definitely holds many perks. We are close to school, resources, and are away from many things that could distract us from our studies. Still, living on-campus can also result in many difficulties as we embark on an adventure filled with many neighbors and new relationships among roommates. Here are a few things to keep in mind while actively helping to create and maintain a happy home life at Verano Place:

 

  1. Guidelines should be set forth from the beginning: The first step in creating ground rules is discuss each roommates schedule, their preferences regarding guests, and their ideas regarding how bills will be paid, how chores will be divided, etc. Agreements on these issues are a great way to start house rules, but they needn’t always be set in stone. Readdressing issues as schedules and the situation evolves is important too.
  2. Communication: Routine discussions and polite everyday conversation is important in maintaining a healthy relationship with your roommate. A weekly meeting or enjoying a meal or coffee together a couple times a month gives both parties the opportunity to share what’s on their minds. Beyond open communication, problems or breaches of certain agreements should be addressed as soon as possible. Giving a roommate the benefit of the doubt is a good way to approach an issue that is bothersome to you. Many times a person does not realize their actions are negatively impacting someone else. In either instance, discussing the problem sooner leads to lower rates of resentment and higher rates of resolving the core issue
  3. Respect: In all aspects of life the Golden Rule still stands….. “Treat Others as You Would Like to be Treated”. Treating others with kindness and dignity yields better results in any situation. Talk to one another politely and be willing to compromise.
  4. Being Open-minded to Different Cultures, Beliefs, and Values: Students literally come from all over the World to attend UCI. Different backgrounds create different lifestyle choices including but not limited to food, dress, religion, music, and personal boundaries. What one person considers appropriate another could consider hostile. It is important to keep these facts in mind when living with a roommate and living among other residents as well. Remember that living at Verano Place provides one with the opportunity to enjoy and learn about a variety of cultures!

 

Remember that while Verano Place Housing Staff encourages communication among residents and independent conflict resolution, help in solving and avoiding problems is always available. All residents have the rights to a comfortable, respectful, and safe living environment. Jennifer Nelson-Martinez, the Associate Director of Apartment Life, is consistently active in maintaining healthy and prosperous relationships among residents. Jennifer, along with the rest of the VHO staff, are always happy to be of service in any way that they can so always feel welcome to reach out!

 

In the case of an emergency UCIPD can be contacted 24/7 at 949-824-5223.

Interested in some practical tips to enhance your relationships in the Verano Community?

Contributed by: Taisha Lewis, Verano Housing Assistant

Verano Place houses approximately 1,221 students, and some of their families. Though all residents share an association with the UCI, there are also many differences among the individuals that call Verano Place home. Verano Place is affluent with a diversity of culture, languages, international students and families, and different educational, professional, and upbringing backgrounds. While maintaining healthy and beneficial relationships with neighbors can sometimes be challenging, living in Verano provides a special opportunity to expand your personal knowledge of the world around you, and also to sharpen your own interpersonal skills.Here are a few tips:

1. Know Your Neighbors by Name: Take the time to meet your neighbors when given the chance. If you don’t feel comfortable going to their door, introduce yourself the next time you see them out in the community. Inviting neighbors over for a meal or coffee is an excellent way to get to know them as well. Knowing your neighbors leads to a more friendly environment and can lead to a strong community support system. It also builds a trusting foundation so that if issues arise they can be hadnled positively and effectively.
2. Always Smile and Say Hi in Passing:; Sometimes neighbors tend to stay more to themselves. In this case it is especially important to take the time to simply say hello and smile. Of course being cordial to all people is important. A smile goes a long way!
3. Be Sensitive to Different Cultures and Value Systems: Be sensitive to the various beliefs that others may have. Taking time to educate oneself on the cultures in the surrounding community will lead to more satisfying relationships.
4. Follow Verano Policies Regarding Noise, Smoking, Dogs on Leashes, etc.: Policies are in place for a reason. They exist to maintain consistency and comfort for all residnets within the Verano Community. Please follow these rules to beneift your neighbors and yourself.
5. Always Attempt to Handle Discrepencies on a Personal Level: If a neighbor is creating some type of disturbance to your life, for example playing music loudly at night, always assume that they are not aware of the negative way that is impacting you. Approaching the neighbor and explaining how it is affecting you in a polite and inoffensive demeanor will give your neighbor and yourself the ability to listen to one another, understand the problem, and come up with a solution together.

Verano Place is a wondeful community! Enjoy the diversity that it can provide, be open with the different aspects that you have to offer, and have successful relationships and friendships with your neighbors!