Ah residence, how we’ve grown to become good friends (okay unless the shower roof is temporarily missing) since I first encountered you two years ago! Prior to entering the U-of-Tverse, I didn’t quite realize what to expect from living on campus, besides what the media had kind of told me to expect. So as you can imagine, I was more than excited and nervous to accomplish what every angsty-teenager dreams of doing someday: moving – even if it was only temporary – out of my parents’ house! Dorm life came with more than a few important lessons and realizations.
The first was realizing that it wasn’t the Ritz, even if ROSI’s lovely red numbers may have seemed to tell you otherwise.
While flip-flops in the shower may be feel like you’re roughing it way more than you originally planned, in the grand scheme of things, none of this matters for more than a few reasons:
Meet Your New Family
As I’ve mentioned before, university is definitely the place to meet a wide variety of people, so you can imagine how this culminates when everyone lives together. The most important thing is that you’ve filled out your residence applications honestly because I promise no good can come from trying to make yourself seem like a recluse if you aren’t in order to avoid a “wild floor”. This is an old trick that people do only to realize it may have stopped them from meeting the kind of people they wanted to. Your new family is also unlike any of your other social circles, because unlike your previous companions, they are going to see you at 2AM post-Robarts-adventure or 3pm post-nap. More importantly, they make frosh week feel a lot less scary, university a lot less boring and campus much smaller, and after a while they begin to feel a lot more like family.
Back to the honesty part of your residence application, I mean it when I say this *insert dramatic clap of thunder here*. A couple of dozen questions asking you exactly what kind of music you prefer, to your sleeping hours aren’t to create your future UT love profile but to match you with someone your compatible enough to live with. And since honesty always wins, chances are you’ll meet the Roommate – not the Leighton Meester kind of the Roommate – but one but the one who becomes your newfound sibling.
I did not understand this concept while initially doing my first application and specifically requested to be in a single, as my roommate had too, and were we both glad the odds did not work in our favour! There is no greater advantage to adjusting to first year and residence than having someone by your side who understands. Everyone always describes how the first year transition can be rocky, but no one will be easier to relate to than the very person who is there beyond the walls of Facebook and smartphones. This is one part of res life that the movies (mostly) got right!
PS – 2 kettles or mini fridges may be a little crowded for your double room, so get in contact with your roommate when you can and discuss things like these ahead of time to avoid any surprises!
As much as you think you’ll love being away from home, you are going to miss the organization that came with parental units the second you realize its laundry-can’t-see-my-room-but-the-library-needs-me-day! Yes, this will happen, the universe will probably send another hundred things your way too, which is why being organized and making the most of your i-cal & to do lists will help you combat any rough day in the real world (that for is what the university bubble is, the actual real world is still eons away!…right?)
“Work hard, Play Hard” is a phrase that will certainly resonate with you in first year. I fell into the trap of feeling guilty if I wasn’t busy when I first lived away from home, and it became this constant battle when I was taking a break or working. Ultimately, I was never happy with the fact that there were only so many hours in the day. Finding the perfect balance of when to work and when to make the most of your university experience, the way all of those thought catalogs told you that you would, can be really tricky at the beginning. Eventually, though, you discover the true greatness that is in all of the libraries our campus has to offer and just like that, the scale begins to emerge for your days!