Feeling at-home on residence didn’t come easily to me last year. My daily “good morning”s in the hallway were ignored at worst, or greeted with idle stares at best. Likewise, my neighbour was a recluse. I didn’t meet her until November, when she knocked on my door at 12:30 AM and asked how to turn on the heater. It would be months before I saw her again, briefly as she exited the washroom.
I’ve come to realize that responding to unfriendliness with unsociability will only perpetuate a cycle of hostility. This was a role I unwittingly played last year. Come to think of it; I made few efforts to introduce myself to my elusive neighbour. And after a few weeks of ignored greetings, I stopped saying “hello” in the hallway altogether, becoming just like the people I initially resented for doing the same.
Being on floor council has taught me that pancakes are a delicious and affordable way to feed a lot of people.
This year I’ve gladly tossed aside the habit of ignoring floormates as co-president of my floor council. This group plans bonding activities for students on my floor of residence. While it’s only a month into the school year, I’ve already learned that planning events is a lot harder than it looks! Last weekend we hosted a “Breakfast for Dinner” party in our common room. The night featured great music and a feast of breakfast favourites including eggs, pancakes, and hashbrowns. Running a trip to the grocery store with the rest of council, and even budgeting the grocery list made me realize that there’s a lot of work that goes into arranging a seemingly simple meal for a lot of people!
Aside from planning events, getting to know people with diverse interests has been a welcome result of getting involved in residence life. My clubs on campus are centred around my programs of study- International Relations and Peace, Conflict, and Justice. As such, most of my friends have similar disciplinary interests. Interacting with more people in my residence has been a great way to gain new perspectives! Through my interactions on floor council this year, I’ve gotten to know all sorts of people whose paths I would never cross in a lecture hall, including music and architecture students.
While getting more involved in residence life involves a time commitment, it’s definitely worthwhile. I would gladly sacrifice an hour to trek to the grocery store for an event that brings together everyone on my floor. While it may sound corny, bonding activities are what change the people who live around us from strangers in the same house to friends in the same home.