Life as a First Year Student in Residence

A big shout out to all you future gaiters out there!

My name is Rob and I wanted to give you guys the low-down on move-in day and residence in general here at Bishop’s.

Quite honestly, I think the scariest part about the prospect of  first year university for any freshman is the prospect of moving into residence. Well, at least that’s what I was most worried about during the months leading up to my beginnings as a Biology Major at Bishop’s University. “What kind of people will I be living with? Will we get along? I bet my bed is made to the comfort standards of Fred Flinstone,” were all thoughts that ran through my head prior to move-in day. It was safe to say that Rez was not an aspect of university that I was looking forward to.

Luckily, I couldn’t have been more wrong (kind of like when I wrote my first chemistry midterm… but that’s another story). It just so happened that my move-in day fell on the same weekend as my brother’s move-in day to a private hockey school in Ontario. So my parents, being the practical people they are, decided to rent a U-HAUL trailer so that we could both move up in a single trip. When we arrived to Bishop’s, I was pretty mortified to be the only student moving into residence with what most people would observe as a U-HAUL trailer amount of stuff. Not to mention we were taking up two extra parking spaces in what was already a limited-number parking lot. So when we parked, I entered mission mode and decided that this move-in thing needed to happen as quickly and efficiently as possible so that the U-HAUL, along with my parents, could continue on and save me the embarrassment. As soon as I opened the door and stepped foot onto the scorching pavement, however, I was met with a cooling wave of purple. Literally… there were four to five people covered in purple outfits waiting to help me move all of my possessions up the three flights of stairs that stood between me and my new home. Besides the fact that my dad was pumped that he didn’t have to help me carry my fridge up those stairs and my mom was digging the purple threads, receiving that kind of welcome reassured me that Bishop’s  was the right school for me. But the friendly atmosphere doesn’t stop there…

When you move into rez, you get to meet your Residence Assistant (RA). Basically, their job is to make your experience in residence as positive and fun as possible, while taking on the responsibility of building a respectful, safe, and well-integrated community. Your RA becomes your go-to person in the case of any questions, problems, or if you’re just looking for someone to talk to. Every RA on campus is another smiling face that I remember I could always rely on (I’ll always remember that mine was Denise, and she was the coolest RA around, always helping me out with my essays and throwing ice cream parties for my friends and I). Throughout the year, rez life offers numerous amounts of programs and eShinerama Colour Runvents, ranging from late night mac and cheese to educational roundtables discussing current events. I always made an effort to attend these programs (especially at the beginning of the year) because I knew that they were my opportunity to meet the people that I was sharing a building. In fact, the residence life team does such a great job at providing incoming students with the chance to meet one another that within the first 24 hours of moving onto campus you can’t help but feel like you belong in your new home (even if you can’t remember everyone’s name right away– don’t worry… it happens to everyone). But that’s where the founding of your Bishop’s family starts… right there in those initial days of introductions and activities. As the year progresses, those people that you live with, attend events with, and go to class with, will end up becoming your new best friends and your support system.

I’ll be honest with you, rez isn’t perfect. For example, I definitely didn’t love having to walk up and down three flights of stairs to do my laundry, and sometimes it can be frustrating to still be using an Ethernet cord for internet connection (they’re working on getting wifi but my year we suffered through it). There are also some areas of residence that are a little unrealistic in terms of living in the real world… and it’s AWESOME. For instance, how often do you get to live a minute’s walk away from your classroom? Some people can almost literally roll out of bed and into their seat for their class at 8:30am. Also, how often New Family, First Yearin life are you a hop, skip, and a jump away from some of the best university food (that you don’t have to make yourself OR clean dishes for afterwards) in the country? I’m talking omelets every day for breakfast (if you want), gyros, crêpe stations, a wide-variety salad bar, smoothies, the lot! Not to mention that the Dewies (the name of the meal hall) staff are so accommodating to any dietary need you might have… AND they have the friendliest service (just wait until you meet Trudy, AKA every first year’s second mom). Believe me, there are a lot of perks to living on campus that you miss once you move off… take it from someone who moved back to on-campus living after moving off-campus during second year.

I think I’ll end by saying that residence is a must if you’re moving to Bishop’s for the first time. By no means is a requirement to live in rez, but I would recommend it. It’s the greatest opportunity to get integrated into the threads of Bishop’s culture and community. It’s an experience that fosters learning how to successfully balance the educational, social, and developmental aspects of university. It provided me with the tools to build my life here at BU, and I am forever grateful for the lessons and friends that living on campus has given me. I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.

Raise a toast!

Rob

P.S. Just in case you were wondering, I’d recommend you bring a foam layer for the top of your bed… not everything about living in rez is perfect!

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