By: Michelle Moreal – The Brock Press
On September 1st, thousands of first-year students at Brock University moved into their new homes – at least for the 2013-14 school year. Whether it be in Decew, Earp, Vallee, Lowenberger, Quarry View, or Village, all of these students are getting what many may consider to be a “true university experience”. Saying goodbye to their loved ones and moving into a new place on their own might have been a little harder than expected. For all, however, it was the beginning of a new chapter and fresh start to the four years to come.
As a first-year student, residence has definitely been one thing so far – a learning experience. Whether you’re living in Village and have to worry about cooking your own meals, or living in Decew and only have to focus on keeping your side of the room tidy, the responsibilities that come with living in residence can sometimes be a handful. Personally, living in Earp and having to keep my room tidy, clean my bathroom, and do my laundry all for the first time on my own was a little overwhelming! That, and of course, keeping up with the workload and making time to meet new friends. Luckily, us first-years are not completely on our own just yet.
In residence, every hall, house, court, or block has their own Don. A Don is an upper year student who lives in residence with first years. Basically, their role is to watch over us and enforce the rules outlined in the Residence Community Guiding Principles handbook. They’re also there for us whenever we need help, advice, someone to talk to or just someone to hang out with! Our Don is a friend that everyone on the floor shares, and ultimately brings us together as a group.
If you’re living in residence, you’re really never lonely. Even if you have a single room, like myself, you are always surrounded by people. In the traditional residences like Decew, Vallee, Earp and Lowenberger, each floor has a common room. The common room contains a student’s basic amenities – a TV, microwave, kettle, couches to lounge around on and even free WiFi. More importantly, the common room is used to have weekly floor meetings and to hang out with hallmates on your down time. On the third floor here in Earp, we’ve spent a lot of time playing games, watching movies and just talking!
Finding the right balance between schoolwork, responsibilities that come with our dorm rooms and our social life can be tough, especially at the beginning. However, having all of these responsibilities, mixed in with the free time that living on our own gives us, makes for the ultimate learning experience. While living in residence can prepare us for what is to come in the future, it also makes the preparation process a lot more fun, because you’re going through it with someone who’s in the exact same boat as you. It’s clear why spending your first year living in residence makes for the best university experience.