Living on Campus
What to expect!
Welcome to a whole new world!!
For most students, living in residence is one of their most memorable experiences at University. Living in a community environment is a great way to make friends, learn about the services and opportunities on campus, and make you feel a part of the university you are attending right away.
Moving away from home for the first time is a big deal. In order to ease the worry about finding a place to live, many universities, including Laurier, have begun guaranteeing residence to all first-year students. Although you may not have to worry about finding a place to stay, you may be given the opportunity to decide what kind of living accommodation you would like to be in.
Most universities offer a lot of choice - dormitories, apartments, townhouses etc. You may also get to choose between a single versus double room, a co-ed versus single-sex floor and kitchen facilities versus cafeteria access. It's up to you to check all these options out. The best way to do this is to visit the campus and go for a tour. Attending a university open house is also a good idea. Normally they will include a residence open house on this day and you can check out each residence and speak with the students that live there.
To book a campus tour, click here.
Residence Life - What to Expect
So now you know where you are going to stay, what's next? Well, as soon as you arrive on campus you will be introduced to someone who is going to be an integral part of your first-year experience - your Don. Your Don is a senior student who will be living on your floor. This student is going to be an excellent resource for you and their job is to make sure your transition from high school to university is a smooth one. Whether it's a personal or academic question, this person is who you should talk to (if they don't know the answer they will find it). Remember your Don was once a first-year student too - draw upon their experience!
The next person you will be introduced to will be your roommate or roommates in some cases. This is often one of the most exciting and nerve-racking experiences a first-year student goes through. Most of us at sometime or another have dreamt up the worst roommate scenario possible and have questioned what we would do if we actually got stuck with that person. In most cases what you've dreamt up is nothing like what you will find when you get to campus.
Most universities have a system in place where they will try to match you up with someone who has similar interests. Keep in mind that you and your roommate do not have to be best friends. You are adults now - all you have to do is respect each other's space and lifestyle. More often than not, your roommate(s) will become a big part of your university life. Remember the greatest thing about university is that you will meet people who are very different from you!! Good luck!
Privacy vs. Social Interaction
Do you have your own bedroom?
Do you have your own bathroom?
If you answered yes to one or both of these questions and you've decided to live in residence, you may be in for a huge lifestyle adjustment! Moving from your nice single room at home to a communal living environment can be a little challenging but it can also be a lot of fun - maybe too much fun. One of the biggest environmental adjustments first-year students make is trying to balance their time with their roommates and friends with their need for privacy and personal space. It's easy to find people to hang out with, it's easy to be distracted from school, it's not always easy to take time out for yourself and stay focused.
Balancing Social and Private Time
You can only stay at university if you succeed in the classroom - this is an important concept to remember. Make sure you find a study area away from your residence building. This place could be in the library or in an empty classroom, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that you have a place to go to get your work done.
When you are feeling overwhelmed and losing your ability to stay focused - take a break from campus. Every now and then it's good to get away on the weekend and gain a fresh perspective for your return. Whether you go home for the weekend to visit mom and dad or go and visit a friend at another university, taking a couple of days off just may give you the direction that you need.
Schedule everything. The key to finding a healthy balance between social and private time is organization. Plan ahead what nights you are available to go out and what nights you should stay at home and study. If you know a big social event is coming up, plan your work assignments and study time around it. If you look ahead and plan, there is no reason why you have to miss out on anything!
Plan an exercise or workout schedule for yourself. It is essential that you take time out of your day for yourself - why not do something that makes you feel good? Working out is also a great way to alleviate stress and keep you healthy. If you begin a workout schedule right away you may just avoid that "frosh-15" that everyone talks about!
What do I need to bring? For packing tips, click here.