By Alex Guibord
I literally weigh-in at an unflattering 15 lbs. heavier than I did before I entered my first year at Pitman Hall. This phenomena is infamously known as the Freshman 15. And I am better for experiencing it. Seriously.
When it comes to residence, I’ve been there, done that, and even got the T-shirt — still one size too small. My story is not the rejected National Lampoon script I thought it might be a year ago.
This screenplay, though, does include cheese stick parties, instant-noodle parties, and even pita with smoked tilapia parties. Like I said, I “party.”
The cake parties started last Valentine’s Day when three other friends and I found ourselves bored and filled with self-pity. My solution: “Who needs a ‘real’ reason to celebrate? I mean, nothing says ‘celebration’ like a cake!” Thus began the first of too many fattening visits across Gould Street to the 24-hour Dominion grocery store.
My friend Vicky Tam, then a first-year journalism student, was at the first cake party. “People we hadn’t spoken to were showing up,” she said, adding how free food can be just as good for some people as free beer. “Reading Week was more like Cakefest! Drinking parties in Rez are lame; cake parties are lame, too.”
Especially when exam time comes, your only free time with new residence friends will be dinner time. “You start putting the word ‘party’ in front of anything as an excuse to stop studying,” said my friend Catherine Dawson, now a second-year social work student.
And with a mandatory meal plan that just won’t disappear, and the same slow service at the Ram in the Rye pub, you start to take the “party” off campus. Without the luxury of home-cooked meals, you start to crave things that remind you of it — laughably for me this meant McDonald’s. I took many after-hour, 45 minute walks to the cleanest 24-hour McDonald’s nearby around the University of Toronto campus at Bloor and St. George streets; mind you, often just hours before a Monday morning 8 a.m. lecture. The best part was skipping lecture and giving my metabolism reason to hate me with a post-meal snooze. Ah, residence, full of randomness in Canada’s biggest city that commuters couldn’t buy.
All of this food talk isn’t to say that drinking didn’t play a role as well. I just found it too cumbersome in residence. Expect Pitman Hall, and really all, residence advisors to continue asking you to keep the drunken banter to a minimum. My advice: take it outside.
Looking back, I have no regrets — just the urge for a Ryerson Athletics Centre pass. Now that I have moved off-campus, I take with me keepsakes and memories that I carry — literally around the waistline — as a constant reminder of one crazy year. So if your first-year in residence feels dryer than you thought, don’t fret — that’s where a fake ID comes in handy. Downtown Toronto is too distracting to stay in residence all the time or hide out in the suburbs on a weekend.
Why do you think I moved in the first place?