By Chloe Shantz-Hilkes
So you’re moving into a Ryerson residence. Breathe. For starters, you’re not alone. Many before you have enjoyed the perils of the ILLC’s temperamental elevators (be advised, the people at the front desk are friendly) and Pitman Hall’s fabled cafeteria food — carrots, cauliflower, beans and broccoli all taste suspiciously alike when perma-boiled.
The truth is that in spite of the hurdles that you’ll face living on campus, you’ll probably find it’s all worth it in the end.
There are just a few things to keep in mind: Winter is just around the bend and fire alarms when it is -30c are no one’s cup of tea, but are a regular occurence. Try to keep a coat and some boots by your door just in case, and always remember to bring your rez I.D. downstairs with you lest you be stuck outside even longer than your friends yelling, “I swear, I live here!” It’s also helpful (especially for you upper-floor residents) to remember that stairs build great quadriceps and are an excellent cardio work-out. Make it your mantra.
On a more serious note, whether or not you have siblings, you do now. Lots of them. Ryerson has over 800 students living in residence each year, and you’ll be in close proximity with at least 30 of them.
Whatever style of room you’ve opted for, you are going to be sharing space. Some of you will have more privacy than others and some of you will be used to more privacy than others, but all of you will probably have less privacy than you may like.
The bottom line is that this is a golden opportunity. This is your chance to meet somebody you’d never have met otherwise – somebody who may be utterly different from you, but who you’ll make friends with just the same. Residence is not just an apartment building that is nice and close to your 8:00 a.m. class, it’s a community of fellow students wanting to make the most of their university experiences. Keep that in mind.
You will get to know some of your floormates’ quirks and eccentricities in the first week, and still be discovering others on move-out day in April. Whether they don’t seem to know the purpose of a vacuum, never get home before 4:00 a.m. or won’t take their turn buying toilet paper, you have a couple options. Earplugs are one course of action (available at most dollar stores, PharmaPlus and Shoppers Drug Mart). Shouting-matches are another less advisable solution, but your best bet is to talk it out.
Be polite, but don’t beat around the bush. Chances are, they might not even know how you’re feeling. It may seem like a lost cause but dealing with a spiteful roommate for a whole year can be a nightmare, especially when the only thing you have against them are some dirty dishes.
A proactive approach never hurts. Start by doing your part — the flip-side to rez horror stories are life-long friendships.
Also, keep in mind that you all have Residence Advisers — upper-year students experienced with rez and sticky situations. They work to help you navigate situations like these. Don’t be afraid to approach them. They’re friendly and they’re trained in conflict resolution. It makes their day when students come talk to them.
At the same time, don’t forget that rule enforcement is also a part of their job — a part they’re sometimes required to do to make sure Ryerson’s residences are safe places. You may not always agree but try to respect your R.A.’s rationale, doing so is almost always better than the alternative.
Lastly, get engaged. Get out there. So you’re shy? That’s okay. Seriously. No one expects you to be your floor’s great entertainer. No one is waiting for your first big event. They know just as much about you as you do them and besides, there’s always going to be someone else who’s dying to be the entertainer. Let them have their fun, but for your own sake, don’t shut your door to it. Your experience in residence will be the most enjoyable if you try and embrace it as much as you can. Get involved. Go to your floor dinners, fundraisers and events. Consider a sleepless night a successful one.
Do try, however, to take a day off when you need to and avoid turning those sleepless nights into sleepless weeks. They come back to haunt you later in the form of GPAs.