It’s getting closer! The beginning of a school term is just weeks away and chances are, you might be panicking.
Is this your first year at university or college? There is a lot that you need to wrap your head around so we’re going to try to make it a bit easier on your brain for some first year basics.
Before you continue stressing out, now would be a great time to just pause, take a deep breath and breathe out nice and slowly. There, bet you feel a bit better now, don’t ya? It’s amazing what a little breathing can do for your mental state. Are you ready? Here we go!
Do’s and Don’ts for Residence
As a first year student this might be your first time living away on your own, away from your family. It’s going to be a learning curve but don’t worry. Most residences have a Resident Advisor that is a senior who has been through this all before. They are there to answer your questions, help you with your check in and to make sure that you get a solid foundation for your journey. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. It’s always better to ask if you aren’t sure instead of potentially breaking rules.
Let’s take a look at some do’s and don’ts for what to bring to residence:
- Pack flip flops. You’re going to be sharing a showering space with loads of other people. Protect your feet.
- Invest in a small basket for your toiletries. Trying to carry your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush and anything else you might use along with your clothes and towel might just be a bit much for you to balance. Check your local dollar store for a mid sized basket. Plastic is best!
- Bring your own bedding. This means sheets, pillows, pillowcases and any comforters or duvets you might use.
- Slippers. Trust us; floors are cold.
- If you plan on cooking at all, a small pot and pan along with some cutlery and dishes would be great. If you’re on a great meal plan, you might be okay to skip these items.
- Alarm clock: can you trust your phone to wake you up every day? If so, use that. If not, an alarm clock will be your best friend.
- Extension cord/power bar. Sometimes you’ll only have one or two outlets to your side of the room.
- Have you read the checklist that your school provides? Take a look:
- Some residences have rules about posters and hanging pictures. You might not be allowed to bring any. Check the guides above.
- Any extra furniture should be left at home. Those rooms are small enough as it is.
- Pets aren’t usually allowed. You might get away with a fish, but leave Pooch and Fluffykins behind. Bring their pictures instead.
- Candles or anything that need fire should be left at home. That means your fondue parties are also on hold for a bit.
- Are you going to be printing so much that you need your own printer? Doubtful. Use the services on campus.
- Subwoofer. Trust us. You don’t want your roommates and floormates to hate you.
- Mattresses are not allowed. Reason? Bedbugs. Ew.
- Leave your heaters and heat lamps at home. Those are fire hazards!
What to Expect
Residences are shared living spaces. This means you will most likely have a roommate and you’ll need to work on various problem solving skills. You’ll want to brush up on your people skills and your communication tactics. Residences usually don’t let you change your roommate unless there are serious problems so that means you’ll be with this person the entire year. If you play your cards right, you might just gain a new best friend.
Of course not everyone is going to get along all the time. There may be neighbours you have issues with or perhaps you want to throw a party but your floormates would rather study for their midterms. Be considerate and that effort will take you a long way!
The residence experience is a new chapter in your life and will teach you a lot about how communities work, how other people communicate and maybe you’ll even learn a lot about yourself in the process. Don’t expect everything to be perfect, especially if this is the first time you’ve lived in residence. There are a lot of other people in the same boat as you, so you can rest assured you are not alone.
Take all these tips and make them your own. This is your experience and the way you’ll live it will be different than others. We can’t tell you exactly how everything will go and we also can’t give you a concrete game plan on how your first stay in residence is going to be. What we can do is give you some tips and help ease the transition you’ll find yourself in. It may seem like the first week is the hardest but you can make it!
About “The Navigator”
“The Navigator” is a monthly blog about student life by the Campus Manitoba Virtual Help Desk. Check back monthly to find more tidbits of wisdom with “The Navigator”. You’ll be sure to find all kinds of information that will help you be successful in your educational journey. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more news and information!