So I’ve been living in student residence for almost 2 months now, and let me tell you, it is very different from how they advertise it. Now, I’m not saying it’s bad! Far from it! I love living in rez. My closest friends here are all from my floor. We spend our afternoons studying in each others rooms, our evenings eating together in the Vanier caf (those smoothies are fabulous!) and we spend the weekends shopping downtown or just relaxing together. However, it isn’t all fun and games, which is why I made this list to tell you the things I’ve learned in rez so far.
1. You won’t be best friends with everyone from your floor. Sorry to break it to you guys, but you won’t click with everybody. Some people just push your buttons, and that’s perfectly okay. You don’t have to love everyone, you just have to respectfully get along with them. And if that’s not okay with you, you can always just hermit in your room all the time.
2. The food here is not as good as they say it is. So you come to Vanier (or Totem for that matter). You spend your first week eating all the different food in the caf. Chicken burger on Monday and stir fry on Tuesday? For sure! Feeling ambitious? You can have both on the same day because they’re from different restaurants and you have unlimited choices. You spend week two picking out your favourite meals from your favourite places. You spend week three eating from only those places. Then the food starts blurring together. You realize that it’s almost the exact same food from day to day. And by the end of the month, you feel like you don’t have any choices at all. The food is the exact same every single day, and it’s not even good anymore. It has somehow DEGRADED in quality, so now you just eat salad and croissants from the bake shop, and reminisce about how young and naive you were at the beginning of the month. Also you’re running out of flex dollars, so the burgers at Triple O’s are no longer a good option for when you need to get away from the caf. Also the fruit is always frozen.
3. Vanier Ultimate League is the bomb. You know how in those college movies, there’s always this crazy spirit at homecoming football games? Where everyone is cheering and freaking out about how their team is winning/losing and how they wish they could be the athletes? Well now you can be. Each house has its own Ultimate Frisbee team. We have an entire Ultimate league that plays each Saturday for 50 minutes for FREE. And sometimes it is just so nice to get up at 10am and lace up your cleats and play a slightly hardcore game of frisbee in the crisp autumn air. If that’s your scene, then go for it! If not, you can always grab a hot chocolate and come cheer on your house. Now that’s team spirit.
4. You might spend a lot of time in the hallway. Most floors in Place Vanier or Totem are blessed with a floor lounge. Only a select few unlucky floors don’t have one. My floor is one of those floors. We don’t have the luxury of a TV on our floor, or a few couches where we can relax. The result? We have a lot of what I like to call hallway parties. This is where one or two of us start talking in the hallway, and soon are joined by more and more people. And eventually, we end up with about 9 or 10 people standing/sitting in the hallway just chatting about their day. These are a regular occurrence, and they are so much fun.
5. On that note, rez is still loud after quiet hours. Our floor is notorious in our house for being loud after quiet hours, which start (very unreasonably I think) at 9pm on weekdays. It isn’t unusual for us to be having a semi-quiet hallway party at 11pm on any day of the week, and even later on weekends (those usually involve pizza). You learn to sleep (or study) through the noise.
6. The cafeteria closes really early on weekends. So you’re out with your friends on a Saturday afternoon. You spend some time outside, maybe go down to Broadway or downtown. You head back around 7pm, go to grab some grub and HEY! the cafeteria is CLOSED. Yes, closed. It closes at 7:30 on a weekend, and at 8:45 on weekdays. That seems like a fairly reasonable time, but if you get to the caf any later than 7:30, all of the hot food is gone. By 8, the salad bar is practically empty and the fruit is getting put away, and by 8:30, it is completely closed off and you can really only hope to grab crackers from the soup area. Yes, it sucks, especially on those days where you’re studying later than you mean to and you miss dinner. There is always Hubbards downstairs, where you can choose from an assortment of instant noodles and Michelina’s instant dinners, but it’s just not the same as eating in the caf.
7. Frat parties are cray cray. Since the beginning of September, I’ve been to 4 frat parties. And I’ve loved them. At home, I was never really a huge partier, but I’ve found that it is just so much fun to head out to a frat and dance the night away. And hey, it’s an experience that every first year needs to have, right? So do it some time, and I promise you won’t regret it!
8. Laundry is expensive and annoying. Honestly. How can laundry be so expensive? You would think that since we pay so much to live here, we could do our laundry for free, but apparently that’s not the case. Each load of laundry is $1.25 to wash, and $0.60 to dry, and after a while that starts to add up. Also, the laundry machines are barely ever not in use, since approximately 100 of us have to use 3 washers, and we all tend to do laundry on the weekend. It takes a lot of patience and waiting around to do laundry, but make sure you’re not the person who leaves their large load of laundry in the washer after the cycle is done on the middle of a Saturday. Because people will take it out and put it on top of the washer, and you don’t want other people touching your clean clothes. Trust me on this.
9. You will probably not be best friends with your roommate. In all the movies, two girls move into a dorm room. From that moment on, they are inseparable. They share their feelings, their food, have slumber parties together, and become the absolute best of friends. This is a fantasy. My roomie and I are friends, no doubt about that. We’re in very different programs, so we don’t see each other often due to conflicting schedules. When we’re in the room together, I’m usually doing homework or watching TV and she’s usually on Skype with her boyfriend. I give her tea, she gives me food. We have a good relationship, but I’m not close with her. If this is what you’re expecting, then good luck!
10. If your window faces Wreck Beach, you will smell weed. Like all the time. For some reason, some brilliant people decide to smoke weed behind our house. Maybe it’s because we have a “forest” (it isn’t actually a forest, it has like 5 trees in it). Maybe it’s because they’re too lazy to go somewhere else? I don’t know why, but for some reason, the smell of weed often permeates our room. I just light a candle and leave my door open, and eventually the smell goes away.
So that is all for now! I’m sure there are more things I’ve learned so far, but this is all I can remember at the moment. So take care everyone, I hope this has shed a little light on the subject of student residences at UBC!