On-Campus Housing Survival Guide : New school, new environment, new friends. (PART 2)

So you are finally moved in!  What do you do now??  Where am I supposed to go from here??  Well, here are some things you might be interested in doing AFTER you are all moved in / settled in.

AFTER you are all moved in :

1. Meet your roommates : I am not saying you should stake out of your roommates’ rooms to ambush them with your smothering.  Just a routine meet and greet is more than sufficient.  You’ll hear them move around and stuff, so you don’t necessarily have to be too eager to meet them.  If you can’t wait till you get to meet them, just leave  your inner door open for now.  That’s usually a good way of letting your roommates know you are willing to meet them and say hi.  You are right there!  They can’t miss you.  When you see your roommates, just put a big smile on, introduce yourself and say hi.  If they are decent people, they will do the same.  This is usually perfect time to feel out whether you and your roommate / roommates are going to get along or not.  These are the people you are going to end up for the next 4 months or so, so it’s better if you can get along.  If not, you can always find other people to socialize with, so it’s no big deal.  However, make sure anything common-area related rules (Bathroom cleaning and etc.) are abode by everyone in the quads, including yourself, so it’s good to get together with them to discuss the mutual respect issues and etc.

2. Mutual Respect and Rules : Most of the roommate conflicts I had dealt with in the past as an RA, were mostly simple problems that could have been solved by the students themselves.  Such as noise issues, bathroom cleaning and etc. Most issues are just common sense related issues.  It’s 2 in the morning, maybe it’s not a good idea to turn up the volume on your stereo system with the bass thumping.  You forgot / neglected cleaning the bathroom on your turn, and your roommate had to do it for you 3 times in a row.  He’s mad at you for not pulling the same weight.  Can you really blame the guy?  Be considerate.  Try to see things in other people’s shoes.  Would I like it, if someone was blaring music 2 in the morning when I have midterm early in the morning tomorrow?  If you did everything you could to solve the problem, but your neighbor simply does not fix the issues you raised, then contact RAs or Staff, they’ll be more than happy to handle it for you.  The worst case scenario, we can even move you or the roommate in question to another room, so it’s not the end of the world, if you don’t get along with your roommate.

What you do in your room *most cases* are your own business, as long as you are not bothering people around you. (**OCH does have ZERO TOLERANCE policy for illegal drugs, so absolutely NO ILLEGAL DRUGS are allowed on the OCH property.)   Just remember, OCH doesn’t ask you much. No illegal drugs, No alcohol outside of your room, No loud noises.  That’s pretty much it.  Pretty simple, isn’t it?  As for everything else, just use your common sense.

4. OCH Services / Events Participation : OCH offers tons of services for its students such as : Movie nights, grocery runs, free pizza day and etc. USE Them.  Not only they are helpful, it’s also the best way to meet new people.  You don’t even have to depend on the events / services that RAs or Staff come up with.  If you have a great idea for events, and you’d like to make it into an ongoing thing (Zumba class, Pilate class, Lazer Tag, 5 Pin Bowling or hiking excursion and etc.), just talk to the staff or RAs, they’ll be more than happy to accommodate your ideas!  They may even be able to provide you with means of transportation or financial aid.  If you want to be an active part of this community, we are behind you 100%.  You don’t have to be a RA or a Staff to make a difference.  Your opinion matters.

5. TRU Student Services :   http://www.tru.ca/studentservices.html  If you want information on what Thompson Rivers University has to offer for its students, look no further than this link!  Not only you can get whatever services you need from there, you can also volunteer for many positions to help other students.

6. International Students : If you are an international student, don’t worry.  You’ll fit in OCH just fine.  About 25-30% of the OCH students are from all over the world.  Not only it’s a perfect place to learn about Canada and its culture and people, it’s also a great place to experience other cultures from other countries.  In my days, I had Swedish, Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Israeli, Canadian, Bangladeshi, Finnish, German and French friends. All of them, I met from OCH.  It’s like a mini U.N. here!  I understand most of you might be feeling a bit homesick and all, but don’t let that feeling hold you back from venturing out and experience all that is Canadian.  If you are not familiar with Canadian customs, learn them.  Ask around.  No one would judge you for wanting to know.  You are new here, we understand.  There are numerous resources available for international students around the campus and within OCH.  There are many friendly Canadian students who are more than eager to make new international friends.  Canadian students are just about as curious about you as you are about them.  Smile and friendliness is a universal language. Use them.

As for Canadian students who have international students as roommates, please try to be as friendly and as welcoming as possible.  These students are 1000s of miles from home, all by themselves, please be friendly.  Keep in mind that they are from somewhat to completely different cultures from all over the world, please try to be more understanding.  Don’t forget what you do or say to them also reflects on what their views on Canada and Canadians.  Not a bad idea to set a good example instead of bad ones.  Same goes for international students. You don’t want to set a bad example of whatever country you are from either, right?  Be considerate.  Respect each other.  Use your common sense.

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Awesome room organization ideas.

Welcome to your own Fortress of Solitude for the next 2-4 years!!  By now, you might have realized that the room isn’t that big.  You might be wondering how you’d be able to fit all your stuff into your room.  Here are some creative ways to expand your space a little bit.

1. Get wall organizers :  Like this. http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/categories/departments/bedroom/10452/ If you can hang things, hang’em.  You wouldn’t believe how much stuff you can put into that room! (I literally had a truck full of stuff in my room when I lived there, along with hundreds of DVDs and 40 inch TV.)

2. You can remove the desk / bed, if you don’t need them : Yes, you can remove them!  Just talk to the staff down at the office and they’ll get it out of there.  Now you have plenty more space you can work with.

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3. Life your bed up with plastic milk boxes (or something equivalent) : Life your bed up with something, so you can stuff things underneath it.  You can put plastic bins / boxes and etc. you won’t need right away.  My friend Kristine did this and it was brilliant!

4. Get leather / nylon carrying cases for your CDs and DVDs : Leave the plastic cases home and store your CDs and DVDs in nice little leather cases.  You’ll save tons of space!

5. Ebooks : Yes, yes, I know.  I have a lot of books too.  If you are an avid reader like myself, I would strongly recommend getting a KOBO or Kindle ebook readers.  Books are awesome, but unfortunately, they also take up a lot of space.

That’s pretty much all I can think of right now.  Feel free to let me know of your own way of saving spaces in your quad on the comment section below!

 

On-Campus Housing Survival Guide : New school, new environment, new friends. (PART 1)

Home away from Home

Home away from Home

So you have finally moved out of your parents’ house and ventured into the life of solitude.  You may be terrified of living on your own away from your familiar surroundings or you may be completely excited and happy about your new-found freedom… or maybe a little bit of both.  Either way, the life at the Student Housing, for most of you, would probably be almost a surreal experience… at least in the beginning. At times, you will wonder, if you have made the right decision.  My advice to you is : Don’t worry about it.  You want to have a lively, fun experience at the housing?  You’ve got it!  You want to have a uninterrupted, solitary life?  You can have that too!  That’s what is so great about living in a student housing.  As long as you respect the rules of the housing and people around you, you can pretty much do whatever you’d like to do.

For the people who are terrified of living on your own : Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as you think.  A university life just isn’t a university life, if it weren’t for all the support services offered by the school.   There are tons of student support resources around the campus and also around the student housing area.  If you have any questions, anything at all, just ask any On Campus Housing (OCH)’s staff or Resident Advisors (RAs), they’ll point you to the right direction.

For those who are excited about your new-found freedom : Yes, you get to do a lot of stuff without anyone interfering.  No one is going to stop you from doing what you want.  However, just remember this one thing.  “With great power, comes great responsibility.”  Yup, you may have the rights to exercise your freedom, but make sure that your rights to freedom doesn’t hinder other people’s rights.  Especially your roommates’.  Remember that you are not a high school kid anymore.  You’ll have to put on your big boy/girl pants from now on.  Having the rights to the freedom also means that you have to take responsibility for whatever actions you take.

Either way, there are a lot of things you could do at the OCH to enhance your life dramatically.  Here are some of the ones I think everyone should know.

Chapter 1.  WHEN YOU MOVE IN.

1. Community life : I cannot stress this enough.  OCH ins’t just a housing lodge.  We strive to build a friendly and lively community.  Everything we do here is about making you at home.  Hence the slogan “Home away from home.”  All the events, grocery runs and services offered are to build that community to make you feel at ease and keep you happy.  Think of OCH as a small village where you are a citizen of.  Get involved! You have the power to influence the life of everyone in OCH either positively or negatively.  The choice is up to you.

2. On-Campus Housing Student Handbook :  Those pink / purple booklets from OCH, when you moved in?  Read those thoroughly.  Know your rights!

2. Central Rez (Common Area) : Utilize this place as often as possible.  There will be new events everyday whether it be by OCH or the school.  Check out the bulletin board, if you want something to do.  CR has a big screen TV, Surround Sound System, Wii, PS3 and it’s always bustling with activities.  If you want to make new friends, this is the place you’d like to come to.  There’ll always be like-minded people there watching TV, playing pool, or just chatting up.  When I was going to school, I had made a lot of new friends just hanging out there.  We cooked together, we watched movies together, we played games together.  It was good times.  It’s open from 9am-4am, so it’s pretty much open all day to accommodate whatever activity you’d like to do.

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3. Study Room within Central Rez : You have group studies and etc, this place will be perfect for you.  If you want somewhere other than your room to study or read books, just come on down to study room and do your thing there.  During the non-test seasons, you can also play boardgames in the study room.  If you don’t have a board game, you can rent one for free from the office.

Study Room

Study Room

4. Laundry Room : Ahh, the laundry room.  OCH has number of coin-operated washing machines and dryers down in the basement section of Central Rez.  If you are out of quarters, you can always get some exchanged over at the office.  If you don’t mind the ambient noise of washing machine and dryers tumbling, this place also make an excellent study room.  Just pull up a chair and do your homework or read a book.  *Bike lock and the mail room are also located around the area.

Laundry Room

Laundry Room

5. Your room : OCH is a quad system.  You have your own room and you have a common area with a bathroom you share with your roommates in the middle that you can connect to via inner door.  Unlike other typical student housing that usually has a hallway, OCH has a balcony.  If you are more of a social type, you have an option to be friendly with your roommates.  Just leave your inner door open and you can start socializing.  My old roommate and I used to leave our inner doors open, so we could talk and hang out, if we wanted to, while my other 2 roommates were more solitary types who locked themselves into their rooms and played video games all night.  If you are more of a hermit, you also always have an option to lock both doors and do whatever within the confines of your room.

Your Room

Your Room

6. Be friendly : No one’s going to scold you for being friendly.  Introduce yourselves to your roommate.  Take the initiative.  Don’t forget most of you guys are on the same boat.  They may not know anyone around the area either and maybe dying to make some new friends themselves.  Take advantage of any kind of OCH events that may peak your interest, you may meet some other people with the same interest as you!

7. Free Food : Welcome back parties, Pizza nights… Pasta nights.  Occasionally OCH will throw free food event.  That’s when virtually EVERYONE in OCH comes out.  The best event ever to show up to meet your neighbors.  Have some grub, share some laughs and make some new friends.

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8. Resident Advisors (RAs) : Know who your Resident Advisor is.  Remember his/her name and room number.  They have been here for a while, so they know where to direct you or how to help you in case you ever need any help with anything.  They usually are the best source of information about anything OCH.  If you have any problem with your room / shower / roommates, just contact them and let them know, they’ll help you solve the issue in no time.  Think of them as your big brother / sister you can always depend on.

9. OCH Staff / Office : The Staff at OCH are always present from Monday – Friday 9am-5pm.  If you need an administrative help or you’d like to borrow an Iron and etc., this is the place to visit.  OCH’s friendly staff will help you with any admin / maintenance problems.

OCH Office

OCH Office

10. Parking : If you have paid for it, you’ll get a designated parking spot.  If you have a guest over and visitor parking is full, just talk to anyone at the office or RAs, they would be able to assign your guest a special parking spot. (Depends on if we have an available parking spot or not).  **Don’t let them park in someone’s spot without the approval from the office, they’ll get towed or booted.

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