One of my oft-repeated phrases when it comes to residence life has been that it makes getting involved and staying engaged on campus so much easier. Something I often tell parents when they approach me with concerns about residence living and security is that I’ve never lived anywhere where I’ve felt safer than at Glendon (Have you seen a horror movie before? The suburbs are scary).
I moved into residence in September 2010 and didn’t move off campus until July 2012, two months prior to leaving on exchange. I joke that when I moved out of my parents’ place, I never moved home again because I’m such a grateful and loving son (which isn’t entirely true – when I returned from France completely broke, my parents were generous enough to take me in again). But in all honesty, it was the academic and job opportunities I found on campus, rather than a refusal to return to London, that kept me living in residence over the summers.
Residence living is a big decision for many students, and a no-brainer for many others. Coming from about 200km away to a new (and comparatively, huge) city, residence made complete sense for me. Yet, in my first year, I met folks from Toronto who had also decided to live on-campus as well. Whatever the distance, we all knew there was no better way to ensure a successful integration into campus life and community than making it your home in first year.
Check out Coeur de Lion Chronicles to see inside a newly renovated Wood Residence Room
This, of course, is not to say that living in residence will automatically lead to a more fulfilling and well-rounded university experience. You might run across posters advertising cool events on campus more often, and your floormate might try to convince you to join him at his next club meeting, but the choice to get involved is still yours to make. It’s still entirely possible to simply go back and forth between classes and your residence room without getting engaged in any extra-curriculars. The point is, you have a plethora of opportunities just steps away from your new home, but without a willingness to step out of your comfort zone and join in, that accessibility is squandered.
So, what holds folks back from applying? Usually, it’s the cost. Residence can be quite an investment if you live within a commutable distance already. For me this past year, the cost of living downtown off-campus didn’t show me much savings compared to living on campus. Between groceries, rent, utilities, and my Metropass, what I’m saving financially from living on campus could easily be made up for in convenience and time saved. For folks who can live at home, this difference is substantially greater.
Nonetheless, the application fee is low, and you can weigh the pros and cons of living on-campus while you await your room offer. Take into consideration the amount of time you’ll be commuting (time you could be using to get a part-time job or studying on campus), and the costs of commuting (transit, or gas and parking), and the extra planning required for traveling to campus while being prepared for any social events or spur-of-the-moment happenings.
As the application deadline draws closer, I have been encouraging anyone who is still unsure to simply apply and pay the small fee – it gives you more time to make your final decision. Not until you receive your room offer (and need to pay the $250 deposit) do you need to be sure of whether or not you’ll choose residence. If you need any more convincing, just check out what our other eAmbassadors have to say about ResLife, and then go ahead and fill out the application.
Give yourself some more time to consider it. Applying doesn’t hurt, but missing a great opportunity does.