Moving into residence this September? This post is for you!
Much like everyone says, res life will truly become one of the best experiences of your life. From waking up 15 minutes
before your class to staying up at night to play intense games of air hockey, residence life is often one of the most memorable parts of the “student experience.” To help you transition from home to residence and help you make the most of your experience, I will be sharing some tips and pieces of advice today, ones inspired by my own time in residence and some research.
Nota bene: I lived in the Pond Residence — a suite-style (two rooms, one kitchen and one bathroom) building to which returning upper-year students receive priority. Fun fact: the Pond Residence was recently mentioned as one of the best university residences in Canada by the Huffington Post. In what follows, I will try my best to speak to both traditional and suite-style residences, but be sure to alter my tips to match your specific situation!
Coming into York, I was very nervous, as all of my high-school friends were going to different universities. One day I posted a bio on the Accepted to YorkU Facebook page where a girl, who was coincidentally in my program, commented on my post. We bonded over our love for Mayday Parade and Doraemon and even had the opportunity to meet at an open house. We decided to request each other as roommates — and had a blast the entire year! Long story short: Do not worry if you don’t have a roommate or don’t know the one chosen for you. You will be paired up with someone based on your residence questionnaire, and after the inevitable awkward moment of silence on move-in day, you will likely come to an understanding of the other. If, however, you are facing serious issues with your roommate/feel threatened in any way, make sure to get in touch with your residence dons and coordinators.
This had to be one of the most bitter-sweet moments of my life. Although I was excited to move in to a brand-new place and get a glimpse of the year ahead, I was equally sad about leaving my family and hometown behind — it was only later that realized what a beautiful godsend GO buses and weekends were!
Here are a few tips:
Tip #1: Remember to bring photo ID when moving in! To pick up your keys, you need to show appropriate photo ID (YU-card, driver’s license or passport). Keys will not be given to anyone other than the resident. Pro tip: It can be a challenge to always remember your keys, so I recommend bringing in a lanyard on the first day to which you can attach your YU-card and your key, because you will be using both on a regular basis.
Tip #2: If you can, move into residence on the official move-in day. Why? Because on move-in day, “frosh” or Orientation leaders and residence staff will help you move your belongings from the entrance of your residence to your room, which makes things more efficient. Also, move-in day is usually the day of the res BBQ, which is a great way to get to know everyone in your building.
Tip #3: With a permanent marker in big font, label every cardboard box with its contents and your room number. Not only will this keep you more organized, but if for some reason one of your boxes goes missing, people will also know where they can return it. Pro-tip: Do not tape these boxes until move-in day, because chances are high that you will add, remove or adjust items.
Tip #4: Bring gloves and other cleaning materials. Even though the Housing offices clean all rooms thoroughly before move-in, there is no harm in coming prepared in case of any accidents while you unpack, or if you are especially careful about your personal spaces. Besides, an extra wipe sometimes makes the place more immediately feel like your own.
I won’t give you a gigantic list of things you should bring to residence; you can find those here and here. Instead, I’ll give you a small list of essential items that I was very thankful to have brought with me:
- Fan: For those hot September and October days!
- Flip-flops for the shower: Trust me, you don’t want to skip these!
- Extension cord: How else will you charge your laptop, your phone, dry your hair and have your lamp on at the same time?
- Face/hand/kitchen towels: This one seems a bit random, but believe me, you will thank me for your extensive linen collection when the time comes.
- Wall/cupboard hooks: Where else will you put all your towels? (Make sure to bring hooks that won’t damage the surfaces to which they are attached.)
- Storage: If you know you require more space to put items, consider units such as a shoe rack, under-the-bed storage or a mini drawer set.
- Earplugs: Pretty self-explanatory; if you are a light sleeper, you may be using these a lot.
- Mini sewing kit: This item I didn’t actually bring with me. The night before a super important, career-based event, the button on my blazer broke — two hours, tons of texts and a messy closet later, I finally found someone with a sewing kit in my residence. You cannot imagine how thankful I was!
One of the perks of living in residence is the Meal Plan: food at the swipe of your YU-card!
Nota Bene: Meal Plans are mandatory for all traditional-style residences. Since Calumet and Pond Road Residences are suite-style, they do not require it. Bethune offers a mix of suite- and traditional style, so whether you need a Meal Plan or not will depend on your specific room.
Meal Plans have two major components: Meal Plan dollars and taxable dollars. Meal Plan dollars can be used at any restaurants and cafés on the Keele and Glendon campuses except the Bubble Tea, Qoola and Yogen Früz outlets at Keele. Meal Plan dollars are non-taxable, which means you do not pay HST. Taxable dollars are any amount of money left on your Meal Plan. They can be transferred to another academic year but will be charged HST and may require a program fee (refer to the chart above).
On top of Meal Plan and taxable dollars, you can also add flex dollars, which can be used for food and snacks at campus eateries; books and supplies at the YU Bookstore; printing and photocopying on campus; residence laundry machines; and goods and services at participating off-campus merchants. Flex dollars do not expire.
In first year, I got the Suite Meal Plan (only available for Calumet, Bethune Suites and Pond Road Residences). Because I used my kitchen and brought leftovers from home, I still have part of my Meal Plan left (I am going into second year now). Remember to choose your Meal Plan wisely — you can always add more money to it (in the form of flex dollars) later on!
Resources at York:
Lastly, let’s talk about a few of the resources at York. Let’s face it: no matter how much of a great experience residence can be, we can still get homesick. Here are a few resources that personally helped me feel more at home, more entertained and safer:
goSAFE: Walking home at night or walking by yourself can sometimes be scary — YorkU has a great service, the largest of its kind in Canada, that allows students to call in and get a pair of escorts to walk them to their next location or wait on the bus with them. goSAFE was my savior when I had those late nights at Scott Library during exam season.
Pharmacy/Shoppers Drug Mart: The Shoppers Drug Mart is a new addition to the campus, and its pharmacy and other essentials, located right in York Lanes, might be lifesavers.
Appletree Medical Centre: Although I — thankfully — never had to use this service, YorkU students have access to an on-campus medical clinic at York Lanes.
Tait McKenzie: If you are ever looking for a gym or a place to be active, look no further, Tait McKenzie is for you. With a 15-dollar per year membership, you really can’t go wrong!
A Final Note:
I hope this post will help ease your transition from home to one of the YorkU campuses! Regardless of any homesickness you may feel, res life will truly be one of the most memorable moments in your undergraduate career. Now that I am commuting, I really miss residence, its convenience and the multitude of opportunities it opened up for me. So make sure you take advantage of living in proximity to your classes and to Toronto, and do get involved within your residence!
If you have any questions at all about residence life or the campus, feel free to leave a comment below or tweet @YorkUStudents with the #YUBLOG.