And So it Begins…

Well, as it I sit in my residence room and wait for the results of the Huron Student Council Elections I thought I would take the opportunity to write a little bit about my first few weeks at university. I told myself at the beginning of this whole experience that I would not write a typical post about how nervous I was about starting school or about how amazing orientation week was. I am instead going to write a little bit about some of the changes associated with starting university.

Ok, so change number 1. This is really obvious and it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that I would write about it. I am in fact part of the mass of UWO students that will live out the better part of the year in residence. I myself happen to live in the oldest residence building on the Huron campus in a single room overlooking a small patch of trees and green space. Overall I am relatively happy with my lodgings. My room is not overly large, but then again why should it need to be? As the year goes on I expect the time spent in my room to decrease significantly, thus decreasing my need for any extra space. For the time being I have enough space to comfortably work, sleep and live. One advantage that I have over other that may be staying in similar sized abodes is that I do not have to allocate any of my storage space to alcohol or alcoholic paraphenilia! To this point in the year I have maintained my abstinence from drinking. It has become somewhat of a badge of honour for me to be the only sober one on my floor!

This brings me to my next bit of commentary. On my floor there is an extremely diverse collection of individuals. During the first week of school everyone had their names carefully labeled on their doors. This was thanks to the painstaking work of our floor don who must have spent hours crafting these name plates. As I walked the halls (attempting to find the bathroom for the first time) I discovered that not only was I not going to know any of my floor mates, I was going to be completely incapable of pronouncing a number of their names. But no matter, since that first week I have managed to aquaint myself with the majority of people on my floor and successfully remember their names. My pronounciation may still not be stellar, but I’m working on it!

My only major complaint about my living quarters would have to be the bathrooms. Now, let me just paint you a brief picture. I live on a co-ed floor comprising of single rooms, double rooms and suite style accomodations. All students living in suite style accomodation or double rooms have access to bathrooms for their suite. In order to prevent the creation of a co-ed washroom, Huron ensured that all of the females on my floor were in a suite style dorm. This ensured that they would have their own bathroom facilities. What this means is that the 8 males in single rooms all share the same washroom. Now, by reputation, guys do not have the best record in the cleanliness department. Let me tell you, my residence floor is a complete and utter comfirmation of the stereotype. Let’s just say that our washroom is, through no fault of the fantastic maintenance staff, never clean. I have learned to time my morning showers in accordance with the cleaning schedule of the washrooms.

Ok, so I didn’t really expect to go into this much detail on living in residence itself, but I feel as though I must mention to more areas before I move on. The first of this is the business of actually getting sleep when one is living in res. Over the past three weeks I have been forced to learn how to shut out random white noise from the hallway. One can become very attached to his iPod and headphones under these conditions. For the majority of people, the first three weeks of university have been more like a glorified trip to camp. Living away from home, free of parental contraints and in the presence of a large population of members of the opposite sex has led many people to party hard! And when I mean party hard, I mean party hard from Monday to Sunday and then all over again next week. To this point very few people have been hit with the reality of school and have not had the opportunity to fail that first assignment and realize, “shit, I’ve got to pass.” So for the time being, my nights are filled with periodic wake up calls in the form of Huron cheers (Oy oy oy!), clever drinking songs and slurred attempts at British accents. I have come to enjoy these periodic demonstrations of student culture and almost look forward to the next commotion from the hall outside my door.

The last aspect of res life that I will deal with for now is food. I wasn’t exactly sure how I would like purchasing all of my meals off of a meal card. I was leery of cafeteria horror stories and tales of strange commercial experiments. However, over my first three weeks at Huron I have pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food on campus. The Huron Cafeteria is staffed from 7am-7pm most days and features a number of fantastic food options. They have everything from fresh made sandwiches, salads, stir frys and burgers to Pizza Pizza pizza, muffins, fresh fruit, vegetables and traditional main course meals. The food for the most part is reasonably priced although I am not entirely sure the price of everything yet. When one buys food with a meal card, the cost of the food is often lost in the transaction. Perhaps part of what makes the Huron dinning experience so enjoyable is the fact that the dinning hall is staffed by mainly the same staff day in and day out. This gives students and staff alike the opportunity to meet and get to know the cafe team. As long as you treat them well they will do their best to make your eating experience a good one at Huron.

Now there is more to Huron than just living in res, food and late night partying. I do in fact attend classes at the University. One major aspect of why I chose Huron had to do with its offer of small class sizes and adaptive learning environments. For the most part they seem to making good on their promise of small and engaging classes. My first term classes are Political Science, History, French, Global Studies and Computer Science. In all of my classes I have professors that seem to care about the success of their students. I will admit that j’ai peur de ma classe de la francais!! If that doesn’t mean anything to you then this is a taste of what I go through every French class! I sit in class and struggle to follow the mainly French conversation. With this being said, I have understood all of the homework so far and really am not completely hopeless at French. To be honest, I know that French is going to take up a lot of my time compared to my other classes and I would just rather not have to do the work! That being said, I really like the idea of being able to speak French, and will in the end put whatever effort is necessary into the course.

Alright, the last thing that I will comment on will be the recent development of my bus skills. Up until this year I had never really taken the bus before. I had taken it on occasion, but I think my trip total equaled somewhere in the mid single digits. Thanks to the diligent tutelage of a great friend I have been able to navigate myself to a few different locations around London via bus. By no means am I great transit pro, but I am certainly getting better. I feel as though I will always know where I am going in life if I remember the numbers 10 and 17!

Ok, so when I sat down to write this I didn’t intend to write nearly this much, but apparently I have succeeded in filling quite a bit of space with my ramblings. Hopefully you have found at least some little tidbit of enjoyable information in this lengthy post, but if not I guess there isn’t much I can do about it. For now I am finished writing and off to ride the bus to band practice!

Thanks for reading!!

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