Residence or commute? The debate goes on. For me, as a first year international student it was a no-brainer, residence, just imagine how much time it would take me to go through customs every day if I commuted. Kidding! But I think that residence was the right choice for me, even if I could have gotten an apartment nearby like many international students do.
So here’s some of the best and the not-quite-the-best things about living on res that come to mind.
One of the things that I love the most about Glendon campus, aka the most stunning place in the whole of the American continent, is that it is located close enough to downtown so that you feel that I can be downtown in 15 minutes instead of being isolated it happens with so many other campuses located outside of the city, but it is also far enough that I don’t always feel like I am in the middle of a giant city. Plus we have the added benefit of resembling the enchanted forests, so students can see on their way to class every morning squirrels, and raccoons, and skunks, and bunnies, and woodpeckers… what was I saying? In a way we get the best of both worlds, the bustling city and the quiet retreat.
Thus one of the best things about living on residence is that I have both my classes and downtown Toronto at my disposition without having to worry about relocating. Glendon is one of the smallest campuses in Toronto, I believe we hold the tittle for shortest commute from any place to another (5 minutes) and thus I am never far from anything, ever,as long as I live on campus. Oh, what’s that? You woke up late because you spend the entire night “studying” with friends and now you are late for class? No problem! Just get out of bed and walk to class! Even changing out of your pajamas is optional, it happens, nobody here will judge. You don’t ever have to deal with traffic, missing the bus or driving. This, likewise includes easy access to Glendon’s resources all the time like the library and the gym. Also, I will confirm this during the months to come, but I’ve heard that not having to wait outside in the snow for the bus to come during winter is pretty flipping awesome.
Here is where things get difficult. Food if you live on res can be a bit more complicated. On the one hand I don’t have to worry about cooking, grocery shopping and cleaning which is in fact quite nice. But on the other hand, residents don’t always have as many food options as people who life on their own, and the cafeteria can in fact get very repetitive. You can get access to a kitchen on campus but you would require a doctor’s note or have a valid reason for needing kitchen access. I personally try to switch what I eat every single day so that I don’t get tired of a specific meal, and maybe go to Keele or Downtown to eat at least once a week so that I can have something different.
Now for social life. Only about 20% of Glendon students live on campus, a very small fraction. And even though it means that you can actually get to know your neighbors and form strong friendships, it also means that during the weekends Glendon turns from a whirling university full of people and activity on a weekday, to a deserted town after it has been pillaged by zombies on weekends.
You would think that residence are under quarantine by the way the campus looks empty on a Saturday. So it can of course get a tad boring, especially if your friends go back home during the weekends which (ehem) most do. It is important not to let yourself become a hermit in your own dorm room, even during the weekday many students lock themselves in their rooms and are never seen. Go out, join a club, go to the gym, at the very least go out with your laptop and watch Netflix outside so at least you can say you saw one other person that day. What I try to do is drive the rest of the students that are left behind out of their dorm-caves and hang out with them. In fact a couple of weeks ago I suggested on Facebook if anyone wanted to go watch The Martian with me and at least 5 people showed up and we had an awesome time (also a good way to make new friends). It is likewise not a bad idea to get to know the rest of international students since, we are the most likely to stay behind. Also,there are a lot of organized activities!