What Our Students Say As you prepare to come to Western, you might not know what to expect! Residence is hard to put into words, so here are a few of students who lived in residence and wanted to share their experience with you. Moiz R. Ontario Hall Orientation Student Project Assistant Moiz R. Ontario Hall Orientation Student Project Assistant 2020-21, Ontario Hall ALP 2020-21, Perth Hall Residents' Council President and Residence Soph 2019-20, Perth Hall Residents' Council Commissioner and Floor Rep, 2018-19 I'm an international student coming from Mumbai, India and I applied to a lot of Canadian schools; Western was the only school that had the program and structure I wanted. Then I spoke to one of my friends who said, 'You should totally come to Western. It will be so much more memorable!' As soon as I came, I saw all this energy that these Sophs had. Since day one, I was like, 'Wow, what a culture.' That attracted me towards getting involved. I've never looked back. It has been an experience that's so dear to me. It has helped make my experience so memorable that I've tried to do everything possible in my capacity to do the same for the incoming students next year. Carla R. Medway-Sydenham Hall FIMS Faculty Head Soph Carla R. Medway-Sydenham Hall FIMS Faculty Head Soph 2018-19, FIMS Faculty Soph 2017-18, Medway-Sydenham Hall Residence Soph and Social Media Commissioner 2016-17, Medway-Sydenham Hall Resident 2015-16 “I’ll be home after class,” I catch myself saying to my roommate, Farrah. I stop getting ready for a second and turn to make eye contact with her. “I think that’s the first time I’ve called this my home.” Four weeks prior, I was greeted at the main gates of Medway-Sydenham Hall by a crowd of upper-year students in black coveralls with infectious enthusiasm—Sophs AKA Orientation Leaders. At the time, it was hard to imagine that such a new place would become so comfortable after a month. Like many others, my first week at Western was a blur. Amidst going to events, meeting new people and trying to situate myself in a new environment, I found the constant changes exciting but daunting. Very quickly, the people in the black coveralls—my Sophs Element, Pacific and Bourne—became a source of calm and guidance through it all. Their presence on the floor didn’t stop after OWeek, and they provided that same guidance throughout my entire eight-month journey. They were the instigators of fun, a voice of reason and a shoulder to cry on. My floor started as group of strangers from diverse backgrounds and experiences, but quickly became a cohesive unit. These strangers became friends who would challenge and change my perspectives, and shape our floor into a community unlike anything else I had experienced. While it was those first six days that kickstarted my Western experience, I found that the following eight months in residence defined it. Whether it was the time my roommate and I got broken up with within 10 minutes of each other, playing flag football in whiteout conditions, or the exam period where I lost a bet and wore a matching grey tracksuit to a final—the memories I made punctuated the countless lessons I had learned over the eight months. I watched my Sophs be unapologetically themselves, and saw firsthand what it meant to be a compassionate and thoughtful leader in any situation. The long chats and treasured memories with my floormates helped me understand what it meant to be a great friend, better roommate and community member. The next year, I returned to Medway-Sydenham Hall, but this time to decorate my own pair of black coveralls and get a nickname of my own as a Residence Soph. I knew that seeing a first-year get out of their car on move-in day would be exciting, but watching them start to call Western their home would be special. As I became the instigator of fun, a voice of reason and a shoulder to cry on, I found myself constantly learning from others, while drawing on what I had learned from my Sophs. My Soph partner, Jackson, always said that Sophing gives you the opportunity to be the best version of yourself, in hopes that you can bring that out in others. As students go through the challenges that first-year can bring, situations arise and difficult times come. Being able to help first-years through some late nights and tough conversations, taught me more about people and their lived-experiences than anything else I had ever done. After five years, three addresses and two degrees, I can say for sure that my residence experience shaped everything that followed in my Western experience. What makes living in residence special isn’t the building itself, but the people who live there. No matter who you are, who you meet or what you do, living in a community can provide experiences that are unlike anything else, and help you grow as a person in countless ways. People are at the heart of residence life, as they are in any job, team or group you’re in. While every student moves out of residence at some point, what they take with them in memories, relationships and lessons, is what makes the walls of any building feel like home. Aleesha R. Ontario Hall Orientation Coordinator Aleesha R. Ontario Hall Orientation Coordinator 2019-20, Ontario Hall Head Soph 2018-19, Residents' Council Vice President Management 2017-18, Ontario Hall Soph 2017-18 All of the memories made in residence over the last three years have been some of the best memories of my life! For anyone coming back to residence next year, or coming to Western and planning on living in residence—do not take it for granted. Cherish every single moment, and appreciate the friendships that you build that will last a lifetime. As we always say, you have a lifetime to live in a house but only a few good years to live in residence…so make the most of it. Nassir A. Saugeen-Maitland Hall ALP Nassir A. Saugeen-Maitland Hall Saugeen-Maitland Hall ALP 2017-18, Essex Hall ALP 2016-17, Elgin Hall Residence Soph 2015-16, Elgin Hall Resident 2014-15 I travelled a lot growing up. I was born in Baghdad, Iraq, then at the age of seven I moved to a small city near Dubai called Fujairah, and at the age of 15 I moved to Mississauga, here in Canada. It's definitely changed me in some ways. I feel like not having a stable home allows me to think of home in a different way than most people do. For me, home becomes more about the people, how they make me feel, and who I trust the most, as opposed to where I'm most comfortable. I've lived in residence for four years, as a Residence Soph and ALP. Residences are big communities - you continue to meet and get to know new people every day. Being able to run into people I know so often is a truly rewarding feeling, and in turn it allows me to think of Western as home. Ryan T. Ontario Hall Orientation Staff Ryan T. Ontario Hall Orientation Staff 2017-18, Ontario Hall Head Soph 2016-17, Ontario Hall Soph 2015-16 Ryan's Western adventure kicked off in 2013 at Saugeen-Maitland Hall. Ryan explains his first year experience as "the best way to introduce yourself to the Western community." Whether it was making new friends, conducting group study sessions, or having a Residence Advisor or Soph around, Ryan was able to expand his horizons in so many ways. "Since I had such an amazing experience during my first year in residence, I thought it would be appropriate to turn my passion for residence and community involvement into a Sophing position. The residents in Ontario Hall were the primary reason I decided to apply as Head Soph. Every year, Western is fortunate to have residents who are caring, supportive, and enthusiastic about their community, and I wanted to contribute to that." As one might expect, the weeks leading up to move-in day and O-Week are exciting and nerve-racking for both incoming first-years and Sophs, and Ryan had some great advice for both: "Take advantage of every opportunity you get. There are so many great opportunities that will be thrown your way either as a first-year student or as a Soph. There will be no other time in your life where you can live with over 1000 great individuals who not only share similar values but also accept and respect each other's differences. In this kind of environment, you can learn a lot about yourself and others while growing your interpersonal skills and having a successful university career." Amirah M. Saugeen-Maitland Hall Residents' Council President Amirah M. Saugeen-Maitland Hall Saugeen-Maitland Hall Soph & Residents' Council President 2018-19, Saugeen-Maitland Hall Resident and Residents' Council Member 2017-18 Living in residence for first year was the first great decision I made when accepting my offer to Western. As soon as I walked through the doors, I immediately felt a sense of community. Everyone else within the building, including the Sophs, Residence Advisors, and my floormates quickly became some of my closest friends. The convenience of living with a dining hall just a few floors below you makes getting meals accessible and effortless. There are also many different cuisine options that cater to every individual regardless of personal needs or preferences. Living here helped ease my transition into university, and made me more confident having to live on my own for the first time. Not to mention, living within walking distance of the academic buildings definitely makes it easier getting to those 8:30 a.m. classes! Jessica M. Ontario Hall Ontario Hall Soph Jessica M. Ontario Hall Ontario Hall Soph 2016-17 The most memorable part of my residence experience was the people. All the Residence Staff and Sophs never failed to have a smile on their face and that really helped make residence feel more like home, and help your floormates feel more like family. I chose to return to residence because of the close commute to class, the delicious food, and the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. Living in residence opens up plenty of opportunities and makes it easier to meet people! Brennah D. Essex Hall Residents' Council President Brennah D. Essex Hall Essex Hall Soph and Residents' Council President 2018-19, Essex Hall Resident and Residents' Council Member 2017-18 To any new first-year student, don't be discouraged about having roommate conflicts. It could be a part of your experience but it all works out in the end and you have staff to help mediate. Living in residence will teach you how to "life". It will introduce you to what your new responsibilities are now that you're on your own, and because being thrown out into the world can be hard, residence cushions your fall to make things easier for you. Lauren W. Delaware Hall Residents' Council President Lauren W. Delaware Hall Soph and Residents' Council President 2018-19, Resident and Residents' Council Member 2017-18 I never understood what having a home away from home was like until I was living in Delaware Hall for my first year. Within 24 hours of moving in, I felt instantly welcomed and there hasn't been a moment since where I have felt otherwise. The people, Residence Sophs, and Staff are truly amazing and come together to create an incredible support system that is unlike any other. Residence is an incomparable once-in-a-lifetime experience that made Western my home. Brittany J. Medway-Sydenham Hall Former Resident Brittany J. Medway-Sydenham Hall Former Resident Distance didn't affect this couple—even from across the world residence friendships have managed to live on, but rarely do you encounter long distance university friendships that turn into lifelong partnerships. In 2003, Brittany went to visit her prom date at Medway-Sydenham Hall on JN1. However, a weekend visit to MedSyd introduced her to many amazing individuals, including James. The two soon became best friends, causing Brittany to come back and spend almost every weekend hanging out with friends at MedSyd. Eventually, Brittany decided that she had enough of Laurier and became a Mustang. The residence experience at Western was enough to make her transfer. "It was just such a good time. Nothing could compare (casual dig at Laurier)." For four years, Brittany and James continued to maintain their friendship even while James was pursuing an engineering internship in Calgary during his fourth year. Following graduation, Brittany found herself traveling for the next few years and ended up in Japan in 2011, losing touch with James. Only two weeks after she left, the tsunami hit, devastating many towns and people. "I just thought about how lucky I was... when that happened I thought I just had to call James. I needed to tell him that I needed to see him again." And so began the consistent phone calls again, rekindling their friendship. A few months later, desperate to see each other once again, James bought Brittany a plane ticket to Calgary to visit him and she realized she had to put her feelings out there, "I didn't know what it meant, but I needed to tell him that I loved him." A nerve-racking moment; however, it all turned out in Brittany and James' favour even when Brittany moved to Australia to pursue her masters. James visited Brittany in Australia, and they had what Brittany describes as "the most rational conversation anyone has ever had... we just knew we were going to get married." And where else, but Medway-Sydenham Hall, the historic building where they first met. Brittany and James are a living example of how residence friendships manage to live on, even from across the world. Likun Y. Elgin Hall Head Residence Soph Likun Y. Elgin Hall Elgin Hall Academic and Leadership Programmer 2018-19, Essex Hall Head Residence Soph 2017-18, Essex Hall Soph 2016-17, Delaware Hall Residence Soph and Residence Council Diversity Commissioner 2015-16, Essex Hall Resident 2014-15 Coming to university as an international student who didn't know anyone in Canada, living in residence provided me with a great sense of community and a sense of 'home' on campus. That's why I returned! Living in residence, you'll be able to meet many different kinds of people and be engaged in different kinds of activities, so put yourself out there as much as you can to get the full experience. Jake A. Saugeen-Maitland Hall Saugeen-Maitland Hall Soph Jake A. Saugeen-Maitland Hall Saugeen-Maitland Hall Soph & Program-Assistant 2017-18, Saugeen-Maitland Hall Soph & Council President 2016-17 The most important thing I experienced in residence was meeting so many new people. I come from a village that contains less people than Saugeen alone. Being constantly surrounded by so many people who are also trying to adapt made it a lot easier for me. Out of it all, I met so many new and interesting people, each with their own interesting ideas and views. I'm sure I learned just as much from them as I did through my studies! Spencer C. Elgin Hall Residents' Council President Spencer C. Elgin Hall Elgin Hall Soph and Residents' Council President 2018-19, Elgin Resident and Residents' Council Member 2017-18 Living in residence is THE best way to meet new friends, get involved in student leadership, and stay connected to everything that happens on campus. No matter what you are passionate about, you'll find someone who shares your interests here!