Ontario Hall Orientation Staff 2017-18,
Ontario Hall Head Soph 2016-17,
Ontario Hall Soph 2015-16
"There will be no other time in your life when you can live with over 1,000 great individuals who not only share similar values, but also accept and respect each other's differences."
If you see a blonde-haired Soph running around, walkie-talkie in hand, looking like he's on a mission, but smiling the whole time, you've likely run into Ryan, or as his first-years know him, Charmander. Ryan started his Western career in Saugeen-Maitland Hall in 2013. Now, heading into his third year in Media, Information, and Technoculture, he is also embarking on the new position as Ontario Hall Head Soph.
I had the lucky opportunity be to be Ryan's Faculty Soph in his first year and I could tell instantly that he was Soph material; yet, like many first years, he was nervous about how his first-year experience would go. When I asked him about his first-year experience, 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.
The first-year experience Ryan experienced is common to many Western students. "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." Ryan noted that the support he received from his Sophs in first-year inspired him to continue that support towards future first year students.
The Sophing experience at Western is unlike any other. When I asked Ryan to describe his year as a Soph in Ontario Hall he had just one word for me: thrilling. When over 1000 new students arrive and start to call one building home is an exciting experience. However, not only is it the new students who provide such an amazing experience, but Ryan makes it clear that his team was another reason for the success he had. "I was so fortunate to have such a great Soph team that supported each other and our various aspirations. Together, we made Ontario Hall an amazing place to call home."
You can always tell what Soph is made to be Head Soph, and for the Ontario Hall's Soph Team, that was Ryan. "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 OWeek are exciting and nerve-racking for both incoming first-years and Sophs, and Ryan had some great advice for both parties: "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."