Residence Life: An Introvert’s Perspective
Hi! My name is Jasmine. I’m a second year journalism student and a Residence Fellow. You can typically find me on floor seven of Lennox and Addington House, calling sources for articles in my slippers with the Hamilton soundtrack playing in the background.
I come from the suburbs of a small farming town called Richmond, on the outskirts of Ottawa. In my first year, I lived in Glengarry House on floor 11. I spoke to a lot of people during that first week of icebreakers and introductions. Whenever I told a floor mate where I was from, the typical response was, “Why would you live in residence when you’re a bus ride away?”.
Residence was an opportunity for me to expand my social boundaries and explore the greater Ottawa community. But I could only do so at my own pace.
I’m an introverted person. Many community events were daunting. Floor meetings, normally with 40-plus students on my floor, were intimidating; the constant activity of Frosh events exhausted me; and the pressure of making “friends for life” was at the forefront of my mind.
Gradually, my podmates became those friends for life. I accumulated mentors and role models as I wrote for The Charlatan and the Ask Me Campaign, acted with Sock ‘n’ Buskin Theatre Company, and interacted with my Residence Fellows. In retrospect, I feel like I grew more in those eight months than I did the eighteen years previous. I am eternally grateful for the connections that Residence Life gave me in my first year.
My leadership experience was limited. I was never a camp counsellor. I was never nominated to go to Leadership Camp in high school. But in Residence Life, staff say “We hire for attitude, we train for skill”.
I applied to be a Residence Fellow so that I could be a support for all students, including those like me who had to put in that extra push to put themselves out there. And in the process, I’ve pushed myself more.
Working in Residence Life is a constant learning experience. Training for being a Residence Fellow includes two weeks of informative sessions with topics that apply to every area of life. Learning how to engage students, have difficult conversations, and achieve balance in daily life are valuable skills.
As a Residence Fellow, I have the honour of overseeing a diverse community of individuals with a vast array of skills and talents. On my floor, we have saxophone players and badminton champs, video game designers and dog lovers. Some of these students are just like I was in my first year: hesitant, a little nervous, but eager to grow. Residence Life teaches us how to accommodate and support individuals with all personality types. It is so rewarding to watch people from all walks of life create a community where everyone has a place.
A big part of this process is learning the balance between supporting and challenging students. In residence, Student Led Initiatives are excellent ways for students to take initiative and organize an event for the entire community – organizing Secret Snowflake, movie nights, etc.
I also have the privilege of being a part of an incredible team and community with Residence Life. One of the Returning Residence Fellows in my residence likes to quote Theodore Roosevelt: “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
The Residence Life team is a community of people who genuinely care about you. However you show you care –– a knack at event planning, having meaningful one-to-one conversations –– as long as you have a positive attitude and a willingness to grow.
So take a chance and apply. I promise, you’ll only grow more in the process.
Residence Fellow Applications are due on January 9th at noon (EST). Follow this link for more information: housing.carleton.ca/rf/.