My Residence Experience

My nerves were at an all-time high as I walked towards my Residence building on move-in day of my first year. As a self-proclaimed introvert coming from a smaller city in Northern Ontario, I was completely overwhelmed by the chaos that surrounded me. My terrified eighteen-year-old self was already mentally preparing for the moment when the tears would come rolling down my face as my parents drove away for the last time.

The first two people that I met at Carleton were Residence Fellows in my building. I was immediately put at ease by their calm demeanors and smiling faces, as they told me everything I needed to know. They were also completely unfazed when I locked myself out of my room three times that day, and even walked me to the Residence Reception Desk to get a new key on all three occasions. As the Fall Orientation facilitators enthusiastically carried all my belongings up to my new room on 4th Russell House, I knew that I was in for a great year. That first encounter with the Residence Fellows made me feel prepared for this new chapter. I could do this.

Much to my surprise, my first semester went swimmingly. Within the first few weeks, I had made new friends, gotten involved, and stayed on top of my school work.

Mid-way through the year, my Res Fellow knocked on my door to give me the “golden ticket.” This piece of paper explained the reasons why he thought I’d make a good Res Fellow. When he asked me if I had considered applying, I told him that I wasn’t entirely sure. Looking back, I didn’t know if I would be capable of taking on that kind of a responsibility as a student. Thankfully, I gave it a shot.

When I found out that I’d been hired as a Residence Fellow, I was ecstatic.

Almost exactly one year after my own move-in day as a first-year, I was the one greeting new students. I saw myself in so many of the nervous-yet-excited Carleton newcomers who showed up that day. I reminded myself that if I made a difference in one student’s day such as the Residence Fellows had for me one year earlier, I was doing my job.

Over the last year and a half, I have been a leader, community developer and support-person for over 150 students in Lennox and Addington House. I have also been a member of two staff teams, had two stellar floors, and made life-long friends that have become family for the entirety of my stay here at Carleton.

Beyond that, I know that I’m better because of the experiences I have had and the people I’ve encountered along the way. For that reason, Carleton Residence will forever hold a tiny piece of my heart.

My advice for anyone who is even mildly interested in applying is to do so. Being a Residence Fellow has undoubtedly shaped my university experience for the better, and it can do the same for you.