The joys of sinks, stinks & West

The Journal gives you the lowdown about living spaces on and off campus

Leonard Hall, one of the lucky residences attached to a caf.
Leonard Hall, one of the lucky residences attached to a caf.
McNeill House is close to a lake, a field and a caf. Good living.
McNeill House is close to a lake, a field and a caf. Good living.

Chown, Adelaide and Ban Righ Halls

All girls, all the time; single and double rooms; private washrooms and showers shared between two people (Chown), communal showers and washrooms (Adelaide and Ban Righ.)

The Skinny: So ... no dudes eh? Well, don’t feel bummed, most girls who lived in “The Nunneries” actually grew to love their hyper-estrogenic surroundings.

The Good: No dudes. Chown, Adelaide and Ban Righ deal with the least idiotic buffoonery of all the residences. The populations of these smaller residences bond really well.

The Bad: No dudes. And sometimes, if you have a real stickler for a don, you’ll have to escort your male guest everywhere, blindfolded—in case he learns his own way back—and prevent him from communicating with any other residents. If you fail to follow these rules, your male friend is likely to be tackled, linebacker style, and beaten senseless by the old nuns who still live in the walls. At the very least, he’ll get a naughty notice or something.

Leonard Hall

Co-ed; single and double rooms; shared washrooms and showers.

The Skinny: Leonard Hall is one of five residences that surround Leonard Field. It’s located on top of Leonard Cafeteria with indoor access to the dining hall.

The Good: You get to be literally on top of the friggin’ cafeteria. On weekends, you can always spot the people who live in Leonard—they literally look like they just rolled out of bed, down the stairs and into the dining hall. While some people may resent you for this, your groggy state will keep you oblivious. The field out front, just north of the lake, is also really great for spontaneous games of frisbee or football ... in like the first two weeks of September and the last two in April.

The Bad: You’ve heard of the frosh 15, right? What do you think happens when you live at a free buffet?

Gordon-Brockington and McNeill Houses, Morris Hall

Co-ed; single and double rooms; communal washrooms and showers.

The Skinny: The other four residences surrounding Leonard Field.

The Good: Like Leonard, Gord-Brock also has direct indoor access to Leonard Caf, so you won’t ever have to decide whether the pesto pizza is worth braving the bitter cold. For McNeill and Morris, food is just a headlong sprint away; you can usually skip the coat. Plus, you get decent-sized rooms, welcoming common areas, and tons of fun people around to take on in snowball fights or soccer games.

The Bad: Well, sometimes, people get silly. And when they get silly, they tend to break common room furniture, or fill rooms with fire extinguisher foam, or throw up in shower stalls. Thses are true, though rare, stories from a recent year in McNeill. Maybe the Class of 2009 will be smarter. But hey, it’s okay, because everybody loves paying for damages!

Harkness International Hall

Co-ed; all single rooms; shared washrooms and showers

The Skinny: Located just north of campus proper, it’s like you actually live in Kingston! Here’s where most international or exchange students and “internationally-minded” grad students reside when they’re at Queen’s.

The Good: It’s like hostelling through Europe without ever leaving Ontario. You could meet pot-smoking Dutchmen, pseudo-intellectual Swedes, fast-talking Aussies and probably a few really, really nice Americans. And probably a lot of intriguing people who aren’t stereotypes. The Bad: You live right across from a sizeable high school, the Kingston Collegiate Vocational Institute, where Kingston’s punk kids congregate and plan their next act of vandalism. You should practice your angry fist-shake and curmudgeonly scowl.

Jean Royce Hall

Co-ed; all single rooms; shared washrooms and showers.

The Skinny: A 15-minute walk or five-minute bus ride away from civilized Queen’s society, Jean Royce is located next to the teachers college, football stadium and one of Canada’s notorious penitentiaries.

The Good: People who live on west campus—or Westies as they are sometimes disparagingly referred to by many—develop a unique bond with each other. If you see two people walk by each other and offer a silent, and slightly mysterious nod, they’re probably Westies. I didn’t live there, so I can’t provide any details, but they’re definitely tight. Jean Royce also has the best games room, the best common areas and arguably the best cafeteria.

The Bad: When the cold wind’s a-blowing and you’ve missed the bus by inches and you really need to get to class or downtown, it just really sucks living on West Campus.

Leggett and Watts Halls

Co-ed; all single rooms; private washrooms and showers shared between two people.

The Skinny: These brand-spanking-new residences opened only two years ago, so the amount of contamination in your new room is relatively minimal. The Good: You’ve got some fancy digs, kid. Leggett and Watts are state-of-the art living conditions for recent high school grads moving away from home for the first time. The university’s brochures even seem to mock all those who weren’t lucky enough to get in with their hilariously serious warning: “Please note: Beds are extra long and require queen-size sheets.” Oh no! Everyone else gets army cots while you guys have to endure the agony of buying queen-size sheets.

The Bad: Anyone who doesn’t live in Leggett or Watts will be madly jealous of you. This is just something you’re going to have to deal with.

Off-campus living

Wherever you want; whatever you want!

The Skinny: Many students choose to live off-campus in first year, either on their own or with friends or family. This works well for those who have a serious aversion to being around people 24/7, or to sharing bathrooms and vital living spaces with potentially smelly or destructive strangers.

The Good: You have all the comforts of your own home. Literally. You don’t have to worry about people breaking your stuff or the residence’s stuff; you probably won’t ever face a 10-person line for the showers; and you can eat whatever strikes your fancy and fits within your budget.

The Bad: It can be difficult to meet new people when so many of the inhabitants of residences bond with their floormates. Classes aren’t ideal places to make new friends. But if you get involved with any of the billion activities available on campus, you’ll clear up that problem lickety-split.

Waldron Tower

Co-ed; all single rooms; shared washrooms and showers.

The Skinny: Yeah, Wally is a little isolated, tucked away in the far south-east corner of campus, and maybe your friends will ask you if you’ve packed a lunch before you embark on the long trek home, but it’s really not that bad. You’ll find solace in your impressive view of Lake Ontario—the mighty tower is built in a fashion that provides every single room with a view of the lake.

The Good: Everybody gets their own sink! You frosh are probably thinking, “What’s the deal with the exclamation mark, it’s just a sink,” but you’ll soon discover how important having that sink is. I can’t really describe it, but I promise you’ll understand if you live in Wally.

The Bad: Okay, so we’ve touched on the isolation a little bit, but you won’t really feel the distance until January, when Kingston becomes skin-cracklingly cold and your scarf is as necessary as your shoes. The sharp wind that screams off the icy lake at this time of year has been known to dissuade many Waldronians from class, and even the occasional meal. It’s also located right next to City Park—a.k.a. Pervert Park, so dubbed thanks to its dark and sketchy corners–—which is kind of crappy for obvious reasons.

Victoria Hall

Co-ed; single and double rooms; private washrooms and showers for every two people.

The Skinny: Vic Hall is the hub of first-year activity at Queen’s. Located smack dab in the centre of campus, it affords its residents easy access to all amenities.

The Good: You’re the fresh princes and princesses of campus, and you know it. The new residences on Albert and Stuart may be fancier, but Vic Hall remains the mecca of frosh life. You’ll never have any trouble finding someone to play euchre with and you’ll meet more people than you could ever possibly want to.

The Bad: As much fun as it is to be housed in the same building as hundreds of other young, hot-blooded teens, some people are jerks and jerks do stupid things, especially when they drink. So, you’ll have to deal with way more middle-of-the-night fire alarms than anybody else, and you’ll have to pay for them too.

Words of Wisdom

Meaghan Bennett
VP (Internal), Concurrent Education Students
Association (CESA)
Program/Year: ConEd ’07

Where did you live in first year?
23 Albert Street Residence (now known as Watts Hall).

Best part of first year: Getting involved with CESA.

Worst part of first year: Receiving the mark from my first paper ... what a shocker!

Advice for incoming frosh: Don’t let your marks get you down—an “A”
is rare!

Regrets: PROCRASTINATION! (Even though it’s inevitable, those
all-nighters are not fun!)

Emily Sangster
Editor in Chief, Queen’s Journal
Program/Year: ArtSci ’06

Where did you live in first year?
Ban Righ 4: the attic.

Best part of first year: Varsity nordic skiing. Some of my best friends at Queen’s are still the people I bonded with on the trails on crisp winter mornings.

Worst part of first year: Classes. Too big, too anonymous, too lonely.

Advice for incoming frosh: Be proud of who you are, and use your time here in a way you’ll be proud of when you graduate.

Regrets: Don’t bring your whole wallet with you to the Cocamo. No good can come of it.

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