A Sentimental look back at first year

Why you should keep your door open and lock it too

Journal File Photo

As an incoming second-year student, reminiscing about my first year in residence isn’t too difficult. I can still vividly remember the sound of my peers’ warnings that our Don was making rounds and can picture my neighbour sitting at his desk, guitar in hand, strumming out Stairway to Heaven. 

Notorious for being far enough from everything to warrant a bus ride every morning, West Campus was “home” for my first eight months of University. Along with developing a familiarity with bus route one and two , I learned that the best moments of post-secondary take place outside the classroom.

I realized this on route to the Wolfe Island corn maze with my floor mates and Don. As per school bus tradition, a student’s phone blared out Bohemian Rhapsody and the bus chanted along. Sitting beside a girl who would turn out to be my housemate now, I belted the familiar lyrics loudly while laughing at a group of guys voicing every single lyric, background sound, echo and guitar riff. 

Almost as if trapped in a cliché coming-of-age film, it occurred to me that these moments would define my undergraduate experience at Queen’s. 

I left my bedroom door open as often as comfortably possible, attempted small-talk in the communal bathrooms and tried extremely hard not to nap during floor events – which my Don can confirm I wasn’t successful at. 

My level of comfort with both my peers and myself increased dramatically thereafter. Regardless of my awkward pitfalls and lack of plans some Friday nights, I was happier in residence than I had ever been before. There was a certain feeling of maturity associated with locking my door every morning and unlocking it after spending all day on Main.  

My open door was almost symbolic of my openness to experience the full freshman trial. The posters on my wall would result in my peers popping their heads in and questioning the depth of my geekiness and my poor-quality speakers served as background for many – many – nights of noise complaints. 

I met people from diverse backgrounds, crushed on people within residence – it’s inevitable – and made friends that stimulated me intellectually, while also triggering me to yell something along the lines of “do you even know what eight inches looks like(!)” during dinner in our residence cafeteria. 

The last month of classes before exams was bittersweet. While I was ready for a vacation from essay-writing and 8:30 ECON lectures, I was well-aware of how much I would miss my little home in Douglas house. 

It had been rumored that several students formerly living on my floor had left messages for the future tenants of their rooms behind a metal disk that was supposed to hide the electrical wires. Hopeful, I waited until the final week of residence to uncover what could’ve very likely been just a tangle of wires. 

I found two notes, signed from the graduating class of 2018 and 2019. Both notes confirmed what I had already learned in my eight months on West Campus and what I would pass on to the Douglas 411 resident of the class of 2021. 

The bus ride sucks, yes, but West is Best. 


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