Students & alumni share how they met their Queen’s housemates

How men’s bathrooms and a love of dinosaurs make lifelong friendships

This time of year, some students have to write exams and house hunt.
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The end of first semester means two things: stress, and for some, house hunting.

When you’re already pressed for time, it can be hard to decide where you want to live and who you want to live with.

The Journal asked Queen’s students to share how they met their housemates. Hopefully, these stories will help some deal with their indecision, and remind others how lucky they were to find their housemates.

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“I met my now former housemate on move-in day on West Campus. I was brushing my teeth in the boy’s bathroom—because it was closer to my room and I’m lazy—when a girl walked in with her mom to brush her teeth as well.

The mom introduced herself, and introduced me to her daughter. After we said, ‘Hi,’ I asked her if she cried when she found out she was living on West. She said yes and we’ve been best friends ever since.”

—Brigid Goulem, ArtSci ’19  

“In first year, I was sitting in my Intro to Archaeology class when a girl walked up to the seat next to me and asked, ‘Is your name Brittany?’ It was an old friend from dance class who I hadn’t seen since eighth grade. We went our separate ways in high school, and didn’t know we were both students at Queen’s. 

We caught up in archaeology class and decided to be housemates for second year. 

Now we’re both in fourth year, and although we don’t live together anymore, she’s still one of my closest friends. To this day I don’t know why I enrolled in archaeology—but I’m glad I did.”

—Brittany Giliforte, ArtSci ‘20 

“In first year, the big question after Christmas break was: Who are you living with next year?  

Although offers were made around tables at Leonard Hall and over Moscow Mules at Clark Hall Pub, I chose to live with the first friend I made at Queen’s, her Victoria Hall roommate, and another friend. 

We rented a run-down, semi-detached house on Johnson Street and it was a great experience. We became fast friends with the students on the other side of our unit and merged the following year—moving to a large house on Albert to accommodate us all. 

Thirty years later, my housemates and I keep in touch even though we live in cities across the country. Although we don’t get to see each other very often, our friendship lasted.”

—Sharon Nagle, ConEd ‘88

“I’m pretty shy and I didn’t know anyone else coming to Queen’s. I was nervous about making friends. However, I was also interested in connecting with the Christian community in Kingston, and during Frosh Week I met three third-year guys from a Christian club on campus called Power to Change. 

They invited me over to their place without realizing their housemates already invited a bunch of friends from the club. When I got there, there was about twenty people crammed into their tiny living room. 

The guys who invited me remembered they had another engagement and basically abandoned me at the house with a bunch of strangers. 

But it turned out well in the end—I met a lot of great people and I’ve been involved with the club ever since. 

I decided to live with other first-year guys from Power to Change in second year. We loved that the club’s upper-years lived together, and opened their house for community events and welcoming first-years to Queen’s. 

I now live in a house with six other guys. Every September we make a point of inviting first-years to hang out. Most of the time, we don’t just drop them off and leave.”

—Caleb Plett, ArtSci ’20 

“When my housemate and I met, I was wearing jean short overalls.

We both had toy dinosaur figures and really liked that about each other, as most five-year-olds do. We went to play with them while our parents chatted. I don’t have a clue what happened next—but our relationship revolved around dinosaurs for at least two years from that point.

Thirteen years later, we moved into Chown Hall together, sharing a tightly-packed double room. My dad gave us each a dinosaur figurine on the day we moved in.”

—Matt Scace, ArtSci ‘20

“On the first day of my first year, I was walking down the middle of Stuart Street toward Chernoff. On the sidewalk, several feet away from me, I heard someone sneeze. She was far away but when I said, ‘Bless you,’ she looked up, smiled, and said, ‘Thank you.’ 

She asked if I was heading to HIST 124. I was, and she asked if she could walk with me, since she didn’t know where it was.

We walked to class together, sat with each other, and then got lunch at Ban Righ Hall. For the rest of first year, we alternated between staying in my room in Chown Hall and her room in Waldron Hall. We lived together for the rest of university, and have been best friends ever since. 

When her grandfather died in fourth year, we were the only people in the room with him. When my marriage was ending, she was the only person I talked to about it. 

It’s been more than eleven years since we met, and to this day, she’s my favourite person. I’m grateful every day that I was there when she sneezed.”

— Gillian Shields, ArtSci ’12

It’s been more than eleven years since we met, and to this day, she’s my favourite person.

“We met first year of university at the Bader International Study Centre in England. We were randomly assigned as roommates and nervous at first. 

After about two days of knowing each other, we decided to get school supplies before classes and took a bus to the nearest town, Eastbourne. 

We spent the whole day together shopping and exploring the town. Instead of buying school supplies, we bought wine and hair dye. That night we bonded and dyed each other’s hair. We’ve been housemates and best friends ever since.”

—Melanie Bateman and Danielle Dettlinger, ArtSci ‘20

“Finding two good friends to live with in second year was easy—everyone I knew was excited to find the University District house of their dreams and live happily ever after. 

However, shortly into second year, one of my cute, quirky roommates began exhibiting unusual behaviour. Additionally, our house was close to West Campus and the trek down Union Street—which I made a couple times a day—was more than annoying by the end of second year. I knew it was time to find new living arrangements. 

My older sister lived in a perfect house on Albert Street—seven students lived in the front of the house, and seven in the back. Her place seemed like university living at its finest. When she and her friends graduated, I was thrilled she promised the place to me. I quickly filled the seven spots with friends who also made poor decisions back in first year and were unhappy with their living arrangements. 

Little did I know my sister’s roommate also promised the house to her brother in engineering. I was devastated. How would we ever decide who would live in the house? 

After a meeting of siblings, her brother and I decided it could be fun to join forces. Our first house meeting of his two engineering friends and my three girlfriends was a success! The seven of us lived happily until graduation.”

—Nancy Mastantuono, ConEd ’86

“I took a gamble with the Queen’s Housing group on Facebook to find my housemates in second year. It was a horrible experience. We were incompatible on every level.

Our house decided to split up that year, and my other housemate and I were left to fill three vacant spots in our house. Turning to the Facebook group once again, we decided to give it another chance.

After some house tours of our cozy home, we easily found three other people. Cheap rent for our location is probably what enticed them, and they signed the lease. 

We didn’t speak over the summer, but the following September when we all moved in we started to get to know each other. By the end of that following month, I realized we found some gems. Not only did I find housemates, but I found my best friends. “

Kimberly Wong, PHE ‘18

“We met before first year and were both going to the Bader International Study Centre in England. We saw each other in the Visa Office about a month before the summer orientation program, SOAR. Haley finally got up the nerve to go and talk with Serena after awkwardly staring at her from across the room for at least 10 minutes.

At SOAR, we spent the day together and we each secretly hoped the other would ask to be roommates going into first year. After the program finished, we went out for dinner and someone asked if anyone had met someone we wanted to room with. We made eye contact but were both too shy to ask each other.

In first year, we sat together for a meal and Serena let it slip that she had wanted to ask Haley to be her roommate but was too nervous she would say no. Haley was going to do the exact same thing but was also too nervous.

At that point, we promised to live together second year and until the end of our undergrad, which we did.”

Serena Lowery and Haley Kenna, ArtSci ’18 and ‘19

“In first year, my floor mates and I clicked immediately. Despite our different personalities and upbringings, we had the same core values—loyalty, independence, and unconditional empathy.

We met on our second day at Queen’s during Orientation Week and became friends instantly. After knowing each other less than 72 hours, I remember one of us blurted, ‘We're all going to live together next year, right?’ After that moment, everything fell into place, even though we never actually confirmed living together.

Since moving in together, we’ve lived without any conflict. Week one friendships really do last.”

Kiana Buzza, ArtSci ‘20

“Before the summer after first year began, my housemate and I received news that our third housemate wouldn’t return to Queen’s.

After countless interviews and meet-ups with potential housemates, we happened upon a normal-enough third-year girl who’d use the room for four months before heading on exchange for the rest of the year.

My housemate and I had no intention of becoming as closely knit as we did with this new person. But she was unbelievably friendly, funny, and became the reason we had to buy a third Wii remote.

Four months of getting to know one another, baking in the same kitchen, and endless late-night chats later, we won the roommate lottery. We became so close that we received an invite to her birthday the following summer. My housemate and I drove over three hours to St. Catherines to celebrate with her four best friends.

This year, we get to live out a full school year with the now-fourth-year roommate. She was the upside to having a vacant room before heading into a newly signed lease.

Jasnit Pabla, ArtSci ’20  

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