Four years in residence

Natasha Chan - 17 May 2021

My name is Natasha and I am here to share my residence experience!

But first, let me introduce myself: I just completed my 4 year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, and I have lived in residence for all 4 years of my degree! Of those 4 years, I have been an RA for 3 of them and lived in 3 different communities!

First year: From out of province to Edmonton

As an out of province student, I was super nervous to move to a completely new city for university, away from all my friends and family. It was really nerve wracking to live away from home for the first time, and I was worried that I would have a hard time finding “my people”.

Luckily, I applied to live in Lister and ended up making lifelong friends with my first year floormates on 4 Henday! BaseCamp was definitely one of my favourite memories in residence by far, as I was able to bond with my new floormates, participate in fun tower events and explore the U of A campus.

Another memorable experience was my first floormal, which was the first program our RAs put on for us in September. We were able to take some cute group photos, explore Whyte Ave and bond over amazing pasta at Chianti.

Our floor was also able to bond by participating in the infamous Lister Dodgeball League, and even though we didn’t do too well (and by that I mean placing dead last in our pool), we had a great time laughing at ourselves and bonding over how terribly we played.

Lastly, we were able to bond over Skulk—I can’t tell you too many details about this one, but just know that Skulk is coming. ;)

Second year: Life as a Lister RA

Because of all the fun I had in Lister during first year, I just knew that I had to return for a second, which is why I applied to be an RA! I ended up being placed on 6 Henday, just 2 floors above my first year home. It was definitely difficult balancing academics, clinical and my RA responsibilities while maintaining somewhat of a social life, however I would not have given up that experience for the world!

Second year was definitely a memorable one as I was able to form so many new connections with the upper year leaders on my floor, the Henday RA team and the broader Lister RA team. I had a blast spending August doing RA training, where I became fast friends with my co-RA and made lifelong friends with my student leaders and first year residents.

Some of my favourite programs that myself and my co-RA ran for our floor include our floormal, a Lister-wide scavenger hunt, a kahoot where we all guessed each other's baby photos and our year end floor awards.

Third year: A change of pace

I decided it was time for a change of scenery in my third year and I moved to East Campus to become a second year RA there! East campus was definitely a different atmosphere in comparison to Lister as the community mainly consists of upper year undergraduate and graduate students.

I lived in Aspen House in an apartment style unit with 3 other roommates, and I really enjoyed being part of the Aspen/Maple/International House RA team. We had a great time planning both community specific and East Campus wide programs, such as our grilled cheese and ice cream sundae parties, House Cup, Murder Mystery lunch and floormal.

My academic workload decreased significantly this year, so I was really able to focus more attention on my RA responsibilities and support my residents. Our team’s hard work really paid off as we ended up receiving the Community of the Year award for Aspen/Maple!

Fourth year: Transitions

This year was definitely a big transition as everything moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was my final year as a student and resident assistant, so it was a little disappointing to have no in person interaction with my residents, but we made the best of the situation!

I really enjoyed living in Nîpisîy House as my unit had 2 floors, 6 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. The communal spaces were nice and spacious, which was great especially since we spent the majority of the year at home. We RAs had to get creative with our programming this year, and had talent shows, movie marathons and board game nights all online.

I also took on a new role as an isolation resident assistant, where I helped out with the isolation program. Some new responsibilities I took on with this role included checking isolation residents in and out of their units, delivering their meals outside their door  as well as virtual check ins and programming.

Though it was a bittersweet ending to my undergraduate degree, I still had a great time bonding with my residents and RA team, and wouldn’t give up my RA experiences for the world!