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Res life

Image: Emily Wright
Image: Emily Wright

Article: Paige Kreutzwieser, Staff Writer & Charle Macdonald, Contributor

Living in Saskatchewan helps develop an ability to understand how to take the good with the bad in every situation. After all, we sacrifice 40-below temperatures for the prairie sunset.

To live in residence, it is necessary to understand that there will be good and bad, because in my two months of living here, I have had to deal with both extremes.

I have a bit more of a sense of humour then my friends when it comes to inconvenient situations. Many vacations flying with our great Canadian airlines have made me immune to any type of good expectations when it comes to flying or anything else. That is how I approach every situation, especially in the case of our now semi regular, informal U of R fire drills.

This attitude helped me cope with my situation, as I did not flinch when an RA told me at one thirty in the morning during the Great Flood of ‘13 that I would need to find my own accommodations for that evening. This was the first time that I needed to be an adult and take care of myself.

Luckily, someone was kind enough to let me sleep in their house for a few hours while the water flowed free in South Tower.

After returning to the university I saw something straight out of New Orleans circa 2005. Brown fleece blankets and free coffee were now in style. Most residents in the South Tower were technically homeless for most of that Saturday and would return to their homes later in the afternoon.

However, as much as the circumstances were unfortunate, the reputation of this flood will be nothing more than a great second-hand story. In other words, (pun alert) it likely will only “trickle down” to future residents.

I can see it now, “Dude, I heard one time that set off the sprinklers and it flooded some guy’s room. Should we try it?” And there we have the birth of Residence Flood 2023. Or did I just describe the beginnings of the 2007 Res Flood?

Regardless, everyone currently involved needs to use this as an opportunity to learn, so that when Res Flood 2023 materializes there can be a better handle of the situation and their emotions.

To the parents – don’t let this flood tarnish your reputation of residence living. Just because a couple dumb first-year students created this problem doesn’t mean all aspects of residence are bad for your kids.

To the students living there, I have some words of advice: if you want to be an adult and live on your own, don’t act disrespectful to those around you. Yes, you can keep sneaking in those brown beer bottles and unplugging your smoke alarm so it doesn’t go off when you burn your toast at 3:00 am. But, ruining people’s property for a funny joke will get you zero roommates in the future.

Have fun trying to find a cheap rent in Regina on your own.

And specifically to the kids charged for this – what were you thinking! You should know better than to set sprinklers off in any building. This isn’t Old School; we’re not on a movie set with props.People’s computers really do get damaged by water.

To Residence itself – don’t hate every single student because of this. It’s true not every student living in residence is the smartest, or most obedient, or most mature, but let the kids be kids. They’re young, and some just don’t understand responsibility quite yet.

Both their immaturity and your duty of responsibility to them are likely the exact reasons why their parent’s pay you the big bucks have their kids there.  So as much as this is an unfortunate financial problem you have now been put in, just chalk another one up in Res Flood Tally category.

Though, this is to your advantage because, sooner rather than later, you’ll have an extra residence with even more immature students. Have fun with that.

Although expectations may not be high about living in res and small problems are to be expected, the night of the flood was a key example of a problem much larger. There is a misconception us residents have when it comes to our living situation.

It is assumed that we are now out of our parents’ houses and thus away from any type of dependence.

This assumption is validated when we are told that all residents are responsible for insuring our own property, the upkeep of our own apartments, and our own wellbeing when we become sick.

We are allegedly responsible for ourselves and our property, yet we are restricted to a quiet time of 1AM on the weekends. The truth is we are not fully in control of our lives in residence.

Not that there is a problem with that, but when both the resident and those who run the residence share a responsibility for the resident’s wellbeing, it is necessary that both parties are able to work in the best interest of the resident in a time of crisis.

During the flood of ‘13 that was not the case.

Being told to fend for yourself is not sharing responsibility, it is delegating responsibility on those who (your rules suggest) are not capable of handling it. If I am not responsible enough to carry a brown beer bottle around, then I am not responsible enough to find a safe place to stay at 1:30AM.

The misrepresentation of life in residence is the cause of many of the problems residents face. Most of us who live here don’t understand the concept of ownership, let alone the complex relationship a land-owner shares with their tenants. The University does not help the transition either.

While the rules and punishments are clearly stated, the implication is that if you pay to live here, you own a piece of this property.

The forest is missed for the trees when it comes to the management of residence. It seems like we are so caught up in micromanagement that we are unable to take steps together to increase the quality of living at this school.

And this crosses over into many areas of the University of Regina itself, but that isn’t what this op-ed is about.

What would be more important than the ridiculous amount of rules residence puts upon their residents would be a consistent line of communication between the two. If how you treat us is explicitly clear, then there would be no reason for a problem.

All in all, let’s just be thankful this didn’t happen at a house we owned, because I am sure none of us would want to deal with those damage expenses. So we can be happy to throw most of the responsibility to residence, who unfortunately has to tack on this expense to a $9 million unpaid tab on their new residence building budget.

So yet the balance between good and bad remains as we in res learn as we go when it comes to our new lives of semi-independence. Only time will tell if anything productive will come out of these events. I guess we’ll have to wait.

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