Category: residence life (Page 1 of 2)

Hope and Inda – Roommates from Across the Globe (part 1)

Part 1 – Hope: A Family Down the Hallway

I believe international students experience dorm-life differently from Canadian students. And while the majority of it has been amazing, there are some parts of it that have been less than.

My fellow Canadian students are blessed to have family nearby who they can run to when student life gets frustrating. Time and time again, I’ve watched students vacate their dorm rooms to spend the weekend over at their families’ and my roommate and I are left with an almost empty hallway filled with silence.

Inda and HopeMoreover, while I have adjusted well to the food on the meal plan, I do remember past years where I had to force myself to eat food that I was not accustomed to. Fast forward to today, I actually enjoy the cafeteria food! Who would have thought? Regardless, Inda and I still spend most of our money on “SkiptheDishes” (more than we would like to admit).

However, there are numerous advantages I enjoy about living in dorms. One of my favorite things that I love about living in dorms is in accordance with CMU’s mission statement: COMMUNITY. Aside from my roommate, we have a tiny community right outside our room in the hallway.

My best memory of dorm-life is from my first year at CMU. I was the only international student in my ‘hallway community’ and I had prepared myself to be an outsider. Can you blame me? Being the only black girl, from a completely different country, with a different accent and a different idea of ‘fun’. I was no stranger to wandering eyes and blank stares trying to understand me before, so why would this time be any different? Boy was I wrong! The CMU community within our hallway became my Canadian family. We had weekly meetings that each had their own fun surprises (thanks to our Residence Assistant at the time), study dates in the lounges, movie nights, lots of dance parties, etc. Before I knew it, we were so close that we had our own special table in the cafeteria—a bit extreme maybe, but that is how close we were. Truly the best experience I’ve had at CMU so far.

Map of Inda and Hope's countriesBut wait, there’s more! Tons of activities/events get you out of your room and engaging with other human beings. Dorm activities range from themed tea parties to playing (mostly harmless) pranks on each other. I speak for all university students when I say that it’s extremely easy to get caught up in the hustle of school and work. Finding time to relax and enjoy university life becomes difficult. Having RA’s and dorm-room friends that hold you accountable or even drag you out of your room to participate in ongoing activities is refreshing and much needed.

Furthermore, living in dorms allows me to learn from others while giving me a chance to teach others about my cultures and my individuality in a more personal environment where we learn to understand and accept our differences. I cannot count how many times I sat with a group of people basically giving a tutorial about the trials and tribulations that is my hair and vice versa. I’ve come to find that staying in dorms gives me the ultimate and rich university experience.

Hope Mwalugaja is a 4th Year International Development Studies Major from Tanzania

Can an Introvert Enjoy Living in Dorm? A Personal Reflection

In my final year of high school as I was weighing my options for post-secondary education, I distinctly remember telling my friends and family:

“I will NEVER live in a dorm room.”

I was (and still am) an introvert. I thrive on time alone in my room, with schedule, structure, and control of my surroundings. Dorm life sounded like the opposite of all these things that I loved and held so tightly onto. People everywhere, a multitude of different schedules all in one space, shared control of public spaces, and a lot of unknowns; it didn’t sound very appealing. This isn’t to say I didn’t like people or making friends, but the introvert in me knew that I needed plenty of time on my own to recharge and take care of my mental health. To me, living in a dorm room surrounded by strangers for an entire year sounded terrifying.

ACS_0057Now, take this girl and imagine her moving into Poettker Hall in the fall of 2017, and then again into the Katherine Friesen Apartments with TWO roommates in 2018. My high-school-self would have fainted. As it turns out, a lot of the opinions and beliefs I had about on-campus life turned out to be misconceptions. Imagine that: a high school student having misconceptions about the future and the world around them. I’m sure that’s never happened to anyone else…

If I could have a conversation with the dorm-skeptic that I was in high school, or anyone questioning the positives of living on-campus, this is what I would have to say:

1.) Alone time is good! Loneliness is not.

IMG_9431It’s natural to crave time to yourself. This is time we can take to reflect, practice self-care, and relax. But, spending all of your time alone is not healthy. I managed to create a fine balance of taking time for myself and stretching myself to have conversations and hang out with people outside of my room! It came as a beautiful surprise to me when a floor-mate would knock on my door and invite me to do something or go somewhere and I would respond with an eager “yes!”. Now, I didn’t say “yes” every time, but I found that the more connections I made with the people around me, the easier it was to feel at home in the space I lived in.

2.) You’re going to make new friends, but you don’t have to be best friends with everyone.

IMG_8727Making new friends is great, and I encourage it! But I don’t encourage devoting all of your time to forcing a close friendship with everyone in your dorm building. You’re going to need some time to study, too. Friendship is something that comes naturally. You’re not going to ‘click’ immediately with everyone on your floor, and that’s okay! Making an effort to connect with the people around you is a great start. There is no dorm-life rulebook that says you have to know the favourite colour of every single person on your floor or anything like that.

3.) Letting go of control is OKAY!

ACS_0096Sometimes all of the shower stalls will be full, and that’s okay! Sometimes someone on your floor will practice their clarinet while you’re studying, so you’ll pop in some headphones or head to the library, and that’s okay! Sometimes you won’t write down “impromptu yoga-party in the first floor lounge” in your agenda and one will occur anyways, and that’s okay! Sometimes you’ll stay up later than you expected to, sitting in the hallway with some people who used to be strangers but are now more like sisters, talking and laughing while telling stories, and that’s okay! It’s wonderful, actually.

So, to my dorm-life skeptic high-school-self: it may come as a big surprise, but you’ll end up living on-campus and loving it. It’ll have it’s ups and downs, but with each of them will come growth and lessons. You certainly won’t become an extrovert in any sense of the word, but you’ll be able to call your university campus “home”, and that’s all you’ll need.

– Chloe Friesen, 2nd year Communications and Media student

Living on campus: Close to class, closer to community

You live 15 minutes away from here? Why do you live on campus? Isn’t it way more expensive than living at home?


Well the practical answer is easy. Look at our roads right about now. Look at your thermometer, or, the weather app on your phone. Check your bus schedule, and find out that your daily commute is over an hour each way, and that’s when those Winnipeg buses are actually on time. 

So if I choose to live at home, I can either spend a pile of money on a car, or spend my most valuable resource – time – out in minus-40 weather.

That was enough to sell me on dorm life, and I hadn’t even set foot in Poettcker Hall yet.

The first thing I noticed was how great dorm life is as a stepping stone to adulthood. There’s no one checking in on you, making sure you follow rules or get to sleep at a decent hour, but you don’t have to worry about what to cook (or how to cook) every day. Ted Dyck and his crew take great care of that, and the food is unlimited!

6th year

Right from the start, you find out that there are always exciting events on campus, and there’s something for everyone. From incredibly talent-filled coffeehouses to Blazer game days at the Loewen, and everything in between, there’s always something to do. You’re a 30-second walk from chapel twice a week, Wednesday Night Worship, fellowship groups and many more opportunities to discuss and worship God.

There are some challenges as well. Chances are you will quickly have a new sense of appreciation for your mattress at home, or simple things like laundry machines that don’t require your hard-earned-Bible-camp salary to operate. You might come back to your room on a Sunday night to find 2000 water-filled Dixie cups covering every square inch of floor and table space, but hey, you left your door unlocked so what do you expect?

1st year

Most importantly, living on campus is the best way to experience community at CMU. I’ve lived in dorm, then at home, and now in apartments on campus and it’s clear that I’m closest to the people here when I live here. In my first year, I found myself staying up until two or three in the morning regularly, engaging in deep faith discussions with other first years. These were people going through the same life changes, anxious and stressful moments as me. I can honestly say that I learned more about my faith in those talks in my first semester than I had in any sermon or lecture.

CMU is a community, and the best way to experience it is being present all the time, and engaging in everything it has to offer. Take the plunge, move in, and you’ll feel it.

Thomas Friesen is a senior Communications and Media student from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

To post or not to post?


As I go through my Facebook or Instagram feeds, I often come across posts which show that my contact had an amazing night or is having the worst day of their life. But whether it’s a picture at a party or a comment about home life, remember that whatever you put out there is there forever.

Listen, I get it; you’re having a bad day, your boyfriend just broke up with you, and you want others to empathize with your challenges. But as the great Andy Mineo says, “Face your problems, don’t Facebook it!”

Sometimes it feels easier to rant about something, knowing that your friends will agree and make you feel better (I do this all the time!) However, in the end, you’ll still have to face that person or deal with that situation.

When I go for a job interview, I’m often asked about my social media accounts. I thank my parents for making me think twice about the photos or comments I was posting. I may not have believed them at the time, but I know of countless people who lost an opportunity because of posts that made them look irresponsible.

Some poorly-discerned comments can even become evidence in a criminal case. I once saw this post: “Last night I drove home drunk like a dumbass and ran over a rabbit.” WHAT?!

One of my contacts regularly posted what time and where she would be going for runs. This can also be dangerous, making the user an easy target for s break-in or attack.

If we think twice about what we post, it becomes common sense to not post party pics, nudes, rants, private information, or relationship issues. No good can come out of it – and it’s probably out there forever.

I’ve recently been challenged by 1 Corinthians 10:23-33: “Do all to the glory of God.” What does it look like for my social media to be a reflection of my dedication to God? It doesn’t mean to only post bible verses or shove Christianity down people’s throats. I believe it goes hand-in-hand with the fruit of the Spirit, making your posts a reflection of “joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

This conviction helps me think twice about what I’m posting. If it’s going to be there forever, I want it to inspire and be a reflection of my values. I try to ask myself, Is this something I would be ok with everybody seeing? Is it an accurate representation of who I am and want to be?


A typical Tuesday at CMU


One of the greatest things about living in residence is being able to roll out of bed 20 minutes before class and still make it on time. After grabbing a quick breakfast, I head to my first class, “The Evolutionary and Ecological Revolution.” This class is on held on the north side of campus, and it’s always a treat to witness the beautiful castle-like building in the morning light.

Although this is a morning class, I try to get there early in order to sit by people I know. This is something I appreciate about classes at CMU, because although I’m a third year International Development student, I still manage to be in classes with friends who are majoring in different programs.

After an interactive class with Dr. Rachel Krauss, I usually head to Marpeck Commons. I can always count on finding friends there to either study in folio café, the Library, or the Mezzanine. I move into the library to do readings for my Wednesday classes in my favourite sun-bathed spot. Sometimes, I send a couple of emails to professors concerning topics which I didn’t quite grasp from the reading material. An advantage of being part of a small university is the ability to build relationships with professors, knowing they will answer emails concerning readings, essay editing, and assignments.

At 11:30, I join the rest of the student body and staff in chapel, a great opportunity to come together to listen to faculty or a student share about life-shaping moments. At noon, I make my way to the cafeteria and although I live in an apartment, CMU offers meal plans for apartment students. This is very convenient because some days can get too busy to cook! Following lunch, I meet with the international student committee to plan events.

The rest of my afternoon is spent studying in the library and taking the occasional coffee break at folio café. My days at CMU are not ruled by routine though, thanks to student life activities, forums, and events which allow my days to be filled with opportunities to learn and share beyond the classroom.


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