For most first-year students, your dorm will be- come your home away from home. As a first year, you’ll be in one of four residences: Place Vanier, Totem Park, Ritsumeikan or Orchard Commons (OC). Each residence has its own perks — Vanier and Totem are known for their close-knit communities, Rits has kitchens to cook your own meals and OC is the newest and has single-connected rooms for the most privacy. Our advice? Don’t be super disappointed if you don’t get the residence you were hoping for. There are lots of people who didn’t get the residence they wanted, but ended up very much enjoying living in the residence they didn’t want to live in!
Since you’ll be living on a floor with tons of people, it’s important to be respectful of each others’ privacy. One of the biggest things to be mindful of is noise because the walls in most dorms are very thin. Each dorm has its own designated quiet hours — don’t be the person who violates them! When you move in, you’ll receive a residence contract in your welcome package. Make sure to read it carefully for all residence rules.
Your residence advisor, or RA, is the first person you should go to for any issues or general advice. Tip: your RA is a fellow student who is working hard to make sure everyone is getting along. Be friendly and attend the events they plan if you can!
Only first-year students are guaranteed housing at UBC. This means that from your second year onwards, you might not get on-campus housing even if you want it because demand for dorms greatly exceeds supply. While first years live in winter session housing, upper years can also apply for year round housing, a dorm lease that lasts the entire year. You can apply for this on the SSC. As for when you should apply? NOW. Literally, as soon as possible. Getting off the waitlist for year round housing can take months, if not years. It’s advised you apply for both winter session and year round housing for your second year to maximize your chances.
Living on campus is safe and convenient, and your time in residence can contribute positively to your overall first-year experience. No matter what dorm you end up in and what residence experience you have, you’ll learn to make the most of it (maybe with the help of some earplugs, though!).