Sully Abroad: Dorming in the land down under

I have a bone to pick with anyone who says that the University of Rhode Island Housing and Dining are terrible. I will never complain about either of them again. First, my room has one outlet, and it’s all the way across the room from me. Not one pair of outlets with two plugs, I mean there is one plug for the entire room.

On top of the spiders that I see (granted, I’m in Australia) laundry is coin only and my closet can’t fit all of my clothes. I know the closets at URI aren’t huge, but they can at least fit all of one person’s clothes. Lest we forget that the dining hall here is only open for breakfast and dinner, which only offers two options, a main meal and a vegetarian option.

I bring this up not to say that I hate Australia and that my dorm sucks, but rather to say that my living conditions have absolutely no impact on my experience here. In fact, it’s probably the best thing about my study abroad experience.

My hall here at the University of New South Wales is all singles, the awkwardness of leaping head first into a new environment didn’t go away. The people in my hall however quickly worked like RAs, introducing me to the building and inviting me out to dinner. These people were not RAs, but rather orientation leaders. Two of them, Brad and Finn, really took me under their wing and we ended up talking for about an hour at the dinner table. They were quick to invite me to drink the next day, and they have been some of my best friends since. It was just like freshman year, meeting some of my closest friends only hours into my experience.

URI has one of the best entertainment committees of any school. Here, far less of the entertainment is done at the school level, it’s mostly at the individual building level. Imagine your residence hall planning large scale events. Some of the events that we’ve done have been going to the zoo, an Australian Football League (AFL) Game, and many more. While it doesn’t incorporate the whole school like a concert or a performance, it brings the 200 people in hall closer together. The atmosphere is what makes this place so special.

When I got to URI, the atmosphere of the dorms was probably my biggest disappointment. I expected it to be a little more connected, with more people bouncing between rooms and hanging out. Maybe that’s what it is for some, but I spent my freshman year in Weldin’s basement, followed by a year in my own suite, so I rarely had people from elsewhere in my buildings coming around to hang out.

For those who have that, cherish it, it’s something that I never got to experience. If not, do what I did and go find it. Not going out and finding it is sadly one of my biggest regrets of freshman year. In Australia, I’ve finally found what I expected, and what I was looking for. One of the events that happens every so often is a party in the common room, where all of the hall will get together, have some drinks and just hang out. Some of my best friends from Hall, Eden and Emelia, met me at one of those parties and we’ve been joined at the hip ever since. We even began a tradition of going to Eden’s room, drinking some beers, relaxing and talking about our days. It is an incredible atmosphere to be a part of.

Lets flip back to the start of this article. I was ranting and whining about my living conditions and how I wish I had the accommodations that I had back at URI. However, the rest of the article shows all the great things about my hall, and all of the people in it. So my message to anyone reading this is this: don’t worry about the little imperfections, or all those little things. Go out and make the most out of your college experience. You’re only here for a set amount of time, so make it the best it can possibly be. It’s all about the experience.