Soon to be a don at the new Durham residence, I am excited to see Trent University’s newest building already starting to make a mark. A quick drive down Thornton Road reveals the modern building that will soon house 200 incoming Trent students for the 2020/21 school year. The concept of residence at Trent, however, is not new, but indeed truly unique. Trent’s Durham residence will reflect the same advantages of Peterborough’s “college system” that allows students to foster a strong connection with the university, build long-lasting relationships, and learn to live independently.
Through our collegiate residence system, Trent strives to create an all-encompassing experience that combines academic, social, and living spaces into one area. Classes and social spaces are offered in conjunction with the residence and are even housed in the same building, all under one roof. Not only is travel to class instantaneous, but the combination of classrooms and living spaces make Trent a true home where all aspects of living and learning are readily accessible.
Trent University Housing Services hires dons, upper-year students who provide support to incoming students to make a seamless transition from high school to university.
I have been a don for the past three years at Trent’s Peterborough campus and will be working as the senior residence life don at Durham. Speaking from an insider’s perspective, I can attest to the critical and positive impact living in residence has on students.
Most students have never lived alone, so creating a safe transition space where students can learn life skills and build bonds is the best experience a university can offer. Students also traditionally come into residence shy, many lacking skills for independent living, and unsure how to maintain a balance between their social, academic, and personal lives.
As dons at Trent, we are here to offer support and guidance throughout their transition moving away from home. We also run fun and engaging events that combine educational and social experiences. For example, at the beginning of the year, events that foster social relations, such as group movie nights, are a crowd favourite. Come midterm and exam season, dons work collaboratively with Academic Advising, Academic Skills, and specific departments to help students explore the resources that Trent offers. Beyond running events, dons provide students living in residence with the advantage of having a friendly face a few rooms over to provide support, whether that be for academics, or personal concerns.
Historically, Trent Durham has been a commuter campus, but the supports and ease of living right where you eat and go to class cannot be beat.
Keep in mind, Trent University has guaranteed residence for incoming students that apply by the deadline. Be sure to visit Trent Durham’s Open House on March 14 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. if you are considering attending postsecondary. Make sure you take part in a tour of our sample residence room so you can picture yourself as part of the next generation of Trent students. You might even win the chance to be the first person to choose your room…I might recommend one with a view of Lake Ontario!
Michelle Arshad is a senior residence life don at Trent University Durham GTA, studying English Literature. This article originally appeared in Metroland.