Adjusting to life in Residence
If going to university is your student's first experience living independently, they’ll likely turn to you for help during this time of transition. We’ve put together some tips from others who have been in your shoes and from our many years of experience helping students adjust to university life.
Mount Royal's Monthly Parent Guide is a great resource. It details the stressors students are likely to encounter throughout the year and gives you handy tips for helping them from afar.
Ideas for supporting your student from home
- Send a care package. Students love getting these! They can include special treats, gift cards to favourite restaurants or stores, home baking, small toiletries, or photos of family, friends and pets.
- Re-load their food card online. MRU students can purchase a reloadable food card from our food services provider which is accepted at many outlets around campus.
- Get their groceries delivered. Most stores allow you to shop online and can deliver your purchases right to Residence.
- Consider visiting them. Residence has a number of accommodation options for guests and visitors – including upgraded hotel suites – year-round. You can stay close to your student without cramping their space!
- Ask what you can do to help. Your student knows what they need most.
Living with roommates
Living with roommates is often a wonderful part of the Residence experience. However, some degree of conflict – usually minor – is likely to occur. Sharing a living space requires patience, understanding, assertiveness, compromise and above all, communication. Here are some suggestions to help you help your student get off on the right foot:
- Remind your student to have an open mind and not to rely on first impressions. Move-in day is a huge change for everyone and the stress and heightened anxiety of this day may not be the best indicator of anyone’s personality. Furthermore, what makes a roommate different is also what makes them unique and interesting. Check out living with roommates for more in-depth tips.
- Keep the lines of communication open to allow a safe place to vent their frustrations over the phone. You’re likely to hear all the things they don’t want to say to anyone else, and one day’s “crisis” may well be forgotten the next day. Let your student know you have confidence in them and encourage them to solve their own problems, knowing that Residence Life staff – like Resident Advisors and Residence Life Coordinators – are here to offer support, if needed. These staff members are trained in conflict mediation and can help all parties discuss their concerns openly and constructively.
- Talk to your student about seeking help from Residence Life staff both before and after conflicts arise. Our dedicated staff members want living in Residence to be the best experience it can be and are ready to help. We can’t help, however, unless we know what might be wrong. Encourage your student not to wait until a problem gets too big – an early conversation is the best way to head off a larger conflict. Your student will benefit from your ongoing guidance and encouragement, but remember that it is empowering for students to take control and reach out themselves.
There are also many on-campus resources available to all students.
- If your student is having difficulty with their roommates, encourage them to try other options like mediation with Residence Life staff or a room change before deciding to withdraw from campus housing. We recommend this not only because we believe they’ll miss all the benefits of Residence, but also because there are ramifications to breaking the Accommodation Agreement.
Shifting to a more independent lifestyleMany residents are going through similar transitions and new learning experiences. Most residents are living with roommates for the first time in their lives. Some are also adjusting to life in the big city after growing up in a small town. Still others are navigating cultural differences upon arriving in Canada for school. This shared experience is a great time and place to meet new people and gain transferable knowledge and skills. Your student may make mistakes, but remember that it is part of the learning process.
Encourage your student to get involved in Residence activities – especially during Welcome Week. A little homesickness is to be expected, but getting to know people will usually help them transition quickly and can be the start of lifelong friendships.
See our rates and fees page for detailed information on payments and deadlines.
We encourage you to have a conversation with your student about money – this is a good time for a refresher on valuable life skills like budgeting. If there are any questions specifically about Residence, we ask that the student contact us directly. By reaching out themselves, they will become more comfortable with Residence and will be able to make more informed decisions.
Residence Life is here to help
Our Residence Life team is always working to make your student’s transition to life in Residence successful. We are professionals specially trained to handle your student’s concerns.
Our Welcome Week activities are specifically designed to help residents settle in and get to know one another. Furthermore, every unit will have a group meeting with their Resident Advisor during the first few weeks to help foster relationships, answer questions and address any issues.
We continue to offer fun programs throughout the Academic Year to get your student involved and help them cope with the unique challenges of resident student life.