My first year at Western was a very difficult adjustment for me; I’d lived away from home before and been through challenging academic years. However, the combination of handling a new physical and social environment on campus and in a traditional residence (I lived in Delaware Hall), on top of more independent academic studying and learning to fully live on my own, was extremely overwhelming. The one thing I was certain of was that I enjoyed the lifestyle of living in residence and wanted to come back as a leader to relive Orientation Week from a position of knowledge and experience and to help mentor future first year students like myself through their transition into university.
With the help of my RA and a few Sophs in the building that I was friendly with, I put in application both Soph and to become an RA for my 2nd year, with the ultimate goal of Rez Staffing. I got interviews for both positions in January, but in the course of two weeks in February, was offered a Soph position at a residence that I did not want to live in (which I immediately considered a rejection from Delaware Hall), and got my rejection from Housing regarding my RA application.
I still remember remembering tearing up on the floor of the Rec Centre when I got the RA rejection email, finishing up my workout as quickly as possible, and going home and crying on the phone to my mom. Honestly, it was one of the first major positions I’d REALLY wanted that I applied to that I’d been rejected from, and the rejection stung worse than I could have imagined, especially with two of my best friends on my floor and many others I knew all getting offers. Every time “RA” became a topic of conversation, I immediately withdrew, and took 2 weeks to emotionally recover.
I look back on this experience almost exactly 3 years later having been a Soph in residence for 2 years, gaining many of my best friends and (excuse the cheese) a handful of unforgettable memories along the way. What would have happened had I ended up staffing in 2nd year? I’ll never know. But I can confidently look back and say that I am grateful for the experiences that Orientation has afforded me throughout my time at Western, and that I look back on that rejection not as a door that was closed, but as an experience that opened many others for me.