The grounds of Village 1.
April 22, 2019
My first year of Software Engineering at the University of Waterloo is complete! I wrote my last final exam earlier today, and I now have twenty-four hours to move out of my residence in Village 1. It’s a little lonely here at the moment, with most of the residents in my building already moved out. The vast majority of the stuff that I had in my room has already been whisked away by a temporary student storage service, and all that remains is to pack up my two bags of belongings and wait for my flight home tomorrow.
I’m writing right now as I was suddenly struck by a certain feeling of premature nostalgia, which will probably result in a pretty sappy blog post that will also likely sound like an advertisement for residence. I’ve lived in this residence for an entire eight months, or almost four percent of my lifetime, and I’ll miss it when I leave.
I’ll miss the cafeteria of Village 1. I know that some people dislike the cafeteria food in Village 1, but personally, I always found the cafeteria very interesting with the variety of food and the unique way that certain things worked there. Whenever something new arrived, I felt like I was almost in a market fair, gawping at whatever new pastry or dish Food Services had cooked up and trying to decide if it was worth the risk. I had great fun figuring out the best and worst ways to spend meal plan money, and laughed with friends about ridiculous food-purchasing plans that would never work, like buying a single piece of broccoli to try and pay negative amounts of money, since the food was priced by weight. Looking back through rose-tinted glasses, the cafeteria was a playground for me, and a tasty one at that.
I’ll miss the paths between the buildings in Village 1. I once heard that Village 1 was built to resemble a medieval village, and while I can’t say it exactly looks like one, the layout of the grounds lends itself to a certain feeling of walking among something ancient and majestic. The paths wind their way between tall, ivy-laden brick buildings, between towers or under bridges, up stairs to terraces, or out and through to fields of grass and trees. On a fine spring day, someone with a little imagination could find themselves quite immersed in a fantastic world, exploring the grounds of Village 1. I think it would have been a beautiful place to grow up.
I’ll miss being but a hallway away from other first-years. There was something incredible about always being able to knock on a few doors, or hanging out in the lounge, and finding someone to talk to fairly easily. I made some very good friends by living in residence, and I don’t think I would have had the same ease of making friends had I lived off campus, or even in a suite-style residence instead of a traditional dormitory. I remember sitting in friends’ rooms or the lounge late at night, chatting away the wee hours of the night. I remember asking, and being asked, to go on late night exploratory adventures through the maze of buildings that make up the UWaterloo campus. I remember our Don’s heartfelt building events, which usually drew few attendees, but were made up by those attendees' enthusiasm.
I guess that I miss the way that everything in residence came together. The thing I always liked most about Harry Potter was the idea of living in Hogwarts, a fantastic, adventurous place with a sense of community, living together with classmates and friends, taking parts in all sorts of little adventures made possible by the details of the setting. I like to compare my experience here in Village 1 with that.
Moving out of Village 1 will be the first time I leave a home and know that it will no longer be mine when I return. It won’t be the last, with the way UWaterloo’s co-op program moves us about every four months. I guess it’s all right.