Ah, residence. For many students at U of C, "rez" is home away from home, and is one of the most important social aspects of university anywhere.
For those who have never experienced residence, it tends to give the impression of a never-ending party that encompasses your entire university life. A lot of people are turned off of residence for these exact reasons, but rez is much more than just sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. Rez has a little something for everyone, whether you're quiet or loud, rich or poor, sporty or lazy. There is only one pre-requisite to a successful rez experience: an open mind.
In general, Residence is a community oriented living space facilitated by a team of Community Assistants and Student Representatives. Together, the CA and SR of each floor or building work to provide a healthy living environment in which everyone can feel safe regardless of race, sexual preference, or lifestyle. They can also offer valuable insight on how to survive a wild night at the Den, as well as how to survive a roommate who has just returned from a wild night at the Den.
The Den is probably the most popular bar among rez kids, and holds "Rez-urection" every Friday night. This is supposedly a chance for residence floors to compete against one another for points given to the floor highest in attendance. However, the competition side of Rez-urection is unnecessary to attract rez students to the Den. All aside from the familiar faces, the decent beer prices and the laid-back atmosphere, the Den is a five minute walk from your room with no cover charge. While the Den may not be an extension of residence in actuality, it certainly is one in theory. Of course, there are also rez kids who cannot spend all their time and money at the Den.
For the academically oriented, each building is equipped with a study lounge. This is a quiet zone accessible 24/7 to anyone who needs a peaceful area to read--or escape from their roommate. There is also an academic club operated by the Residence Student's Association that offers study groups and tutorials providing tips on everything from effective study habits to what you can expect to see on an upcoming exam. This is an excellent way to meet other studious rez kids who will be there to let you borrow notes, and to celebrate with you when classes are finally over.
rsa offers several other clubs for rez students. For the adventure oriented, there is an outdoor recreation club that organizes winter camping excursions as well as several ski trips. For athletes, there is an rsa sports club. For humanitarians, there is even a Residence Outreach Committee. Indeed, there is something for everyone.
In the end, whether you join every club or stay in your room day and night, whether you live in the study lounge or at the Den, residence is what you make it. As a first-year student you may find the first weeks in rez to be a challenge, but don't despair--even if your roommate turns out to be a crack head who devotes their study hours to the search for a more efficient bong. Rez has the potential to entirely change the way you view others as well as yourself. It could be the best course you ever take.