When I first moved to Waterloo 3 years ago for my PhD studies, I didn’t know much about life in Canada. I decided to stay in residences for a term to be close to campus and to get used to the city, and then look for an off-campus options. But I enjoyed living in Columbia Lake Village (CLV) North so much that I never left after I moved in.
CLV-North offers a unique residence experience for graduate students and students with families within its two-storey townhouses. All my life, I lived in condo style apartments and had never experienced living in a townhouse style home, therefore it took me a while to get used to this new housing style which has only a wooden exterior door. Once I got used to the townhouse style, I also found that having a small backyard that can be used during nice summer and spring days, and having a kitchen and laundry inside the home, are nice bonuses of CLV-North residences.
There are many great aspects of living in CLV, but my favorite part of living in a student residence is being able to participate in several social events happening in the CLV community centre. These social events, such as weekly Yoga classes, monthly community breakfasts, cooking classes, short trips, and de-stressing painting events, etc. bring CLV residents together. I find all of these events very helpful for my work-life balance, since as a grad student I tend to work overtime. However, I realized that the days I participate in these social events I plan my day better. Also those events helped me to make many new friends studying in different departments and helped me to learn many new skills.
Also, there are several part-time job opportunities in the residences, including CLV. I have been working as a Residence Storyteller for UW Housing since the Fall 2018 term. It is a good opportunity to work on something other than my research for couple hours in a week. Just like the social events help me plan my day better, I found that I focus better on my research after I spend some time working on a totally different topic, such as writing about weather in Waterloo or taking pictures in different events happening in the residence area. Moreover, I am more connected to my community then ever since I am participating in the event planning meetings.
Grad life can be challenging in many ways, but there are ways to add fun and balance to our daily life. I find being connected to my own residence community is a way for myself to bring some fun to my own ‘GRADventure’.
Ekin Eray is a PhD Candidate in the department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. Her research focuses on measuring project health and engineering progress in the early phases of complex construction projects. Apart from her research, she likes traveling (I mean, who doesn’t?), trying new sports, and organizing social events with her friends (yay!).