Residence life at Renison from the perspective of twin sisters living together

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

twin baby strollersRenison is known as a small, close-knit community with a family atmosphere. In its 220-bed residence, students are put together on floors of roughly 25 students with an upper-year student "don" who is available as a role model.
This year Renison`s "family atmosphere" has taken on a literal meaning for two residents. Allie and Maddy Leadbetter are twin sisters who live together here, and This Week at Renison recently caught up with them to find out more about their experience.

In one sentence describe yourselves?

Maddy - A second year Computer Science student (I don't really know what to put here!)

Allie - A high-strung Environmental Science student.<--break->

Describe your relationship with your sister?

Maddy - We've always been really close and never really fought. We share a lot of hobbies but are actually quite different! It's nice to have someone who's there for you always, especially last year when we were just getting adjusted to university life. We're also really competitive and I think that helps with our grades, because we always want to do as well as each other. We are best friends and rivals! Twins have a special relationship that really can't be compared to anything else.

Allie -  Maddy and I have always been really close. We know each other as well as we know ourselves, so she always knows what I'm feeling and how to help. We like a lot of the same things, but at our cores we are very different people although it may be hard to see at first. And no, we can't read each other's minds or feel each other's pain.<--break->

What were you looking for in a residence?

Maddy - Well we knew we wanted to room together, so that was a factor. We were also looking for a smaller residence that was a bit more personal and cared more about the residents. Finding somewhere that was quiet and good for studying was also a key aspect we were looking for.

Allie - The three main things I was looking for were proximity to campus, atmosphere, and the ability to room with Maddy. Renison is super close to campus and it really has a friendly, close-knit atmosphere. The building itself is also quite nice compared to some of the other residences.<--break->

Where did you hear about Renison?

Maddy - We had the hardest time picking a university so we actually toured Waterloo twice (along with pretty much every other university in Ontario). We visited Renison both times and really liked it. The tour guides were super friendly and the building is really pretty.

Allie - I visited Waterloo a few times when I was trying to decide on the university I wanted to go to. I toured Renison both those times and really liked it!<--break->

Why did you choose Renison?

Maddy - Renison seemed like a tight-knit community with a lot of support because of the small floor sizes and awesome dons.  Everyone really cares about you at Renison!

Allie -  It had all the features I was looking for. As mentioned before, I like how close it is to campus and its welcoming atmosphere. The small size is great, and the rooms and the rest of the building look good. So much storage space! My friends from other residences even said it looks like a fancy hotel!<--break->

Has it been a good choice so far? Why?

Maddy - Absolutely!  Renison has such a close community of students it really feels like home.   No other residence has so many fun events and competitions, and the dons here are the greatest!  We've had the opportunity to meet a lot of awesome people both last year and this year.  It's also normally pretty quiet, which was something we really wanted in a residence.  We couldn't have asked for anything better.

Allie - It has definitely been a good choice so far! I love the rooms and my dons (shoutout to Negin and Margaret) and floor mates have been amazing both years I lived here. I like all the events and activities available to be involved in, especially Gotcha. I'll be sad to be living elsewhere next year.<--break->

How would you describe Renison to a friend?

Maddy - I'd probably describe it as a really big house.  We're like a family here at Renison because there are so many less people than in a residence like V1. There's always a friendly face to sit with at lunch or someone saying hi in the halls. I've heard Renison described as a hotel because of the big rooms and cleanliness so maybe I'd use that comparison too.

Allie - I would describe it as a small, close-knit residence that offers a lot of ways to meet people and get involved.<--break->

Given what you know now, what would you miss most if you had to live somewhere else?

Maddy - Definitely the closeness to campus. There is this weird idea that people not from Renison have that Renison is really far from campus.  Many of my friends had never even crossed the bridge until I invited them here! It's really convenient to be able to leave for class 15 minutes before class starts and get there on time. I'm definitely going to miss that when I move out!

Allie - I would miss living so close to my friends. Can't get much closer than living across the hall, and having people that close to talk to and cheer you up is great.<--break->

What is it like to live with your twin sister?

Maddy - Well we've always shared a room so this didn't feel like much of a change.  It just means we always have a friend to support the other one.  When one of us is stressed the other one can calm them down, and vice versa.  We bicker like old ladies sometimes (sorry to the floor mates beside us who have to hear that through the walls) but we're just teasing and never actually fight about anything important.  It's like living with a best friend, but better!

Allie -  I've always shared a room with Maddy, so I'm not sure what it's like otherwise. Having her with me has definitely helped with the transition to university though. We're always there to cheer the other one up or help in any way we can. We may bicker sometimes, but we never actually fight. It's like having a best friend who completely understands you always by your side.<--break->

If you had advice for other twins going to the same school and potentially living in the same place, what would that advice be?

Maddy - Definitely do it if you want to!  Allie and I had a number of people (and still do) express shock and concern that we were rooming together. A lot of people have the opinion that twins should be split apart at some point, and they certainly didn't keep that opinion to themselves. So I would assure twins that it really is a good idea.  There is no better support system at a time when you are living/studying somewhere new than a friend who has known you your whole life.  I would also advise that they make lots of friends.  It's easy to keep to the two of you in a new environment because it is familiar, but make sure to go out and meet new people too!

Allie - If you get along, consider living together. It's a great support system when you're learning to deal with university. Just make sure you still go outside your comfort zone and meet new people!

Renison’s Residence is centrally located on the Campus of the University of Waterloo. 220 residents from all University of Waterloo’s faculties make up the small intimate community for which Renison is known.