Humans of Our Communities - Nadia Sajir

Freshers week. New city, new people. Second night - The 'Circus Party' began at my hall bar. My eyeliner wings for the first time perfectly matched. Thrown into a bar compacted full of unfamiliar faces, eager to meet who would be living with me. Introductions, what's your name? Your course? Where are you from? I bought my second vodka and lemonade. I was approached by someone, discussion erupted, I placed my drink down on the side of the bar. "Mr. Brightside" started to play, dancing and singing to every reminiscent word. Not more than 5 minutes later, I picked up my drink off the bar again. 10:30PM. Freshers being ushered by last years residents to the U1 transport hub.

Packed onto the bus. Chants resonated from window to window. My speech slurred. The bus jolted to a stop, elated to get off crowds ran down the hill to College Green. 11:00pm. My mind begins to go fuzzy. Tired and woozy. Conscious of making a bad impression on new friends, I try to remember how much I drank. I can’t concentrate. I try my best to focus. Two vodka and lemonades. How was I this disorientated? Confused and isolated. My fingers begin to feel numb. I pass out on the floor and get trampled on. A guy from my hall drags me off the ground, unstable.

Reassuring me everything will be okay. I feel a sense of security and comfort.

This is where my memory begins to fade. Earsplitting. My head ached. I adjusted my eyes, I was in my bed. No recollection of the events that had unfolded. A senior resident appears, offering me a cup of tea and calming words. Reassuring me everything will be okay. I feel a sense of security and comfort. I’m told paramedics are on the way. ‘We think you have been spiked and recommend that you go to A&E’. In the back of an ambulance, still oblivious and slightly unaware. Spiked. I trace back my steps as the paramedic writes up her report, I only put my drink down in the hall bar. A place of safety and security. Paranoia takes over.

I genuinely believe without my SR’s support I would have felt completely isolated and would most likely have listened to negative thoughts in my head telling me to drop out of university.

The same senior resident knocked on my door the next morning, full of sympathy and a willingness to listen. Not being patronising, like most adults and senior members of university staff come across. Instead, the senior resident was able to make me feel supported. I genuinely believe without my SR’s support I would have felt completely isolated and would most likely have listened to negative thoughts in my head telling me to drop out of university. The senior resident became a familiar face, someone of a similar age who was able to offer me advice. Over time our relationship developed, I was able to trust talking and expressing my views.

The new hall model will not allow personal relationships like this to be formed. I would have been completely alone without my senior resident. These proposed changes will ruin the intimate relationships that help mould thousands of students' university experience. Senior residents provided me with a sense of comfort, consistency and reliability, offering me advice, and being able to completely empathise with me. The new model WILL NOT provide this same support.