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.
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.
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.