Equipped for Crisis through Residence Living
Third-year student Helana Mulder reflects on lessons learned while living in residence and how they equipped her to move back home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
3 min. read
November 6, 2020

I moved out of my parents’ home three years ago, living in dorms and student houses surrounded by friends and peers. Throughout these three years, I have learned interpersonal skills and habits that have helped me live in community with others and grow to love the independence that comes with living on my own. Because of this, the idea of moving back home for an undetermined amount of time because of the pandemic was not something that appealed to me; however, it had to happen.

When I first realized that I would be moving back into my parents’ house, I was frustrated. I didn’t want to go back to living with brothers instead of friends and losing the freedom I experienced in Hamilton. I had grown so used to my life at Redeemer that I was not ready to go back to that lifestyle.

Over the course of seven weeks, I found that living back at home was not as hard as I thought it would be. It gave our family an opportunity to grow closer through game nights, movie nights, at-home church services, and time spent together being present. The church services specifically were beneficial to my family because it was dedicated time to spend together with God and without distractions. They soon became my favourite part of the week.

My time living with roommates prepared me for living with siblings again. Dorm life at Redeemer forces you out of your comfort zone and teaches you how to live in community, even if you don’t get along with everyone. One of the biggest things I learned during the time in my dorms involved dishes. Ask any Redeemer student about dishes and I’m sure you’ll get a laugh, an eye roll or a rant about “dishues”. The idea of keeping the kitchen space clean may seem like a small lesson, but it is often the source of the most conflict in dorms.

“Ask any Redeemer student about dishes and I’m sure you’ll get a laugh, an eye roll or a rant about ‘dishues’”.

What it really boils down to, however, is respect for the living space and people you’re sharing that space with. Dishes can often be a source of conflict, even at home with my siblings as we argue over who will wash and dry after dinner. Dorm life taught me what
my mom has been saying for years: “see a need, fill a need”, and it took moving back home for that lesson to finally sink in. This tiny chore has transitioned into respect and care for other areas of life, including the people I’m living with.

Those weeks at home felt almost like time in another dorm that I had to adjust to – even though the dormmates were family. I had to adjust my habits to the people I was living with so that we could all have a healthy, loving living space. Looking back, I would most likely never have grown if I had not spent so much time living in community.

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