Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Living In a Four-Person Suite

Last year, I lived in an 8-person suite in Pontigny.  Living with 7 other girls had its perks, but sometimes was just too much.  This year, I'm living in a 4-person suite in Canterbury.  The suite is much smaller, but we still all have our own rooms and we're getting along very well.  My suite has become something like my own personal posse.  Now, I'm not saying we're a clique, but it's nice to have a tight-knit group that I can eat my meals with, watch TV with, do homework around, and just hang out with.  We still have our own separate lives so we don't do everything together.  However, whenever the four of us do hang out, it's always a blast.
From left: Adrianna, Jill, Leah, and me! 
One of the secrets to our success is our suite contract.  At the beginning of the year, we sat down together and drafted a list of ground rules for our suite in order to maintain a respectful and relaxing atmosphere.  So far, it has worked out well.  By drafting the suite contract, we know each other's boundaries.  This way, we can solve minor disagreements and avoid big problems.  For example, it is understood that things put out in the common space are free to be used by everyone.  Certain things that are either labeled or otherwise specified to be someone's property can be used with the permission of that suite mate.  In the common room, "majority rules".  So, if the majority of people in the common room are studying, the suite mate who wants to Skype or watch TV (for example) should go into her room.   As far as cleaning the bathroom and buying certain groceries goes, we rotate that responsibility so it is not the same person doing those things every time.  
Now that we're into our fourth week of school, things are still running really smoothly.  As I'm writing, Leah and I are sitting in the common room together doing homework and occasionally chatting.  Jill is in her room doing homework and Adrianna just walked in to join us.  Our suite is fun, comfortable, and just plain wonderful.  I love it!

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