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Fitting in as a day student

It’s no secret students living in residence often dominate the first year population on campus at King’s. Being the small school it is, residence students can easily notice those they don’t see around campus all day, which can make day students feel isolated.
This is why, for some day students, frosh week can be vital in determining how they fit into the King’s community.
Emma Reid, a third-year King’s student who spent her first year in residence, said she had many opportunities to make friends throughout the year.
“In residence there are so many situations where you are forced to get to know people around you, whether it’s your roommate or going to meal hall, whereas day students don’t get that opportunity,” she said.
President of the Day Students’ Society (DSS), Colleen Earle understands the isolation day students may feel.
“Local students and students who live on residence have a very different idea of what the King’s community is,” Earle said. “One thinks of it as nice and inclusive and the other doesn’t know half the people they spend two hours a day for 200 days. I’m still meeting people who I did FYP with and I’m going into my fourth year.”
Along with advocating on behalf of day students, the goal of the DSS is to make sure those students feel supported throughout the year.
“Many of our first-year local day students feel isolated and it’s our job to be a friendly face on campus and help foster a community that they feel comfortable in,” said Earle.
Partying has always been an aspect of the university experience. Lauren Sweeney, a day student who attended frosh week, believes forging friendships during that week is important.
“It would be really hard to go to the parties because I didn’t have a place to crash, so it was good to know someone in residence,” she said.
The DSS first year representative, Madeline Higgins, said she understands the importance of having a place to stay at night as she lives outside the city in Tantallon.
“For day students who live farther out, it’s not just (about) meeting friends,” she said. “Making friends on residence is really important since all the resident students are part of frosh week. You can make those connections and then sleep on their floors.”
The frosh van is available to day students who need a lift to and from King’s, which is provided by the DSS, but Earle finds it challenging for the remainder of the year to integrate those living outside the city.
Though the van helps with transportation, finding a place to sleep became an issue. The Day Bay was understood as a room for day students to stay at during frosh, but Sweeney was left unimpressed.
“I remember we played circles because it wasn’t where they told us it would be,” she said. After finding the room she quickly realized it wasn’t set up. “We had to drag mattresses in and there were no blankets or pillows.
“Most importantly there was no key for us to enter the building. A resident student with a key would have to let us in or we couldn’t get in.”
Reid said she feels there is an unfair burden put on day students.
She said, “It’s almost treated like day student culture isn’t real kings student culture in a way because they don’t have all the same experiences as the resident students.”
Then there’s Prince Hall. Most residence students eat there roughly three times a day because of the meal plans. Though day students are welcome prices of meals can range from $8.45 for lunch up to $11.00 for dinner.
The DSS has tried finding opportunities to integrate day and residence students, but due to miscommunication between day students and the executives of the society, the DSS has not been very popular with the majority of day students at King’s.
“I know last year the president really wanted to do the Fall Ball and we all worked on that, but the turn out wasn’t that great because we didn’t have enough communication or we didn’t advertise it enough,” Higgins said.
Earle hopes to work on that for the upcoming semester.
“I’m still not entirely sure how to fix this problem, but it’s one of the things that I’d really like to work hard on this year.”

By David J. Shuman

David is a second-year journalism student at King's, is engagement/news editor of The Watch, and a copy editor of The Pigeon. He writes on student politics, campus happenings, and school news. 

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