The first thing I noticed about my singles room was the new carpet. I’d peered into the other rooms and saw drab grey cotton fitted carpets, but mine were a nice royal blue with swirls and patterns. I also happened to get a room with a balcony, sweet! I was pleased.
The room was small and bare but I spared no time turning it into a cosy place that reminded me of home. Perhaps that would make up for the lack of an en suite toilet that the studio room occupants had. In the first two weeks of my residency at St Catherine’s, the hostel was fairly empty because University students had gone home for the holidays. When the UWA semester started, however, the place was bustling with life, the dining hall constantly crowded during dinner time on the weekdays.
Orientation week took place the week before the University semester started and that was when St Catherine’s was at its liveliest. The entire week was jam-packed with an entire line up of ice-breaking activities designed to integrate first-years to residential life in a dorm, as well as helping international students adapt to life in Perth. Every day, an hour of the schedule would be dedicated to an activity called “Fresher’s Dance”, where the Residential Advisors (RAs) would teach the Freshmen (or as they are so lovingly called, “Freshers”) a specially choreographed dance which they would perform in a friendly dance competition against the other colleges in college row (St George’s, University Hall, Thomas More, etc). Still, I daresay the highlight of the week would definitely have to be the Wing Combat, which is as terrifying as it sounds. Residents from the various wings are to tackle with each other in a full-contact game of ‘capture the flag’ along the corridors of the dorms. But there’s a twist: the game is played in complete darkness. It was an incredibly wild 2 hours.
Wing Combat aside, when O Week ended, St Catherine’s returned to its more or less peaceful self and is pretty much how one would expect dorm life to be, really. There’s bikes at St Catherines that you can for a ride for free! My friends and I only rode halfway to Kings Park before the steep hills deterred us from continuing our ambitious quest. The great thing about dorms is that you’ll always have your friends with you, because when you get home from school, they’re there with you and if you ever need anything at all, they’re not hard to find (literally only 7 steps away in some cases).
At St Catherine’s, there’s always room for everyone and there’s always something going on. Games, beanbags to chill out on, digeridoos and traces of aboriginal heritage as part of the decoration. There’s the Bloom Lab where innovation and creativity take flight, for example, once a week there are talks held there for young inventors and entrepreneurs to learn from the best. We even have a mini theatre! It’s not even a mini theatre; it’s a micro one, really tiny and cosy.
Dorm life is great, but nothing beats home. Overall, I’d give St Catherine’s a modest 7 out of 10.
Written by: Isabelle Yuen (Izzy)