Move in day was hot. Getting from downtown to Clayton isn't complicated, but when you are carrying luggage, it can make a five minute walk feel like 20 minutes. I was exhausted when we arrived, going from tram, to train, to bus, yet as soon as we got off a student kindly directed us to where we needed to go.I had a good feeling about this place after that.
There was the whole schpeel of having to get a packet, watch a video, fill out some forms to just get your keys. As soon as we got over with the help of one of the RA's, Kevin, we were able to drop off our stuff in my new home.
Lunch was free, I was getting my first free T-shirt, and my room was on the first floor! Things were looking better and better. The room was much similar to other dorms I have lived in, but there's no air conditioning and the halls are set up different. Instead of having one floor of bedrooms sharing certain public areas like a kitchenette, bathroom and showers, it's a stairway suit. So my room was on the ground level along with the RA's room, and a bathroom. On the next floor there's four more rooms plus a toilet, shower, sink, and kitchenette, then another floor, etc. And this goes on for I think 4 levels. It's quite odd from what I have experienced before. Instead of having a high rise for a building, things are a little more spread out. Now, separate from all of the suits are some public common rooms for all Hall residents. And all of the provided areas are kept up so well, and are much more than I could have ever asked for. It includes, a music room with a piano, a pool room, a game room, a study room, a lounge room, a theater/projector room, a huge almost restaurant like kitchen, a laundry room (laundry must be included in the fees because the units are free to use), and even with all of those rooms listed I think I might have missed a couple!
Of course the first day consists of ice breakers and get to know you games. First, the stairways had meetings and tours of the building. In our meeting, the group ended up making up a really complicated hand shake where each person in the stairway added a piece of the puzzle. I highly doubt I remember the whole thing. In my stairway there are also four other exchange students. One is from China, one is from Malaysia, one is from Brazil, and the last is from the UK. We are a pretty diverse group.
Later on, the whole of Richo (that's what they call the hall; it's short for Richardson Hall) played some games out on the courtyard. My favorite part was when we split up into groups to play the knot game where everyone in the group grabs hands with two of the other people, and then you have to untangle the circle by all facing away from each other. My group couldn't figure out how to get out of our literal twisted predicament, but I suggested a round of NINJA (thanks you to my first roommate for that one), and all the other groups ended up catching on!
We took a break to get free pizza, and I realized there there's a bit of a perk for having a dietary requirement. Vegetarians get a quicker shorter line!
We ended the day with a trivia night, but I cut off short because I still hadn't unpacked, and most importantly I hadn't made my bed (it was already 10pm by then). I wasn't used to how the sheets were, and--in my frustration--just threw them on any which way temporarily. It was a hot day without a fan (there were none when my dad took a trip to the local stores before all of the activities started), so it didn't much matter how well I had made up my bed.
On a final note, I love how sustainable Monash Residential Services (MRS) is. They have reminders all of over the bathrooms about how precious water is, asking you to conserve. They make suggestions for electricity, and other means of conservation as well.