“I look forward to having a routine here.”

This is the phrase I heard from more than one of my housemates during Orientation Week at the Laurentian Leadership Centre. Here in Ottawa, the LLC has an impressive line-up of orientation sessions, including etiquette training, cooking classes, and tours around the city to get us comfortable with the lifestyle of the program. It is fully-packed, tightly scheduled, and a very important week for the students in the LLC program and it started the very night we arrived.

Coming out of a full summer, many of us felt a mental and physical strain on our bodies as we adjusted to a new routine that was busy and full of information. It was all helpful information, but full nonetheless (and apparently, our class had more free time than previous cohorts).

Amidst it all though, it was not yet the real routine. It was simply orientation week; it only lasted five days. What we were looking forward to—and where the phrase came from—was our class schedules and our work schedules in the offices of our internship placements. Once we had the flow of those things figured out, we knew we would feel more settled into life here.

Five weeks in now and I think we are all doing better because of the paces we have established. Living in the mansion at the LLC, you have your personal routine, but you also have a macro routine with the entire household. Mansion meetings on Tuesdays, museum nights on Thursdays, day-trips on Saturdays, and church groups on Sundays. Each weeknight you sit down to a meal with your food group. One thing that I appreciate about the structure of our LLC program is the fact that we do not have to work on Saturdays.

Having a routine with others in the house creates an expectation that allows for suggestion, exploration, friendly interaction, and more fun amongst the group.

I think most of us appreciate having some sort of a routine. Be it loose or rigid, it sustains a consistency that helps us be in the same spaces with the same people to build relationships and engage in community with others within that time and place.

For the Trinity students spending a semester in Ottawa, that place is a historic mansion on Metcalfe street.