Humans of HOEM Part 1: An Interview with Emma and Eira

We know you’re excited about the upcoming school year. After making the most of 2020, the buildup to Fall 2021 at HOEM is buzzing with anticipation for the amazing student experiences and events yet to come. And with students from across the GTA, Canada, and even abroad, we have a lot of unique student experiences to share. And we figured, why not share these inspiring and thought-provoking stories with all of you? Inspired by the well-known Humans of New York series by Brandon Stanton, we worked with Jordana Petruccelli, a talented local portrait and lifestyle photographer, to capture a series of student portraits and hear their stories. With the help of Nada and Ani, both students of Film in the Ryerson School of Image Arts, close friends of Jordana and our fellow HOEMies, we bring you Humans of HOEM.

To start, we interviewed Emma and Eira, roommates who just completed their first year of university at Ryerson and are both pursuing a Bachelor of Interior Design. Oshon, their third roommate had moved back home the previous week and wasn’t able to join us, but she was there in spirit. Eira, cool, calm and collected; Emma, bubbly and ready to have a good time, the two couldn’t be more different! But somehow, their dynamic meshed perfectly. 

Meet Emma on the left and Eira on the right!

Now, let’s dive into the interview:

Ani: What were you most excited about when you decided to live at HOEM?

Emma: I was most excited about having my own apartment, being independent from my family, living in the city. I really liked HOEM because of the apartment style it had, that’s why I chose it over other Ryerson residences. 

Eira: I was most excited about living somewhere in the city and just the apartment style aspect of it. Having my own room and my own space. 

Ani: What’s your happiest memory at HOEM?

Emma: I don’t think I have one happiest but I did really enjoy the community meetings and the stuff we did with our floor and the floor above us and we had this really amazing RA - Zain. Shoutout to him! He was so nice and always made the events fun and I always enjoyed going to those. 

Eira: So when I first came I had roommate issues and HOEM was nice enough to switch me, so that’s why I ended up with Emma and Oshon, that was probably the happiest that I was and I stayed happy afterwards. 

Ani: Did you meet anyone you’d consider a friend at HOEM? And how did you meet them?

Emma: Definitely Eira over there and Oshon. My best friends are definitely my roommates because they’re just so great! And I also like how HOEM did such a good job matching us with roommates, especially my first one Oshon, we got along so well immediately and even when Eira joined they told us we’re compatible and it ended up working. 

Eira: I think Emma is a friend but also there are a few girls in our program that live a few floors above and our other roommate Oshon. I know them because of moving and I was in the others’ community. 

Ani: What’s your favourite way to spend your free time at HOEM?

Emma: Honestly, most of the time I’m studying. I like going on walks. Me and my roommates at the beginning always went down to the vending machines and got coffee and just sat in the living room. 

Ani: What’s your biggest hope/goal that you have for the next year?

Emma: Just to be happy and I’m probably gonna stay at HOEM next year. I hope that my new roommates are also gonna be as nice as my previous one and that the great experience that I had is just gonna continue. 

Eira: Just to stay happy doing what I am doing. I really like my program and I am so thankful to be studying what I am studying.  

Ani: Who are you inspired by?

Emma: Mainly just by my dad because he is very hardworking and whatever he sets his mind to, he always does it and he achieves every goal that he wants to. He always says nothing is impossible as long as you believe in yourself and if you work hard enough you can get everything. I am really inspired to be like him one day. 

Eira: My mom inspires me. We’re like best friends. She’s so awesome and just the way she takes some things in life. My old dance teacher as well - she ran everything by herself like all of the classes. She ran her business by herself which was really inspiring to me. Also there is a designer that does concert designing. She worked with The Weekend, Billie Elish, Kanye West and traveled around with them and did the set design with them. That’s something I’d aspire to do. 

Ani: What was your first day at HOEM like?

Emma: I actually came a week after move-in day cause I came from Germany and I still had to quarantine at HOEM. I missed orientation day but when I came in, my roommate already knew the other two girls that lived on the same floor and they were really nice. Oshon was so nice and welcoming and then the other two girls came over and we all sat in our living room and we just talked for hours which I really enjoyed. I really liked my first day here. 

Ani: What’s something you’re really happy about right now?

Emma: Just being finished with first-year 

Eira: Lots of things. All of the time I spend my time doing things that I like to do. I don’t feel pressured to do anything. I am doing summer courses right now and I really like them. Selling clothes - I really like selling clothes. 

Ani: How has it been like living at HOEM during the pandemic?

Emma: I think HOEM has been very helpful to their students during COVID. More so than any other student residence I know. HOEM has achieved this nice balance of letting students live their life in a nice way during the pandemic while also making sure they’re in a safe environment, nothing’s getting breached in terms of safety, so I think it’s been good. I have still been able to make friends and take up new endeavours due to the pandemic within the building and the staff is quite nice and they’ll help if you need anything. I think the best part is that they really take care of their students.

Eira: Honestly, I kind of have been grateful to have HOEM as somewhere I could go and have through the pandemic. I think I have four friends but it would’ve been like zero if I didn’t have HOEM. I am really appreciative of that.

Ani: Any word of advice to international students?

Emma: I really liked living at HOEM during the pandemic, also to have my own space where I can work and focus on school. Back home I have three sisters so it’s very loud, but here it’s just my quiet space to just do work. I think HOEM has handled this pandemic really well. Especially like how one visitor per resident really made me feel safer because of things that I have heard from other people living in different residences. I felt really safe here! 


Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for future installments of the new Humans of HOEM series as we gear up to welcome our HOEMies for the Fall semester!


Images by: Jordana Petruccelli

Interviewed by: Anirudh Muruganand

Transcribed by: Nada Abbass