Nine years. No degree. No problem.
(First) first year: Asif and the all-girl residences
“Do you mean my first first year or my second first year?” Asif asks when I dive into the topic of his first year at Laurier. “I had two first years, three years apart,” was his response to the look of utter confusion spread across my face.
When one takes this three-year hiatus into account, the fact that Asif is still here and still finishing his degree becomes slightly (but only slightly) less fantastic.
“My first first year was in 2000 and I lived in Bricker,” he recalls. “That was the year Bouckaert Bingo was born,” he says, a devious grin spreading across his face.
Curiosity got the best of me, which resulted in Asif giving the Coles Notes version of a game that was developed by the young men of Bricker Residence in 2000-01.
Essentially, this form of bingo involved spying on women in the all-girls residence across from Bricker.
“Apparently that was a big problem,” Asif says with a soft chuckle. He didn’t say if Bouckaert Bingo ever came to an end.
Over the many hours we spent together at Wilf’s (a favourite spot of Asif’s) I also came to learn that in his first first year he was banned from Laurier’s other all-girls residence, Conrad Hall.
“Our sister floor was a Conrad floor, so [it was] me and 26 girls. Apparently they meant it when they said no visitors after 11:00 p.m. during O-Week.”
Asif quickly realized that Bricker was not the residence for him and moved out partway through his first year. He then reduced his course load and began working. Asif decided not to continue his education immediately after first year, choosing to work instead.
(Second) first year: The real first year
Asif’s short stay at Laurier in 2000 had a lasting effect on him, as he decided to return in the fall of 2003.
When Asif returned for a second shot at first year, he ended up in Laurier Place residence.
“I consider that my real first year,” he said.
“Those townhouses are horrible,” he says of LP.
The residence may have been horrible, but Asif clearly enjoyed his second first year at Laurier. He didn’t indulge entirely in the first year experience, however.
“Because we were in a townhouse, none of us got super into O-Week. None of us got the whole WLUSU thing,” he explains.
I have a feeling that the amount of partying he and his roommates partook in contributed to the lack of Orientation Week interest.
Asif’s residence life area co-ordinator (RLAC) at the time, Jeyas Balaskanthan, recalls making Asif and his roommates sign a contract near the end of the year in which they agreed to not have any more parties.
“The reason I remember the guys is because they were respectful and outgoing,” Jeyas says.
I’m sure it has nothing to do with the 200 people, police-attracting parties that Asif threw.
Second year: Getting smacked in the face 130 days in a row
This was the year Asif got involved in Greek life on campus. “At the end of my [second] first year, I ended up rushing Sigma Chi and got in,” he recalls.
“Then I lived my summer of homelessness.
“I didn’t want to go home so I lived in my car slash the Sig house. It was a fun summer.”
“I don’t remember anything remarkable that I did in second year,” he admits, racking his brain for memories of a bygone era.
He did manage to land the position as external vice-president for Sigma Chi.
However, according to Asif this resulted in 130 days of being smacked in the face by women, something he now brags about.
“If you’re doing your job right as external vice-president that is pretty much how you have to approach it.”
Third year: President frat boy
Apparently Asif was not kidding when he said that getting smacked in the face for 130 days straight translated into a job well done.
During his third year, Asif was elected president of Sigma Chi.
“We were kind of a disaster that year,” Asif admits in reference to himself and his roommates at the Sigma Chi house.
“It was kind of fun. That year was the closest to having the stereotypical frat boy year. We made everything into a drinking game of some sort, yet still managed to do really well in school.”
Until this point Asif had taken a fairly steady course load in business and economics, inching towards his degree.
However, as a result of his many commitments, Asif decided to only take a few courses in his third year at Laurier, something you must have assumed was coming, since he is still here.
Towards the end of the school year, Asif’s frat boy lifestyle began to wear thin.
“It was fairly messy, to be honest; it was a lot of fun, but I am happy I am on my own.
“I had had enough and wanted to move on,” he says of moving out of the Sig house and getting used to living on his own.
In addition to his Greek life commitments, Asif got involved with the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union for the first time, an involvement that has remained at the top of his co-curricular priorities since.
“There are so many more opportunities [outside of Greek life] on campus to really do something good,” Asif says.
“That was something I realized on the [WLUSU] board [of directors]. As much as Greek life tries, it’s just not the same as the opportunities you have with the union.”
Fourth year: Asif the policy maker
Asif’s life took a huge turn in his fourth year. He was no longer involved with Sigma Chi; instead he sat on the WLUSU board of directors.
As the chair of the Standing Committee on Constitution and Operational Development, Asif found himself very busy: he dealt with anything and everything that had to do with policy on campus.
“I actually wrote WLUSU’s first termination policy,” he said proudly.
Fifth year: Asif gets lazy
“I call this one my year of doing nothing,” Asif jokes when we move on to the topic of his fifth year at Laurier.
For the first time in five years, Asif only needed to worry about his classes.
“It was kind of nice to get back to that,” he admits.
Asif’s fifth year was one filled with change.
In addition to dramatically reducing his extra-curricular involvement, Asif also had to adjust to a much lonelier life on campus, having said goodbye to many of his closest friends the previous spring.
According to Asif, his fifth year was “probably the second toughest year … in the sense of people leaving. The amount of people that leave is tough.”
Asif has had to deal with a lot of changes in his extended stay at Laurier, and saying goodbye to his friends was not a topic he enjoyed talking about.
Sixth year: Asif, chair of the board
Last year was a great one for Laurier’s Van Wilder. Asif was elected chair of the board of directors for WLUSU.
“It was awesome,” he exclaims. “Probably one of my favourite years, if not my favourite.”
Rather than attending Laurier as a student in his sixth year, Asif spent endless hours in the WLUSU office working with people from all areas of Laurier.
“I am not a ‘rah rah’ [students’] union person by any means, but I got to work with a lot of them and they are so dedicated.…It was incredible seeing the amazing impact [WLUSU] can have on students,” he said with a smile on his face.
Seventh year: Asif the student
This September marks nine full years since Asif first set foot on Laurier soil. And no, to answer your question, Asif does not have a degree yet.
“I’m the turtle in this race,” he jokes cheerfully.
Asif is now at Laurier as a full-time student. His journey from full-time to part-time to no-time student has come full circle. And at the end of the 2010 fall semester, Asif hopes to have finished a double degree in economics and psychology with an administration option.
Asif is currently filling the little spare time he has with extra-curricular activities. For instance, Asif is currently heading up a volunteer project that will encourage local businesses to sponsor student volunteer efforts.
“This allows students to give what they have plenty of, time, and businesses to give what they have, money,” Asif explains.
Asif also dedicates time to the provincial lobbying group that WLUSU belongs to, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA).
“It’s kind of nice to get to do what I want,” he says, leaning back, tired from hours of answering questions about himself.
Asif Bacchus has spent nearly 10 years as a Laurier Golden Hawk, certainly no small chunk of time.
Perhaps the path Asif has chosen to head down isn’t one you would pick for yourself, but you have to admit there are many positives that come from living the Van Wilder lifestyle.
Where you and I only have a few short years to get as much out of our time at Laurier as possible, Asif has been able to leisurely stroll through his university experience, picking and choosing the classes and extra-curricular activities that he feels are most important to his development as a student and an adult.
I think Asif has the right idea. Why race through university only to slam into the real world, a place we have to spend the rest of our lives in?
10 things that you didn’t need to know about Asif Bacchus
Biggest pet peeve: “I get angry about many things… but dumb people bother me and really bubbly girls.”
Favourite movie: Passenger 57
If Asif was stranded on a desert island and could only bring three things he would bring:
a. “A five inch dildo to remind myself of how inadequate I am.”
b. “A boat, obviously….With a dildo and a boat you could entertain yourself for hours.”
c. “A Texas mickey of Crown Royal, or a keg of Old English. It just fits with the desert theme.”
Asif has accumulated 22 credits in his time here. By the time he is finished he will have accumulated nearly 30. Keep in mind that you only need 15 credits to graduate with a general degree and you only need 20 credits to graduate with an honours degree.
Have you ever enjoyed a few moments of fresh air on the balcony at the Turret? No? Oh right, we aren’t allowed on the balcony at the Turret anymore. Probably because some people (like Asif) think it is a great idea to try and jump off the balcony while drinking.
Favourite new invention: The spray-on condom.
Favourite professor: “Ironically I don’t remember his name.…He was so great … and I just took the class this summer.”
Favourite spot on campus: Wilf’s
Favourite bar in Waterloo: Failte
Favourite drink: Crown Royal with three to five ice cubes, a splash of water and a twist of lime, no straw.
Asif’s general observations about Laurier
“The general population has gotten noticeably younger.”
“I joke about Laurier being my Barbie school. It is striking, by and large, that every girl on this campus takes the time to take care of themselves; it’s nice to see people preparing for class.”
“Students now are more academically focused, more concerned with going to class.”
“[There is] more genuine wonder and amazement on campus…. I think this is because people have so many of their firsts on campus. First night drinking, first night having worry-free sex.…An open-minded innocence is present on campus.”
“The physical campus has changed a lot since I got here, King Street Residence, St. Mike’s, Northdale, Waterloo College Hall… I won’t even mention the renovations.”
Asif in five words or less
“Stupid brown man” – Asif describing himself
“Unique, charismatic, headstrong, passionate” – Dimitiri Dimopoulos
“Wonderful lover” – Anonymous
“Gandolf the Brown” – Alex Hayter
“Criminally insane and drunk” – Bryn Ossington
“Disappears in the dark” – Greg Sacks
Top three ridiculous Asif stories
Breaking into his old residence after moving out
Asif, after his “second first year” at Laurier, broke into his old Laurier Place residence to watch some TV.
“I hadn’t lived there in close to a year,” he explains. “And yes, I was very drunk. For some reason I thought that I lived there. I went to the back door completely out of habit, sat down in the living room and started watching TV.”
Imagine the surprise of the four first-years that actually lived there. In an attempt to defend themselves against the strange man sitting in their living room, the residents grabbed the most dangerous objects they could find.
“Four girls were living there and they came downstairs. One had a hair curler, one had a roll of toilet paper, one had a textbook,” Asif manages to relate, in between fits of laughter. “In the end they let me stay to watch the rest of the show.”
Old man from Failte
Asif was once followed home from Failte by a very unusual older man.
“[Failte] is wonderful for meeting incredible, random people, like the man that followed me up to my apartment,” Asif explains. “Apparently he was a descendant of the Knights Templar… and said he had just sold two castles. We bonded on our mutual hatred of vampires, and then he told me ‘the third commandment doesn’t apply to me.’”
For those of you who don’t know, the third commandment is: “You shall not take the name of The Lord your God in vain; for The Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”
Katie, his eight-year-old daughter
You may or may not have heard that Asif Bacchus has a daughter named Katie. You may also have heard that his daughter lives in Calgary, was born on March 32, has blonde hair, blue eyes and her mother was a stripper.
Well, I am certainly in no position to say if Katie exists, but I have a hunch that she is real enough. Asif did seem very attached to her.
She certainly comes in handy whenever Asif is approached by middle-aged women looking for a good time. No woman in her right mind would deprive an eight-year-old child the care of her father. I have a feeling Asif is very aware of this fact.
I can hear him now: “Sorry ladies, I’d love to, but Katie is waiting for her daddy.”