O-Week is just the start
Orientation will be fun, colourful and at times confusing, (Why am I constantly cheering?!) but despite what your icebreakers and the rest of the orientation team say, O-Week is not going to affect the rest of your university life.
Although Orientation Week intends to prepare students academically, socially and culturally for the years to come, it’s important to remember that it is just one week in a four-year long expedition.
Completing my own Orientation Week three years ago, I can clearly remember icebreakers reminiscing about the significance of their first week.
“I met my future roommates” or “at the on-campus party, I met my boyfriend.”
Orientation Week is fun because it provides you with a week in your new environment to explore and socialize. But putting pressure around the idea that you’ll meet most of your best friends in university during Orientation Week is a limited idea.
Throughout your university career, you have the opportunity to meet new people through classes, parties and extra-curricular activities. Extra-curricular activities in particular offer an opportunity to bond with people of similar interests. By joining Laurier sports teams, Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU), Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publications (WLUSP) or other organizations, you make important connections for your time at Laurier as well as after for entering the working world.
Because O-Week activities confine first-years to socialize mainly with people living on their floor, friendships made in residence during Orientation Week can be formed out of convenience as opposed to a deeper connection.
During first year, when you may be struggling with homesickness for the first time or sincerely doubting if Laurier is the right place for you, it’s important to surround yourself with people that you trust and friendships formed out of convenience may not make the cut.
During O-Week the Get-Involved Fair helps first-years learn the names and ideals of campus clubs and organizations, but you are likely to learn more about Greek life, Radio Laurier or Foot Patrol by talking to your floor-mates and upper year students about their personal experiences with these organizations.
Campus clubs like the Ecohawks or AccessU appeal to young activists, but only a full school year at Laurier can show you if they are progressive and actually demonstrate the message they advertise at the Get-Involved Fair.
While events like the cheer-off do provide a sample of Laurier school spirit, it’s magnified to a fanatical degree. Icebreakers are not expected to constantly be in “I love Laurier”-mode after O-Week and neither are you. There will be moments in your four (or more) years here when you will sincerely feel like you hate this university.
Although this freak-ish embrace will return for Homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day, the love does not usually hold strong throughout midterms, ridiculous budget cuts of your program or when the WLU Bookstore fucks you over again and again. Academic sessions are intended to be the part of Orientation Week to prepare students for upcoming the classes — the reason you attend Laurier in the first place.
Unfortunately, I honestly can’t remember if I attended the academic sessions during my own O-Week.
It was one of the few activities that Icebreakers told students to skip if we needed an extra hour to nap or unpack. Whether these sessions are mandatory or not, you will be put at an academic disadvantage by missing them.
There are several other resources for school advice on campus from the teaching assistants of your classes to the writing centre and even the residence Dons.
Orientation Week is just like a tour-day at any university — fun, but doesn’t give you the full picture of the school.
So despite the importance that is placed on attending every activity, it is important to remember that although O-Week may be your first chance to meet people, gain academic tips or get involved, it is certainly not your last.