The evolution of Laurier O-Week

There are considerable differences in the Orientation Week experience as you journey through your years at
Laurier. O-Week tends to be one of the best times of the year, regardless of what year you’re about to embark
on. When else is everyone free to indulge in life’s simpler pleasures (like keg stands and body paint)? More
importantly, when else can we enjoy these pleasures free from the guilt-tripping readings and assignments
So grab a beer – maybe a redbull or two – and enjoy. Features Editor Shannon Busta reports

First year: The “do we have to?” “Yes you do” year

You made it. You deserve a pat on the
back for figuring out all that paperwork
and those confusing online systems.
You somehow managed to survive
the several trips to Ikea and the endless
advice from your family. Now you probably
want to enjoy your new residence room and
relax for a bit.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to, not for
a while anyways.

The higher-ups at Laurier are under the
impression that you came to university to
meet people, be high on energy and develope
an unbreakable, life-long bond with the
Hawk. So with that in mind, they put together
this little thing called Orientation Week, just
for you. Think of it as the first step in becoming
a dedicated future alumni.

Oh you lucky freshmen.

This high-energy, event and informationrich
week is specifically designed to force you
into Laurier culture. So they give you your
welcome package filled with an assortment
of useful (and less-than useful) things, assign
you a team colour and send you on your way.

One of the lovely items given to you will be
your freshmen identification – the infamous
O-Week T-shirt. This way everyone far and
near will know you are new to campus. So
kind of the university, isn’t it?

These T-shirts are also designed to eliminate
bashfulness and encourage a feeling of
unity so you will have zero issues playing
icebreaking games till you break, or cheering
until you’re blue in the face.

It might be hard to believe, but nine times
out of 10, those ridiculous T-shirts, with the
help of your passionate and high-spirited Icebreakers,
do the trick.

For reasons that have yet to be discovered,
the wearing of the O-week T-shirt inspires
bold and unusual behavior.

The O-Week mission statement reads,
“Orientation Week provides the foundation
where Laurier pride is born.” At least they give
you a heads-up.

By the end of the week you’ll actually be
enjoying that incessant cheering, the face
paint and the “everyone wins” games.

I bet you end up loving O-Week, and Laurier,
so much that you won’t even mind making
the very common mistake of hitting up the
Laurier Bookstore at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday.

Unless you read this aricle of course. Otherwise
you’ll be waiting for two hours in the
overheated lineup to get your books. But it’s
all part of the O-Week experience, so enjoy it
while you can.

It’s easier if you just view it all as a necessary
part of becoming a Hawk. Once you’ve
participated in the high-energy, spirit-raising,
friend-making week, you can finally enjoy
the comparatively calm and somewhat
drab nature of life on campus.

You will be missing O-Week even before it
ends.

Second year: The “we’re gonna rock this town” year

Congratulations. You’ve made it through
the trials and tribulations of your first
year. It’s now been 12 months since you
were coaxed into shedding some of your
personal pride in exchange for pride of the school
variety.

We all know you’ve gained enough knowledge
over the last 12 months to get the most out of the
valuable pre-class, pre-readings, pre-snow days on
campus. Now you are ready and willing to go the
distance for O-Week, whatever that means. I guess
you’ll know on Sunday, when the week is over.

I mean, yes, in many ways you are a wise and
experienced O-weeker, crammed with experience
and know-how and it is important that people recognize
this. That being said, you are also new to the
world of the off-campus O-Week. Meaning, this
week is going to be filled with firsts.

At the very least, you’re loaded with excitement
and ready to show this town, and anyone else who
will bear witness, exactly what you’re made of. Regardless
of your experience level.

So you bust out the collection of home-made
funnels and drinking hats, throw on your subtle
amounts of purple and gold (we don’t want to look
too silly now, do we?) and get mentally prepped for
the best week of the fall semester.

Did I forget to mention you’re probably going
to be up at the crack of dawn at least once during
the week to set up for your first pancake kegger in
your brand new, 50-year-old, off-campus housing
paradise?

Sure, it might look a little rough to the untrained
eye, but to you, with your unwavering loyalty to the
university lifestyle, it’s perfect. Who wouldn’t want
to live in a house that looks identical before and after
having a kegger?

After eight months in residence, it’s time to welcome
in the school year by throwing your decaying
house a don-free party, all the while making a few
dollars on the side. And what could possibly be the
point of limiting your guests access to your house?

It’s not a house warming pancake kegger if no
one can get inside your beautiful new shack. Err, I
mean, house. So you let them in, and let them have
their way with the place. Probably not an issue
since the damages caused might even add value to
the house.

Of course you cannot be blamed for the lack of
experience you have with Waterloo’s over-eager, all
too friendly by-law enforcement officers who make
regular house calls during O-Week, just to make
sure you’re settling in alright.

So what if you get ticketed for a noise violation
or three? You can always eat Mr. Noodles for the
rest of September, right? Besides, there is a very
good chance that you will make enough money at
your pancake kegger to pay off those silly tickets.

Your second encounter with O-Week is best
looked upon as a learning experience. And after
all, we are here to learn and become well rounded
adults, right? O-Week is just a necessary step on
the road to adulthood that conveniently doubles as
the best party time of the year.

Third year: The “I know how to do this right” year

You made it to your third O-Week. Starting
to feel like a Laurier veteran yet? You
probably should. You understand many of
the subtle intricacies needed to survive OWeek
unscathed. This knowledge is valuable and
should not be under-appreciated.

One problem you might not let on about is that
you don’t see yourself enjoying by-law drop-ins
as much as you seemed to last year. That’s okay,
there’s no shame in playing it safe. It is always nice
to have grocery money for the month of September.

Remember, second year students are always
around and happy to provide the sacrificial party
houses each year. You learned your lesson; you
gave back to the community, now it’s their turn.

Just listen for the traditional “chug, chug, chug”
and the classic “O-LAY, O-LAY, O-LAY, O-LAY
” and make your way over for a morning, afternoon
or evening of stress-free O-Week partying at
someone else’s house.

Another area of expertise: you now have the OWeek
bar scene down to an art. And this is a greatskill
to have under your belt this early in the game.
For instance: you know to hit up Phil’s at 9:30 p.m.
to get your stamp and then head back at 11:30 p.m.
to skip the line after a serious pre-drink. Saving
money and maximizing drinking time? I challenge
you to find a better example of your education
working for you in the real world.

As an older student, you also remember how
much better the week was when MacDonnell’s still
existed, and remember what it was like to meet
friends for life in that lineup. Food is food, but
that lineup was a destination, and Pizza Pizza just
doesn’t offer the same experience.

In addition to your bar-hopping skills, you’ve
also come to understand the importance of the afternoon
recovery nap.

Returning to classes last year was not a pleasant
experience. An entire week of purple and gold, keg
beer and sleepless nights followed by pancakes and
all-day drink-a-thons tend to make the first Monday
back less than enjoyable.

Now you know just how important the seemingly
insignificant midday nap habit is.

Remember: giving yourself an hour to recoup
each day does not make you any less of an OWeeker!
Smart partying is just as admirable as
partying of the other variety.

Your experience has taught you that the nap will
leave you miles ahead of the pack the first week
back.

You’ll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, your attentiveness
will win over your professors and you
will be in and out of the bookstore in good time because
you won’t need to sleep in until noon.

Most importantly, you will still be able to enjoy
the second Wednesday back at Phil’s. And as
your experience will tell you, this is not a night to
be missed.

Isn’t life experience a grand thing?

Fourth year: The “lets do this one last time” year

If you felt like a veteran last year, you must
feel like a super-veteran this year. That’s
right, a super-verteran.

Now you’re looking for some serious
recognition for the time you’ve put into making
Laurier’s last three O-Weeks memorable
for all those involved. After all, you are a
Hawk through and through now; you know
what it means to bleed purple and gold and it
is about time everyone realized it.

Plus, given some of the stunts that you’ve
likely pulled over the last few years, you probably
know what it’s like to bleed more than
just purple and gold for the sake of making OWeek
memorable.

So you put some extra time into planning
your week of debauchery. You bought extra
amounts of purple and gold body paint, you
hit Value Village weeks in advance to make
sure you clear the racks of the most outrageous
clothing and accessories available and
you stock up on energy drinks, sunscreen,
water, vitamins, keg beer, beer cups and anything
else that might add balance to one of
your last true weeks of university party chaos.

Thats’s right, balance. Balance makes for a
much safer and pleasant week of insanity, and
you are not ashamed to admit this. You know
what you’re doing.

You’re also probably in the book store before
O-Week even starts so you can get some
reading done ahead of time. Because well,
lets face it, this is your last O-Week: not even
a mid-afternoon siesta could make the first
week back to classes a pleasant experience.

Preparation now will help make up for the
ridiculous and unavoidable amounts of procrastination
that lie ahead of you.

In the end, the last O-Week is about slightly
more than the partying, the bright colours
and the rowdy socializing. It is the commemoration
of your success as both a student and
a Hawk.

You earned this week, and fourth year is no
walk in the park, so you might as well get it
all out of your system now. Enjoy it, and don’t
take any shit from by-law officers. Don’t they
know you’re a senior?

And for all of you “super seniors” out there
– we’re talking you victory lappers, you fifth,
sixth and seventh year O-Week demi-gods,
(no, we have not forgotten about you).

Frankly, your accomplishments are simply
too grand to cover in one measly feature article.
Besides, few could possibly understand
the scope of your O-Week experience, knowledge
or understanding. So to you, we simply
tip our hats and hope to catch a sighting or an
infamous keg stand in the week to come.

Cheers Laurier.

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