O-week: how short is too short?
Wednesday, September 3, 20085 Comments
But how can that be fulfilled to it’s complete potential when what used to be eight days of fun-filled froshy play time is shortened to five? In my opinion, Sunday was the perfect day of the week for move-in. It gave students that last weekend to chill with friends, use their own bathrooms and kiss their moms and goldfish goodbye before heading to the G-spot (Guelph that is). The rest of the week could then be spent meeting roommates, other friends and RA’s, touring campus, exploring all on campus food locations and most importantly, getting the initial ‘I’m in University and I need to Party like it’s 1999!’ out of their systems. Don’t get me wrong, I realise that it’s going to take more than a week for students to get partied out (if that ever really does happen) and become entirely comfortable within their surroundings. I just think that such a huge transition away from home requires more than just five days, not to mention all of the time and energy involved in preparing for your first
classes in University.
That being said, I was surprised by the great turn out at the Pep Rally last Sunday. Initially, I was concerned because I thought that students would be less inclined to go once they had made a few friends and, quite frankly, realised that they had a choice. However, the stands were full and the boogies were as enthusiastic as ever which I’m sure was a relief to many people, especially the O-week team. Good job guys!
Regardless, five years as an Undergrad at the University and two years on Residence Life Staff has shown me that those first eight days are crucial to a new student. At least I know they were for me. I can’t help but feel like I would have been very overwhelmed with the whole experience had I only been given five days between move-in and the start of classes. It was nice to be able to process what was going on and settle in before I had to apply myself academically. In fact, I found in a lot of cases that eight days didn’t even seem like enough for many of my peers. Lots of first year students, myself included, struggled to find a balance between their social and academic lives. As many of us know, this is something that continues to be difficult throughout the rest of University and at that point we’ve already had several years to figure out our so called ‘systems’ of organization.
All in all, from what I could tell O-week went splendidly. It’s probably true that no matter how much time first year students have in residence before classes begin it will never be quite enough to prepare them for their academic careers. I just can’t help but feel that they should have a week at least to relieve some stress and settle into an environment. Perhaps it would make life a little easier for individuals working and living within the residences as well (all of you R.A.s and Interhall members know who you are)! If students have more time to adjust it could mean fewer conflicts once classes begin and these student leaders become less frequently available. It would also give R.As and Interhall council members more time to build relationships with first year students before their schoolwork got in the way.
In the end, I suppose it is and will always be just a matter of difference and opinion. What is a long transition period for one person may not even begin to fulfill another person’s needs. However, Orientation week is, in my opinion, one of the most actively involved and educational times of the year at the University. It requires a very diverse and enthusiastic group of volunteers to come together with one main commonality, their University of Guelph spirit. So, what do you say? Let’s embrace O-week by making sure that it is, indeed, an entire week long.