O-Week: make it unforgettable, not a blackout

With the first week of September comes the epitome of every first year student’s life at Laurier Brantford: Orientation Week. If you are shy, scared, nervous, excited, or even a mixture of all these emotions, the Students’ Union at Laurier Brantford has been working tirelessly to welcome new students (like you) to campus life.

You may not know what to expect from Orientation Week when you arrive, but Lauren Silvestro, Clubs and Activities with WLUSU, has broken it down to expose the benefits you will receive from the busy week ahead of you.

Artwork by: Carla Egesi

Opportunities to learn about how to get involved on campus are offered as well as a whole day devoted to mock lectures. However, Silvestro explains, this year’s mock lectures are much more refined in that they correlate to the students’ individual program. After the lecture, an upper year student from the program will answer questions about textbooks, course loads, and the program itself.

School pride will be celebrated in purple and gold at this year’s Orientation Week when the Wilfrid Laurier University Men’s Varsity Baseball team take on the Ontario Blue Jays.

Another goal of Orientation Week this year is to inform students about the services offered to them which exist because students pay for them in their tuition, such as counseling services. This session is devoted to encouraging students to take advantage of the many services offered to them on campus.

Laurier Brantford hopes to raise a grant total of $12,000 for the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Canada through the popular Shinerama car wash stationed around Brantford. Traditional Orientation Week activities are also on the schedule, such as a day at the Earl Haig Fun Park, where students can relax on the lazy river and play a game of beach volleyball.

A concert night is guaranteed to be a night to let loose and enjoy some great talent, with past performances including IllScarlett and Marianas Trench.

A race around the city of Brantford to achieve certain activities was the favourite activity of Laurier Brantford student Nick Porretta, who participated in Orientation Week in 2008. “I found O-Week really got me out of my shell and made me more outgoing,” said Porretta. “All of your teammates end up like family. He also reminisced of an exciting baseball game he attended in which he got to truly unleash his inner school spirit and become more sociable with his fellow students.

A glow party, where students can party in hand decorated black t-shirts, offers a chance for students to connect while in a fun, loud, adrenaline pumping environment. Orientation Week is not just all about fun activities to get you ready for class, however. It is a basis in which you are prepped to deal with the rest of your university life – without even knowing it!

“I loved how people knocked on my res[idence] door just to introduce themselves. Everyone was so eager to meet people!” said Laurier Brantford student Karly Rath, who attended her Orientation Week last year.

Rath also enjoyed the practical knowledge that was handed out during the week. “I’m so glad I learned about the city of Brantford,” she said. “One activity taught me the bus routes and that pretty much saved my life!”

No matter your interest when you arrive here – be it human rights or improv or art – Laurier Brantford has room for you. Orientation Week offers a unique setting to learn about the wide array of clubs operating on campus and also gives you a chance to meet the club presidents.

Do like writing? Become a part of the Sputnik. (hint, hint.) Do you like talking and sharing your verbal opinion? Try out for Radio Laurier and have it heard. Do you like studying psychology? Attend the Psychology Society’s meetings and join in on the conversation. The list of student clubs to join here at Laurier is endless. Do you have an idea for a new one? Then create it!

Silvestro hopes to see students getting involved on campus in September after attending Orientation Week. Laurier Brantford will be your home for the next four or so years and the Orientation Team are striving to make Laurier Brantford feel like home the best they can.

“[The team] gives up weekends throughout the summer to be trained and their last week of summer to wake up before 7 every morning and not see their bed until well after midnight” said Silvestro. “Meanwhile, they are doing it with big smiles on their faces and constant enthusiasm. They take the role of a volunteer above and beyond. They are amazing.”

The team behind Orientation Week here at Laurier Brantford has evidently been working hard to provide a unique experience for new students to blend into university life as effortlessly as possible.

Many friendships will be forged during this week and many interests will be discovered. Try as many different clubs as you’d like – it is a great experience and it gives you a well-rounded view of university along the way!

The people assigned to your Orientation Week team will also play a big role in your next few years at Laurier Brantford.

“All of your teammates end up like family,” said Porretta. “The people I lived with for my university career were on my O-Week team.”

Even students who are not living in residence are encouraged to attend the week of activities. “If I didn’t go, I probably would not have gotten to know as many amazing people as I did,” said Porretta.

The most important factor to remember during Orientation Week is to be yourself and let others discover your unique interests. The energy of Orientation Week will keep you going throughout your university career and the experience will inspire confidence that you may have lost along the way.

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