The 12 Realities of Homecoming


In the United States, homecoming is a spirited football game and an enchanted dance. But when you cross the border into Canada, that storybook idea of Homecoming fades. Homecoming in Canada is a chance for university students to flaunt their pride, and yell their school mottos from the rooftops. Alcohol is involved as you would expect. The day is for loving your fellow students, and praying you will have enough energy to go out at night when your friends try to get you out the door. Students wouldn’t want it any other way.


Still, being a fourth year student at Guelph means I have celebrated this day four times now. I have loved every single homecoming, where I’ve made memories and accumulated stories. But I’ve also learned lessons. More importantly I’ve learned what to expect, based on what will actually happens, not what you hope to happen. These are the realities of homecoming:


You will eat pancakes for breakfast, but they won’t be great.


You wake up homecoming morning. You may have slept past your alarm or you may just be moving slowly. Regardless, you have to get ready because time is a-ticking. But you can’t start your day on an empty stomach. Time to hit a pancake kegger! Just keep in mind they aren’t being made by professional chefs.


You will be charged for at least one party with an empty keg.


Going to a kegger can surely burn a hole in your pocket, but at least you’re assured alcohol will be provided. However, sometimes the universe has another plan. You pay your way in, make your way over to the keg, and then they tell you. “The keg is empty, sorry.” THE KEG IS EMPTY? Always ask at the door whether there’s beer left.


You will get in a disagreement with someone about how you will be getting to each party.


On HOCO most of the time parties will be in walkable distance so you can party hop. But still, some do require a ride otherwise you will be walking aimlessly all day. The question now is do you pay for an Uber or do you bus it? Somebody will be sensitive of the time constraints and want to Uber, while others will be more conscious of the financial position of nearly all your friends. The result will be a heated discussion about your mode of transportation until one person gives in.


You will lose friends throughout the day.


Your friend just got texted by the guy or girl he/she likes about the party they are at. Your friend suddenly decides they want to go to this party, despite the fact the rest of the pack already agreed they were going to another party. Your friend will put up a stink until they decide they are going alone. At least one person from your group will feel bad and will go with your friend. But will you see them again today? Who knows. Will you continue to lose members as the day goes on? Most definitely.


You want to go to that huge party, but it will be shut down.


You heard about it. Your friend heard about it. Your friend’s brother heard about it. Guess who else heard about it? The police. And guess what’s getting shut down? That huge party. Save yourself the trouble and don’t even try to go.


You will see at least one fight.


Where there is drinking, there is rowdiness. We have all run into the guys and girls who get too drunk and pick a fight with everyone. It may be because someone didn’t let them into a party, could be because someone looked at his/her partner the wrong way, or it might be because guess what, the keg is empty! Regardless, you will see at least one fight on homecoming. Stay out of the crossfire.


You will see one person get arrested or get a ticket.


Public intoxication, vandalism, assault, you name it. People under the influence do silly things, and when the police know there is going to be a bunch of them on homecoming, you can guarantee somebody is getting arrested, or at least a ticket. Hopefully it isn’t you.


You are not going to the football game.


In first year, you buy the ticket, and soon realize you don’t even understand football. By second year you know to spend money on your HOCO gear and not a ticket. But rest assured people will be updating you about the score of the game every ten minutes.


You are going to need a nap.

This one is absolutely huge. Nobody can walk around and go to multiple parties for twelve hours straight without a little rest in there. You are not superhuman, so go home, eat, and have a nap. That way you will enjoy your night a lot more.


You are not going to meet up with that friend you promised to see.


You have been talking to your friend all week. They want you to come to a party their friend is having. But once you’ve chosen your pack for the day, it is unlikely you are going to acquire new members or have the opportunity to see everyone you wanted to see. As stated before, you lose members, you do not gain. You may see some, but you are for sure not going cross paths with everyone. I suggest scheduling lunch with them later next week.


You are either going to show up at night overdressed or completely underdressed.


It is always a guessing game: what is everyone else going to be wearing? Everyone has been wearing the same outfit all day that has likely been dosed in sweat and alcohol. You, however, still want to sport your spirit. But when you get there, no one is dressed for homecoming anymore. That or the opposite is going to happen. You’ll assume everyone will be dressed normally, so you will follow suit. They won’t. Why do you hate your school so much?


You are not going to get a good picture if you did it right.


Taking a picture at big parties is always a struggle. Bad backgrounds, people walking through the shot, not to mention photo-bombers. If you’re having a great time you likely aren’t even thinking about a picture. That or they will all come out blurry or bad. Don’t worry, the funny ones may not be instagramable, but they will definitely be more memorable.