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How Sophing Changed My Western Experience

During O-Week 2016, I was terrified of my sophs. With paint on their faces, sunglasses on 24/7, and bandanas holding their sweaty hair back, they looked absolutely wild. Honestly, I was petrified of them. As an out-of-province first year who moved away from home, I had no idea what was going on. It didn’t help that I wasn’t allowed to know my sophs’ real names, only the absurd names on their uniforms. I kept asking myself, “What is a soph, and will they be my friend?”

Looking back now, I laugh at my first O-Week. Not only did my sophs become my best friends, but they inspired me to become one myself. They influenced my life in ways I cannot even fathom.

Before O-Week 2017, I was nervous about being a soph. I loved the idea of it, and I had the right attitude, but the reality of being a mentor for 30 students set in, and it hit me hard. I was nervous that they’d think I’m too weird, or think that I’m lame, but I felt so much better when I realized that my soph felt the same way when I was in first year. Everyone gets nervous and everyone handles it differently. I channeled my feelings towards pumping my first years up and making my floor the best and most comfortable space anyone could live in.

O-Week 2017 was the craziest, most unexpected and shocking time of my life, and I loved it. Being on UC Hill with all the residence, faculty and affiliate teams really showed how much students love Western. Dancing with my team, singing along with the other teams, and, most of all, cheering for my residence made my week. I loved the fact that I was able to show how much I love my residence by putting on my uniform everyday, wearing my residence swag, braiding everyone’s hair (so we all matched), and allowing myself to be the weirdest, most obnoxious soph. Sophing is all about showing your pride, and even though everyone has their own respective team, we all have the same goal: make the first year experience memorable. Every team has something special, and when we pass it onto our first years, we all glow.

One of the most memorable experiences I have was meeting my first years. Even though we’re all different and come from different backgrounds, I instantly clicked with them. Only one week after O-Week, and I can’t wait to continue making memories with them, in addition to the memories I already have.

In all honesty, I wasn’t crazy about O-Week or residence life in first year but, through, sophing I have adopted a passion for both of them. The pride I have for my residence is unreal and I hope that my first years can embrace a similar mindset.

If I compare my experiences, both as a soph and as a frosh, I truly believe that residence, O-Week and university in general is better as a soph. The positivity and excitement that radiates through the team creates an atmosphere that makes every moment even better. Being part of a team that is so enthusiastic about one common goal is so important. O-Week and residence life is hectic, but with the support of my soph team, it’s engaging, and more enjoyable.

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