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Why O-Week Doesn’t Have to Be the Best Week of Your Life

I barely remember any of my o-week, and no, not because I was so wasted. I remember exactly three things: being woken up by my sophs smashing pots and pans together and thinking the apocalypse was upon us, eating grilled cheese sent from above from a food truck in the Ontario Hall parking lot, and penguin huddling with strangers during the One Love fireworks because it was so cold. That is literally all I remember.

In short, o-week is a gigantic blur. It’s a series of days where you run on maybe six hours of sleep, which is double what the sophs get, so they don’t even feel bad about the fact that you are tired. It’s your first week away from home, so you’re trying to figure out how to exist without parents telling you what to do, all while being bombarded with information and events and rules. It’s a week where there is so much happening that you barely have time to hear yourself think, and if you did happen to find a second to yourself, it’s probably because you skipped Shinerama (shame on you). Unless you are 105% extroverted, o-week is overwhelming at one point or another, and it’s okay to admit it to yourself.

O-week is meant to be whirling dervish. It comes as quickly as it goes, and it isn’t until it’s over that you get to process it. If you haven’t already, take a few seconds to think about your o-week. How was it? No really, how was your o-week?

Hands up if you felt the underlying pressure that o-week had to be the best week of your life (raises hand). Hands up if you felt let down by your o-week because you didn’t emerge from it a new and exciting version of yourself (raises hand).

O-week does not have to be the best week of your university life. I repeat: O-WEEK DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THE BEST WEEK OF YOUR LIFE.

Allow me to tell you why.

O-week is simply dipping your toe into the purple Western ocean. Yes, o-week is great for making friends, having fun and becoming acquainted with your home for the next four years, but it does not make or break your experience here. O-week almost moves too quickly for someone to fully experience it and to fully enjoy it.

So you haven’t made your lifelong best friend yet? Don’t bite your nails down to the cuticles! You still don’t know the name of every building on campus? That’s okay, neither does anyone else! You are just getting started. You have the next eight months to grow close to people you haven’t even met yet. You have the next eight months to learn things about yourself that you never even knew you needed to learn. You have the next eight months to dive into Western University and make it what you want it to be for yourself.  

Don’t forget, you have four chances at eight months. So take a breather, get a Spoke bagel, and open your textbooks. The next four years are yours for the taking, and we couldn’t be more excited to have you.

Gabriella is in her third year at Western U studying kinesiology and creative writing.
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