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Welcome Back Golden Hawks! An Ode to A Fresh University Experience

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

It’s Monday morning and you’re walking down University Ave to the 8:30 a.m. class you already regret taking, the mediocre September weather casts a warm light on your face and darker clouds threaten rain in the distance. As you continue walking toward campus, smelling a mixture of the city bus and the crisp morning air, you notice the sidewalks are much busier than last semester. Maybe you’re annoyed – there are too many slow walkers and large clusters of students taking up all the room. Maybe you’re excited – seeing so many people venturing to campus is a sign that life has begun to return to normal. Whichever you decide, your thoughts are intruded, upon as the bustle of stop-and-go traffic nearly sideswipes a student at the Hazel Street crosswalk. You forgot how terrible Waterloo traffic is.

When you safely cross to the other side, you arrive at the front entrance of Wilfrid Laurier University, where a conveniently placed fence blocks your access to the main quad and concourse building. You realize you will have to reroute your way to class and maybe cut through the pathway near the Athletic Complex or head over to the Arts Building entrances. You decide to walk to the Art Building Entrance, as it connects to the Concourse Building – the heart of campus.

On your way, you look across the street at Lazaridis Hall. You see students heading off to a lecture in the brand-new, comfy theatres. The faint aroma of coffee wafts through the air, as students grab their morning coffee and breakfast at BYTE 75 Coffee and Social. You finally reach the sidewalk leading up to the entrance. You stride onwards, and just as you’re about to grab the door, out walks someone you know – a friend you knew from high school, a former roommate, an acquaintance from class or a teammate from intramurals – whoever it is, you stop and chat: “How was your summer?”, “What classes are you taking?”, “I have to get to class, I’ll see you later!” As you turn away, you smile to yourself. You think it’s actually really nice to see people in person. It’s been difficult over the last couple of years to meet people and make connections over online Zoom classes.

When you come to the Concourse, you swing open the door and step inside. The Hub is already packed with students, and the energy of the room is lively and thrilling, (minus the few BBA students who already look drained and dead inside). You see students studying at the tables and high tops or chatting with friends as they walk to class. You run into another person you know, or you hear someone call your name. You see Starbucks, the place that seemingly takes all of your One Card money, and the lineup is longer than usual. It looks like it could be a solid 15-to-30-minute wait, so you decide to skip Starbucks and will yourself actually get to class on time.

Just as you head up the stairs to the main Concourse area, you see the jewelry stands. You realize that you’re not going to get to class on time, as the shiny two-for-six-dollar rings lure you in. You remember Laurier always has something going on in the Concourse, whether it’s jewelry, posters, records, free coffee, live music or club fairs – there’s always something to stop and look at!

After browsing the jewelry, you head to class. Maybe your first class is in the Dr. Alvin Woods Building with its tiny classrooms and even tinier desks and chairs or the Peters Building lecture halls and you pass the pretty skylights and cozy study spaces. Maybe you have to cross campus to Bricker Academic Building, and you see that the Subway and Tim Hortons are now open this year or you’re off to a tutorial in the Martin Luthor building, with its large windows and sunny views. Maybe you have class in the best building on campus – the Science Building, the skylight and trees make it a peaceful place to be.

When class is done, you spend some time wandering around campus. Back in the Concourse, you pass Laurier’s bookstore. You see rows of purple, gold and white spirit wear, branded with “Wilfrid Laurier University” or “Golden Hawks,” as well as the assortment of accessories for this year’s Homecoming.

Going past the bookstore, you walk past Wilf’s, the campus bar, and see that it’s finally open for indoor dining. Although takeout from Wilf’s always comes in clutch, whether to save you from a terrible hangover, or a night where you’re too lazy to cook, you look forward to dining inside, grabbing a pint with friends after a later class or participating in Wilf’s trivia night.

Walking down the stairs of the Fred Nichols building, you pass the Terrace Food Court and smell burgers grilling at Harvey’s or a Quesadilla cooking on the panini press at Union Market. Once outside the quad, you see students at the wooden tables, surrounded by beautiful flowers and pesky wasps. You continue to look around and see Veritas Cafe is open, known for its delicious sandwiches and cheap drinks. First-year students are hustling to get in line inside the cafeteria. Beside the cafeteria is Laurier’s music building, where it’s been announced Laurier Musical Theater (LMT) will be performing High School Musical this semester.

Heading away from the quad, you see the Athletic Complex, busy at all times as per usual with students working out and using the open gym or swimming pool. You think it is also exciting that they’re able to have more leagues, intramurals and games offered this year due to fewer COVID-19 restrictions.

As you continue throughout your day on campus, you begin to think about how different this school year will be with everything being open. It’s as if the pandemic had not existed. You anticipate all of the fun events you will participate in, the variety of places to study and the friends you will reconnect with or meet.

You see a sign, “Welcome back Golden Hawks!” painted in bright gold and purple. For the first time in nearly three years, you feel like you will have the complete university experience and an extra zest for university life. Laurier’s campus is fully open and it’s time for a fresh start!

Ashley Barry

Wilfrid Laurier '25

Hey hey! I'm a first-year student at Laurier, working towards my BA in English. I'm an avid reader, wine consumer and vinyl record collector. I also enjoy long strolls through the bookstore — always at the expense of my bank account — and attempting to make Pinterest-worthy lattes with my espresso machine. I'm a passionate leader and writer and am ecstatic to be part of Her Campus!