Freshers then, Frosh now

Okay. So. Remember in my last post when I was working the older-wiser-experienced-second year student vibe?

Let’s forget about that for a minute. Today was day 2 of Frosh and let me tell you, I was not prepared for the singing, dancing, cheering, twerking avalanche of energy that exploded around me upon my arrival yesterday.

I’ve found in my last couple of years as a blogger that my favourite blogs have, for want of a better word, a “thing”. For some, they’re funny. Some are empowering, some are eloquent, some have exciting real-life storylines. Mine is honesty. My followers have always responded best to my posts when they are unashamedly raw and honest. So here it is: I found the first day of frosh overwhelming. I’m a fairly relaxed and calm person by nature, and my health issues mean that more often than not I’m in a lot of pain and it takes hardly anything to exhaust me. While the D-frosh did an incredible job bringing an electrifying energy to the table and it was a lovely day, I left feeling worried that I may have made a terrible mistake by transferring. Am I too old? Am I too boring? Will I fit into such an enthusastic and energetic community?  There’s no way I could be as happy and carefree as these people, is there?

Guess what, folks? Today was a great day! Culture shock is horrible at first, but there is nothing to fear from the unfamiliar. And culture shock is exactly what I experienced yesterday.

Firstly, Frosh is a dry event: no booze, no drugs. Since a lot of the first years are fresh out of high school and underage, and not every does or can drink (myself included: three serious kidney infections in less than six months means alcohol= very bad idea). A lot of people were shocked and disappointed about this, but honestly it’s such a great idea! Here’s a few reasons why:

  1. All-inclusive. Everyone can get involved! This means that everyone has equal involvement.
  2. Less awkward. Yes, alcohol lowers inhibitions- but it also can make you do some pretty unforgettable things. Do you want to be remembered as the kid that stole a pineapple, or the one who passed out, key in hand, literal inches away from their front door dressed as Hercules? That is, if people can remember you at all. Surely it’s less awkward to go up to someone you met in the cafeteria than it is the cute guy/girl that saw you spewing your guts into the gutter.
  3. There’s plenty of time to drink throughout the year! There will be uni pub nights and tons of events- but starting your university career with a monster hangover isn’t ideal.

The beauty in living off campus is that you have no obligation to stay with the same group of people for the whole week. You have the freedom to be a social butterfly and drift in and out of groups, making connections with the people you vibe with and drifting away from the ones you don’t. If you live in res you don’t really have that obligation either, but I think a lot of people, myself included, feel that bonding with your neighbours is paramount during Frosh- regardless whether you click with them or not.

Being organised into teams and having groups of D-frosh around to show you the ropes, teach you the cheers and pass the baton of being a froshie really helps you feel like you’re part of Glendon. It’s fantastic that at every corner, there seems to be a friendly face. In just two days, I’m struck by how proactive the pastoral care at Glendon is. Most universities have amazing support for their students, but at Glendon they come to you. For people like me who have a hard time admitting it when they could use some help, this is amazing.

Today was a lot calmer and had a bit more of an academic focus. Discover Glendon was really informative and somehow it managed to be a lot of fun, too. After meeting our mentors (mine is hilarious, realistic, genuinely wants to help and her eyeliner flicks were on point) we were talked through all the support systems and organisations on campus, met with some of the staff from each and struggled to keep cool as the lecture hall slowly turned into a sauna. At this point the group dispersed into their subject groups and listening to Phillipe Bourdin, I was reminded exactly why I love Linguistics. After a long Spring of illness and Summer of recovery, being back in the classroom was so exciting and held so much promise for this year.

And finally, I wandered over to the Breezeway to the Clubs fair. Last year I was too shy to join any societies by myself, and I refuse to make the same mistake twice. So now I have signed up for a wide selection of clubs and volunteering and I even have an audition for the choir! I was in four nationally-competing choirs simultaneously growing up and I took eight years of classical vocal training… but I haven’t sung competitively or publically in five years. I. Am. Terrified. But as much as the thought of an audition makes me want to hide under my bed, I miss it. So I’m going to feel the fear and do it anyway. *Squirms uncomfortably and contemplates moving to Newfoundland*

Glendon is a tiny campus, and with about 3000 students it’s a lot easier to recognise familiar faces- and all of them seem friendly. And not just the first years: already I’m on first name terms with a handful of D-frosh, which is ideal for me as I’ll be joining many of them in second year. The thing that strikes me the most is how ardently the D-frosh seem to love Glendon. Many of them describe it as Home, that they consider the students their family. Can this be real? Are they being paid to say this? So far, it seems way too good to be true.

So in closing, this is how I’m approaching Frosh. I’m listening to my body and leaving when I’m too tired/in too much pain to stay late. I’m smiling at people I make eye contact with, and starting conversations with them. I’m getting involved with everything that piques my interest. I’m keeping an open mind, and most of all, I’m utilising the beautiful tool of PMA. Positive Mental Attitude can literally change your life. Examples: I’m trying this new thing where I replace the word “jealous” with “happy/excited for you”, and it really illicits a different feeling both in myself and the person I’m speaking to. After the first day of frosh, stressed, exhausted and with aching kidneys, I was considering not coming back. Nope, you’re too old and too sore and too shy to enjoy this, I told myself. But you know what? I told myself that today was a new day. I went. I participated. And I enjoyed.

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