How to Deal with the Chaotic Aftermath of O-WeekOctober 10, 2018

You're an incoming freshman, and you have four long months to prepare for the term. But it's not as long as you think. You've heard about O-Week, where pub crawling and excessive drinking would be a common sight in the city centre (if you happen to be admitted to one of the most prestigious universities in Oz). And then there are worse cases. Are you ready for it?

There have been reports these last few years, revealing shocking details about the toxic culture that would leave some freshmen more than battered and scarred. Someone would be left in the Tasman rainforest sans the clothing. The poor freshman must not only withstand the colder air. A small group of freshmen would be thrown into a dark room, only coming out once. And sordid details on hazing shouldn't come as a shock at all. It would be going on for years, if not decades. You could pass up the happenings, as you make a quick adjustment to early adulthood. It may not be memorable (like the other freshmen), but you have a few years to make the most of your time in the university. The current zeitgeist should give you some encouragement.

The only way to put a stop to this tomfoolery is to avoid this O-Week at all cost. It may not be good advice, as you don't want to miss on the golden opportunity of having new mates after a week of revelry. Moreover, it should be hard to resist peer pressure. You might not mind embarrassing images of yourself appearing in social media, which some celebrities have done it (and look at it as a red badge of courage). Ask yourself if the hangover would be worth it, though. (If you happen to be a student of the English Department, then you must have look through the syllabus. You should have started on your reading. If you're pursuing a double degree, then you must have read a few books.) There would be something else.

The aftermath of O-Week would see streets filled with empty bottles, pizza bags, and fliers. A lot of waste, don't you think? There must be a campaign prior to the event, which should make freshmen more aware of their responsibility to Mother Nature. Alas, all would be forgotten when one is home away from home. And personal freedom is achieved after consuming alcohol (or so one think).

It's Time to be a Grown Up

Make the adjustment as soon as possible. There would be bumps when you adjust to your new life at the university. You would be excited about your momentary independence, but you must deal with the unfamiliar conditions. You won't get the vibes, which makes you a homebody. You don't see familiar faces. Yet. And you struggle with homesickness and loneliness. You won't be able to sulk in it, though. You have to check your courses, if not ask your tutor of what to expect during your first year. This should give you an idea of what books to read. (Don't wait for winter.) It might help if you bring a few things, which should turn your room (or side of your room) into a mirror image of your room back home. Framed photos, posters, and books should keep you company.

Acquaint with the right people. You must not act aloof to your fellow freshmen (or older students for that matter), but you would get to know them. Eventually. You must have corresponded with your tutor on a number of occasions, such that you look forward to meet this important figure. And you don't have to postpone it. This meeting leads to another one, where you get to know the people to count on. The secretary of the department, where you are admitted. The librarian. The person in charge of affairs in your flat. You may get to know your flatmate, and it won't be right to be picky about the people (to share the flat with). An open mind is a must.

Volunteer for a cleanup. There would be a group of students in the university, who prefer a tidy surrounding. This means a clean up after O-Week, and it would be a challenging task. You don't have to worry about it, as this is a group effort. As a matter of fact, you would make new mates (at the end of the day). You should have a good feeling about it, as you're about to hook up with the right people. You don't have to be preachy about this activity, not even be righteous about it. You should have your own follies, which may be different from the other students.

If You Can't Beat It

You would be allowed to indulge in one night of fun, as O-Week is like a welcome party for freshmen. But be careful of whom you deal with. Stay away from those who want to subject you to humiliating tasks. (Fraternities and sororities aren't the only ones where you can find new friends.) And one bottle of beer would be enough.

A final note on the loud music, which is one way of luring freshmen to a particular club. It might be bemusing to some students, irritating to others. You may need a headset (and listen to your playlist).

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