“Bang Bang Choo train
C’mon now just do your thang
Awoosh *clap clap clap clap* (move to the right)
Awoosh *clap clap clap clap* (move to the left)”
I remember being at Orientation 4 years ago repeating this cheer and many other cheers almost every hour. All the cheers came with little dance routines and it was really cool to see hundreds of students jumping around and showing their spirit. The Orientation Leaders were very enthusiastic and they wanted to see the first-year students just as excited about starting at their college.
I had heard many stories about Orientation from my older friends; some people told me that the friends you make at Orientation become your squad for the rest of undergrad and that’s why I went into Orientation week trying to suppress my inherent introversion. I remember trying so hard to speak to as many people as I could, volunteering for all the ice breakers and trying to really get excited about these cheers.
Alas, by the end of the first day, I was pretty much exhausted and hanging by a thread; all I wanted to do was crawl into my bed with a book and stay there forever. I did not want to put any more effort into the rest of the week and sure enough, I showed up half a day late the next day and left after 2 or 3 events. The rest of the week pretty much looked the same, I picked and chose the events that I thought were more passive.
It took me time to realize that there are many other ways to integrate yourself into the U of T environment and it doesn’t all have to be a schedule full of high-key, full of cheer, social events. If I could do it again, I would create my own orientation experience and these are some of the things you could do as an alternate;
- You can go to the FREE events run by Student Life called Kickstart like Money Matters, Getting Involved and Love your Lecture Series.
- You can attend events from around the campus held by student organizations like MSA U of T – Muslim Student’s Association.
- You can join the U of T Queer Orientation Events that happen at the end of September.
- Attending the UTSU Parade or the UTSU Concert is free for UofT Students and you can show some school spirit there and meet people from all colleges!
- UTSU Clubs day is a great gateway to staying involved throughout the year – spend some time chatting with student representatives and find your own community.
- Or just check out the complete calendar of all the orientation events happening at U of T right here!
Find something that matches your style.
There are so many more options depending on your personal interests, it just takes some more digging. Look into your own college and faculty orientation planning to see if they have alternative events happening! You might find that you’re not the only one who prefers a movie night to a club night.
Orientation is a very busy and animated time at U of T. Campus absolutely lights up and it is a great place to be. That being said, it’s okay to take some time off for self-care and it’s okay to just walk around campus and take what YOU want out of all that’s going on.
Also, my older friends definitely lied. I still made friends outside of orientation, I still formed personal connections by joining the First-Year learning communities and I still went to parties and did all those fun things despite being MIA at my own college’s orientation. I learned how to enjoy Orientation as an upper year student as well by being a leader and getting to relive the events that I missed!
University is all about shaping your own experiences and finding out what really works for you.
No matter what you end up doing that week, make sure to send us some snaps at LifeatUofT or tweet us @LifeatUofT and LET US KNOW!