Orientation Week 2015 - Austin Style
Approaching the entry to Austin College on Sunday 15th February was quite daunting. I felt an immediate rush of relief flood through my body as I realised that not having my provisional license could in fact be a benefit as my family and I struggled to park the two cars filled with my stuff. My Dad, who gets easily frustrated, then wanted to park his car on the side of the road to unload the stuff. I was immediately argumentative towards this idea as college is all about first impressions. And I didn’t want to draw attention to myself by having to stand next to all my stuff like a loner.Luckily we found a park so I was able to breathe. We approached a table with lots of people surrounding it and I immediately froze. So many unfamiliar teenagers. And they’re the scariest kind of people. But I was greeted with a huge smile and an enthusiastic hello by one of the position holders, which immediately made me more comfortable.
And then came the real fun. TRIVIA NIGHT! The idea sounded fairly lame. It wasn’t one of the things that popped into my mind when I thought about college. It ended up being one of my biggest nights during O week and was actually insanely fun. Now whether that’s because there was drinking involved or because of some of the bizarre things we had to do, I’m not sure. Between each game of trivia a little competition was held in which each block nominated a person to compete. In one contenders had to go find a variety of items, some including a night-time pad, a bed extension and some vegemite. Another was a talent show and one dude fire-twirled. After trivia everyone went back to their floors to play drinking games and get to know each other further. But only if we wanted to. This was the start of my messy night and I’m sure it was for others too. Then to the bar. Always to the bar. Where my night turned even messier… I didn’t think that was possible. The poisonous, legendary Austin Grenade put me on my a$$.
Imagine this. You’ve come to university, not sure what to expect. You’ve heard things from talking to people but you still try to keep an open mind. You think there will be things organised to do but O week will mostly be pretty relaxed. It’s about getting to know the place, right? WRONG. O week is crazy. You’re in a deep sleep that first morning and suddenly “Gasolina” blares at 6:30 through the PA that you had no idea existed. If you don’t know this song, youtube it and share my pain. And in between the song a position holder is yelling at you to get up. This happened every f*cking morning and I always woke up angry. All us poor, silly freshers had to get up before that damn song finished or there was a punishment. Mine for the first Monday was a shot. Which wasn’t beneficial to my screaming head. Each morning we would complete strange, sometimes torturous, mostly fun tasks. If you acted like a fool the night before, our floor got the privilege of dressing up as “Dobby” for the day, as our theme was Harry Potter. If you behaved you were freed by being given a sock at the end of the day. I thankfully wasn’t ever “drunk dobby” and got to laugh dignifiedly at everyone who was. Unfortunately I missed the Commencement Ceremony and the Back to School night that Monday. Although I was lying in bed, I was still awake for some of it. And if the realisation that I was at college hadn’t settled in the previous night, it certainly did that night. I experienced all kinds of crazy things, including drunks yelling profanities and people stumbling into my room and having their faces centimetres away from mine. I walked out at two in the morning simply to refill my water bottle only to discover a bit of floor incest going down, with one of the committee members sitting next to them on the couch talking on the phone.
Tuesday kicked off with Lifesaver day and that dreaded walk up that horrid hill. The water and Zooper Doopers given out at the top were received in an almost begging manner. And that was only the beginning of the free stuff. Free pizza, free barbeque, free Frisbees, free diaries, free wall planners, free stress balls (a must-have), free stationary. Free, free, free, free. Uni students love anything that’s free. Oh, yeah and you signed up for stuff too. Lifesaver day had absolutely everything; sport UNE, anime stalls, a commonwealth bank stall, a dominos stall, a reach out stall, an army stall and many more. It was a nice distraction from thinking about how much one needed to throw up. Fresher Olympics then followed that afternoon, which was an awesome opportunity to get involved and laugh at the position holders try to beat each other at tug of war. Movie night followed, with a welcoming sober night (the only one of the week).
Introductory lectures began on Wednesday and I’m sure everyone was thinking, “sh!t, I’m actually here to study”. That night the boys dressed “blokey” and the girls in uniforms for Gearsticks and Motors at the White Bull. We sang hilarious, inappropriate songs and learnt the Austin song. The girls also had a scavenger hunt to complete, which made the night quite interesting. Projectile vomit in the outside smoking area also made for an interesting night. You do you, ladies. Remember that and life will be easy.
UV Night at the Stro came around fast and white shirts were thrown on. Pre-drinks in the commo before of course, so as to minimise costs at the Stro. As a uni student you must be strategic with your costs from day one. Everyone’s faces were covered in UV paint upon arrival. You were lucky if it wasn’t still there in the morning. I think everyone has a different opinion about the Stro, so I’ll leave it at that.
4 nights of drinking down. You’re almost there. The returners have returned. By this point as a fresher you are comfortable and the increase in people is more exciting than anything. A painful half hour bus ride to Top Pub for Graffiti night. Mostly painful as a returner decided to bring on a bottle of “coke” and open it so it spilt everywhere; a lot of it on me. More songs were sung and I received a bit of a laugh as I walked off the bus. What I learnt that night: the returners are f*cking crazy.
By Saturday you’re glad the week’s coming to an end but at the same time you don’t want it to. But all that goes to the back of your mind as it’s Block Party Night! Everyone raves about it and for good reason. We all dress up in our assigned characters (whom our RF, Elke chose by stalking each of us on Facebook) and play drinking games with our floors. The commos are packed with returners, freshers and affiliates and let’s just say we found out lots about each other in a short two hours. I didn’t want to know most of it. We all chucked in money for bins, so there was plenty of refreshments. You can see why Block Party is held on the weekend, as it would be cruel for anyone other than those responsible to clean up that horrible mess.
We wake up not too early to a false fire alarm and then set off to the Swimming Carnival. It was cold. It was rainy. The seats were wet. My head hurts. I’m tired. Why are we here? Those were my initial observations and thoughts. But the day gets warmer and better quickly. Competitiveness between colleges emerges and things get quite personal. Between every race there was a mass participation race so everyone gets a chance to have a swim. Swimming Carnival day was a nice end to the week and a great start to what could have been a very disastrous day. Of course it is a university event so there are kids everywhere leaning over, heaving violently.
After one of the strangest, craziest weeks of my life I survived. There were good and bad parts. There were tears. But when it finished I didn’t want it to. Most importantly, by the end of the week I felt comfortable. I felt excited. Austin College knows how to do O week well. They know how to do it right.