OMG UPDATE: Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get updates on updates!

Updated on Thursday, August 28

#19685

OMG: Im not looking forward to orientation week whatsoever. I hate being around strangers and I deal with huge anxiety issues. I would have opted out, but I really need to start making friends....

57 comments

  1. Anxiety sucks, but trust me when I say that O-Week is a blast! Are you On-Campus or Off-Campus?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Identifying your comfort zones and stepping out of it is fun! You sound like you have it well in hand; good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Best of luck with O-Week! I'm glad you're entering it with an attitude for making friends, because this is the best part of o-week. I'm an o-week leader and we can't wait to have you next week! Your leaders should make you feel at home and answer any questions you may have.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You will fit right in, its a school of people just like you

    ReplyDelete
  5. O-Week is designed to have something in it for everyone. What's your starting Faculty? Certain faculties do a better job than others at accommodating social anxieties - but just remember that if you don't want to participate in something, you can let one of your leaders know and they won't make you!

    As long as you keep an open mind, set some personal goals, and look for ways to achieve those goals, Orientation can be a great experience for you, whatever your background or personal preferences. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Protip: don't go to oweek unless you feel like being treated like a 7 year old.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Depends on your faculty. Most of the faculties have some pretty good programming.
      But rather than complaining, what would you propose they change about o-week?

      Delete
    2. What do you consider, "treated like a 7 year old", to mean?

      Delete
    3. 6b - I suspect that 6 restricts the definition to organizers making group activities a thing when the thing-ness is not unanimously recognized, aka programming.
      There are occasions when I start a multi-hour role play game that half the participants are disinterested in - it's the same type of awkwardness.

      Delete
    4. 6c so basically 6 would prefer it if o-week was just a perpetual party, even though that'd isolate a lot of students and keep them from getting informed about useful things?

      Delete
    5. Perpetual party + informative sessions (I mean actual information, like how to choose the right courses, not weird bullshit like "go to office hours!") Why the fuck do we hold hands in circles and dance and be stupid. It's humiliating. Other universities have fun, notable frosh weeks. Ours is a joke.

      Delete
    6. 6e, you get that not everyone likes the sort of thing you're describing, either. A good Orientation program (and Waterloo's is one of the most highly rated in the country, actually) has a mix of structured and unstructured programming. The structured programming is meant to bring people with similar interests together, and build a sense of pride in their local community (i.e. faculty), while the unstructured programming is there to let people let loose and have a good time (though there's lots of less-socially-inclined people who prefer to stay away from those events).

      As far as information dissemination - if you think 'go to office hours' isn't good advice, then you weren't a first-year like me, who didn't even know they were a thing - much less a useful thing - until his leaders mentioned them to him.

      But at the end of the day, Orientation is run entirely by students (2000 of them!) FOR students. So if you don't like it, you have the power to change it, instead of complaining on the internet.

      Delete
    7. Or, 6f, one could choose just not to go the the events they consider massively childish

      Delete
  7. As someone who dealt with severe anxiety for most of my life and missed out on o-week because of it - I recommend going and forcing yourself out of your comfort zones. Socializing is going to have to happen sooner or later, especially if you're in co-op (since networking and being social is part of nearly every job and often important for your success during a work term).

    I found that most people met their close friends within their first term, while I'm in my 3rd year and have yet to make a close friend. Looking back, I would rather have felt awkward during ice-breakers instead of crying alone in my dorm room. It was so bad during oweek that I couldn't even eat in the caf, and had panic attacks every time I tried to go off campus. Worst experience of my life, and definitely the worst my anxiety has ever been. Best of luck to you OP in getting over yours!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have anxiety as well but I actually went to Oweek. The problem though was that I had a friend from high school there with me. I sort of latched onto her and didn't make any other lasting friends during the week.

      All in all, anxiety is super hard to overcome. Even if you force yourself to go to Oweek, it doesn't always work out for everyone.

      7: I think my first year experiences were very similar to yours. I was also scared of eating in the caf and tried to eat in my room or elsewhere on campus as much as possible. Instead of gaining the stereotypical "freshman 15", I think I actually lost weight and I had tons of meal plan money left over after first year. (I used the rest of it on occasion throughout the rest of my undergrad though, so that kind of worked out well)

      Delete
  8. Summer term is best term. Weather is nice, no noobs.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oweek was really boring... gave up on the faculty (science) activities after the first day. I met most people while hanging out at my friends' rez after the activities. Went to some of the common events, monte carlo, black and gold, etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. if you gave up on going to the faculty events then you might not be the best judge of the whole week. I thought science orientation was great, and so did most people I know in the faculty.

      Delete
    2. Math Orientation made me love UW. I still treat my Pink Tie like a prized possession.

      Delete
  10. then don't go, what's the big deal

    ReplyDelete
  11. OP, we're in the same boat my friend (and yes, friend, because perhaps people who suffer together could get better together?).

    ReplyDelete
  12. Go to your events and act silly. All of the 18 year old tryhards who are too cool for school and miss out on everything are just missing out. You'll have at least 4 years to do all the "mature" things, and only one week to act a fool. I don't get why all you kiddies are so desperate to start on what you'll be doing for the rest of the time. Besides, we can still tell you're frosh, so just embrace it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi OP, 4th year here. I opted out of o-week because I assumed that I would probably never talk to/see any of these people ever again, and I also don't like group activities. I am also level 109 socially awkward, so that was also another reason why I opted out. I was there for move in day (REV), so I set up my dorm and then went back home until the night before classes start. After o-week was done, I made friends with people on my floor. After first year, I moved out of REV and became good friends with my new housemates. Another way I met new people was in class, through obligatory group work, and through self-introductions (I know, I got really lucky).

    So, what I'm trying to say is, missing o-week is not completely devastating to your social life. You'll have plenty of opportunities to make friends and socialize through other means.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you either aren't that socially awkward or got incredibly lucky with floor/housemates.

      Delete
    2. @13a.

      You have noooo idea how socially awkward I am, and it had become a lot worse after first year. On the plus side, as I grow older(and awkwarder), I understand that people aren't paying much attention to events outside their attention. Even if people do see me mess up, especially in conversation, it's not a big deal, and they won't think much of it. Then again, OP has anxiety, and I only have mild anxiety, so I don't know how they are able to cope like I do.

      I just made friends with people who were just as awkward as me, and I only have 1-2 close friends and a small handful of good friends in Waterloo, and I'm relatively happy. So, it really depends on your definition of 'having friends' (knowing a couple hundred people VS knowing a couple of people).

      But 13a, you are right, I did get lucky with my floor/housemates because most of my friend group consists of people whom I have lived with at one point in time. They're all much more social than me, which is nice, because then I don't need to ACTUALLY socialize. I just make friends with their friends.

      Delete
  14. just don't go, you'll get $100 refund and you can spend an entire week doing whatever you want! How is that not a deal breaker

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ^The opt-out deadline has already passed, no refund at this point.

      Delete
    2. Pro tip for o week and university in general. You get SO much less done if you just do whatever and let it ride. It's fine when you need a break or having nothing else to do but if you do this next week you'll probably not get much done. Ooo, you spent a week sleeping in and met 4 people. Neat!

      Delete
  15. Ideally orientation would be nice but its planned by a group of people who have no idea what fun actually is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @15 yes, EVERY year, without fail, 30+ of the most boring, unimaginative people on-campus are hired to plan every detail of Orientation Week, and they in turn manage to find THE MOST UNIMAGINATIVE 2000 people on-campus and hire them as leaders, who all work together to make sure the 7000 first-years have NO FUN AT ALL.

      /end sarcasm

      Delete
  16. You claim to be sarcastic, but sadly you speak the truth.

    I think it would be a good idea to call in external event planners rather than rely on naive, inexperienced students.

    More bang for the buck, so to speak.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unlikely to work. They'd cost all our money and we'd be left with the same type of activity but less funded. You realize that they have to work within some very strict constraints right? The same ones a professional planner would have to abide by. I know we've all seen a lot of university life movies but this isn't that OR Ivey league money pile American college.

      Delete
    2. Unlikely to work. They'd cost all our money and we'd be left with the same type of activity but less funded.

      Considering it's what they're paid to do I think it'd work quite well, mister.

      We won't be hiring some podunk dude who does balloon animals on the side, but a proper events company. It's better than wasting all that money on some amateur students with no clue what fun is.

      You realize that they have to work within some very strict constraints right? The same ones a professional planner would have to abide by.

      You're also nowhere near as qualified as a professional party planner.


      I know we've all seen a lot of university life movies but this isn't that OR Ivey league money pile American college.

      Proper economizing and planning would cut out a lot of the fat and waste, allowing that money to be used to provide a better, more interesting, and more engaging orientation experience. The fewer students who get their paws on the money, the better.

      Delete
    3. 16b, if you actually understood even a little bit about how Orientation Week was planned/run, you wouldn't be saying any of this. Try talking to the Orientation & Community Events Manager in Feds about this - or the Feds Exec (2/4 of them - including the President - are past FOC, the highest level of student decision-making in the program), and they'll quite happily show you how it works, why student money ISN'T wasted in making it happen, and why the program works the way it does.

      The restrictions are tighter than you imagine - there are a set of international standards for Orientation Programs (courtesy of a body called the 'Council for Advancement of Standards in Higher Education) which every single event during Orientation Week has to show the University admin that it adheres to. And the general consensus (in fact, it's in the standards) is that Orientation programs are more effective when they are delivered TO students, BY students. And it's no coincidence that Orientation has a larger student volunteer base than ANY other volunteer-run function on this campus. We're talking about students who don't just do this work for free - they pay a fee (cost of their gear) to be able to to it!

      As for the FOC - they receive literally months of intensive training in everything from Orientation programming to volunteer hiring/management to financial management and more, over the course of nearly a year in order to do what they do. And it is NEVER their first experience with these things - most of them have been Orientation Leaders for a couple of years, and have other experiences in event planning/conference planning/large scale project and volunteer management. They are some of the most highly qualified people on this campus, AND they willingly do this nearly full-time WHILE trying to balance it with classes and coop.

      If you got rid of the student involvement, you'd have the staff in the Student Success Office planning Orientation. And honestly, you don't even WANT to know how bland that programming would be. Orientation works (Waterloo's is one of the most highly rated programs in North America) BECAUSE of the students involved in it, not IN SPITE of it.

      Delete
    4. //16b, if you actually understood even a little bit about how Orientation Week was planned/run, you wouldn't be saying any of this. Try talking to the Orientation & Community Events Manager in Feds about this - or the Feds Exec (2/4 of them - including the President - are past FOC, the highest level of student decision-making in the program), and they'll quite happily show you how it works, why student money ISN'T wasted in making it happen, and why the program works the way it does.

      Somehow I find it very hard to 'trust' the word of and believe in the effectiveness of rank amateurs.The fact is that Orientation is childish at best and a complete waste of student money at worst.

      //The restrictions are tighter than you imagine - there are a set of international standards for Orientation Programs (courtesy of a body called the 'Council for Advancement of Standards in Higher Education) which every single event during Orientation Week has to show the University admin that it adheres to. And the general consensus (in fact, it's in the standards) is that Orientation programs are more effective when they are delivered TO students, BY students. And it's no coincidence that Orientation has a larger student volunteer base than ANY other volunteer-run function on this campus. We're talking about students who don't just do this work for free - they pay a fee (cost of their gear) to be able to to it!

      Can I see a study on that? The study that concludes that students bumbling around wasting money left and right delivered a 'more effective' orientation programme rather than an events planning company?

      A company that would be better(since they're not amateurs playing party planner), faster(because they're professionals and know what's needed beforehand) and, perhaps, cheaper(economies of scale)?


      //As for the FOC - they receive literally months of intensive training in everything from Orientation programming to volunteer hiring/management to financial management and more, over the course of nearly a year in order to do what they do. And it is NEVER their first experience with these things - most of them have been Orientation Leaders for a couple of years, and have other experiences in event planning/conference planning/large scale project and volunteer management. They are some of the most highly qualified people on this campus, AND they willingly do this nearly full-time WHILE trying to balance it with classes and coop.

      Months of shit training is still shit training. Lack of aptitude is still aptitude.

      The plain fact is that students are in college to become Engineers or Accountants or whatever, not events planners. They lack the skills, and in fact, mindset needed to plan an interesting and successful orientation.

      //If you got rid of the student involvement, you'd have the staff in the Student Success Office planning Orientation. And honestly, you don't even WANT to know how bland that programming would be.

      No, they'd give money to people actually qualified to run a large event, and we'd all win.

      //Orientation works (Waterloo's is one of the most highly rated programs in North America) BECAUSE of the students involved in it, not IN SPITE of it.

      Waterloo's prestige and academic ranking has nothing to do with Orientation, dude.

      Delete
    5. 16d I wasn't referring to Waterloo's Academic Ranking, there's an organization called NODA (The Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education) of which Waterloo is a long-time member. It's our Orientation program that is ranked as one of the most effective in North America.

      The staff who oversee Orientation's programming, goals, and training, all have Master's Degrees in this field, and are routinely re-evaluating every aspect of the programming here to make sure it's in line with changing standards.

      More than that, the actual participant AND volunteer feedback from successive Orientation programs isn't just good - it's improving from year-to-year.

      The Orientation & Community Events Manager in Feds has been doing this for over 10 years now, and has the entire event planning process down to a science.

      Before you call everyone involved 'rank amateurs,' you should probably take the time to learn the first thing about some of those people. Your arguments may sound intelligent, but all they have done is expose just how little you know about the program, or what constitutes effective Orientation programming in general.

      Anyway, if you want to get informed, here's a jumping off point: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/noda.site-ym.com/resource/resmgr/Docs/CAS_Standards.pdf

      Delete
    6. "//If you got rid of the student involvement, you'd have the staff in the Student Success Office planning Orientation. And honestly, you don't even WANT to know how bland that programming would be.

      No, they'd give money to people actually qualified to run a large event, and we'd all win."

      That is so not their vision for Orientation Week. They'd spend their money more of the events they currently run - Warrior Welcome, FYE Waterloo, and Success Programming - which is currently THE most bland and unimaginative programming in Orientation (courtesy of the people who are theoretically best "qualified"). Any FOC will tell you that trying to get something remotely fun past them is like performing a root canal on a shark at feeding time.

      "Months of shit training is still shit training. Lack of aptitude is still aptitude."

      Before you make sweeping statements about how qualified the FOC are for their jobs, or how good their training programs are, you might want to learn the first thing about them, instead of making wild and arrogant assumptions.

      Delete
    7. lol, 16/16b/16d are clearly just trolling and laying out bait, and everyone else on the thread is just taking it.
      Dudes - it's a flame war, you're better off staying out of it.

      Delete
    8. //16d I wasn't referring to Waterloo's Academic Ranking, there's an organization called NODA (The Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education) of which Waterloo is a long-time member. It's our Orientation program that is ranked as one of the most effective in North America.

      A bold claim! Provide me said ranking, as well as a list of all universities in North America enrolled in this 'NODA'. It appears Harvard isn't, and neither is Queen's.

      //The staff who oversee Orientation's programming, goals, and training, all have Master's Degrees in this field, and are routinely re-evaluating every aspect of the programming here to make sure it's in line with changing standards.

      They don't have Master's Degrees in Orientation programming. Those don't exist.

      They also aren't involved in the day-to-day planning an execution of Orientation, which event planners have much more experience and aptitude in.

      //More than that, the actual participant AND volunteer feedback from successive Orientation programs isn't just good - it's improving from year-to-year.

      It's not like the captive audience had anything else to compare it to.

      //The Orientation & Community Events Manager in Feds has been doing this for over 10 years now, and has the entire event planning process down to a science.

      'Junkyard wars'? Holding hands in a circle?

      Yeah, I doubt that

      //Before you call everyone involved 'rank amateurs,' you should probably take the time to learn the first thing about some of those people. Your arguments may sound intelligent, but all they have done is expose just how little you know about the program, or what constitutes effective Orientation programming in general.

      Your rabid defence of a failed system amuses me.

      Let me give you a hint. Waterloo's Orientation isn't effective.

      //Anyway, if you want to get informed, here's a jumping off point: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/noda.site-ym.com/resource/resmgr/Docs/CAS_Standards.pdf

      That's very nice. I see very little that's useful, though.

      Delete
    9. The funny thing about all of this is that, as many problems as Orientation has, 16 is attacking on that they don't - competent event planning/management.

      Orientation's events are often OVER-planned, with everything pre-determined down to the tiniest detail, then executed by a well-oiled volunteer machine. And every event is vetted by something like 3 different layers of staff.

      Changes in Orientation aren't a bad idea, but 16's attempt to make it look like a bunch of incompetents poorly playing at event-planners is definitely the wrong angle of attack.

      Delete
    10. //The funny thing about all of this is that, as many problems as Orientation has, 16 is attacking on that they don't - competent event planning/management.Orientation's events are often OVER-planned, with everything pre-determined down to the tiniest detail, then executed by a well-oiled volunteer machine. And every event is vetted by something like 3 different layers of staff.Changes in Orientation aren't a bad idea, but 16's attempt to make it look like a bunch of incompetents poorly playing at event-planners is definitely the wrong angle of attack.

      Overplanning is acceptable, but only when the people making the plans are competent...

      Delete
    11. 16j, Its pretty obvious you aren't qualified to evaluate the orientation program. Secondly, you've never once said what it is you want to see more of. Either you really are just ignorantly trolling or you have a very specific vision of what should be happening and it isn't realistic.

      I think our O-weeks biggest problem is that we have to cater to a very wide range of students with different backgrounds, social inclination, and even language barriers. Would I have had more fun at Queen's orientation week? Probably! Because I'm a white guy from a white town and I love partying and socializing and have no problem letting loose. Lucky for Queens, that's basically their whole demographic. Waterloo would isolate and discourage probably over 60% of its students if they ran some of the events Queens does.

      Last point: holding hands isn't childish, please look outside your Canada/US bubble. Junkyard wars is building giant catapults for shits. If you dislike those things then we really have little in common.

      Delete
    12. ^+1

      Also, he/she doesn't seem to realize that Orientation programs are too closely linked to short-and-long term student retention rates for this University to EVER consider outsourcing it (even if they could convince Feds to give up their stake). But I'm pretty sure he/she is just a troll, so....

      Delete
  17. //That is so not their vision for Orientation Week. They'd spend their money more of the events they currently run - Warrior Welcome, FYE Waterloo, and Success Programming - which is currently THE most bland and unimaginative programming in Orientation (courtesy of the people who are theoretically best "qualified"). Any FOC will tell you that trying to get something remotely fun past them is like performing a root canal on a shark at feeding time.

    Guess what events companies are good at: Dealing with uncooperative, rigid clients who don't know what's good for them.

    //Before you make sweeping statements about how qualified the FOC are for their jobs, or how good their training programs are, you might want to learn the first thing about them, instead of making wild and arrogant assumptions.

    Any assumptions I make are steeped in facts.

    Which is pretty sad, really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you're so confident your "facts" are solid, then why don't you approach Feds Council or someone in upper administration (like Chris Read, who oversees the Director of the Student Success Office and everything that they do) with them, and your ideas about how to change things? If these facts are as seemingly irrefutable as you claim, then it should produce results.

      Delete
    2. //If you're so confident your "facts" are solid, then why don't you approach Feds Council or someone in upper administration (like Chris Read, who oversees the Director of the Student Success Office and everything that they do) with them, and your ideas
      about how to change things? If these facts are as seemingly irrefutable as you claim, then it should produce results.

      That would entail effort, effort that would be wasted, just as the efforts of scores before me have been.

      They wouldn't listen to one student, dude.

      Also I love your appeal to my good nature in an attempt to deflect the course of this discussion.

      Delete
    3. You'd be surprised what one student can accomplish on this campus. It's not about how many people you are, it's about who you talk to.

      However...

      Orientation Week's Mission Statement, Line #2:

      "[The goal of Orientation Week is] To empower upper-year students to develop their interpersonal and leadership abilities."

      This point effectively solidifies the necessity of Feds' involvement in Orientation (that, and the fact that the $103 Orientation Fee is a Feds Administrated Fee). Your suggestion would face blowback from the entire student union, as well as the thousands of past and present Orientation volunteers on this campus. Your arguments are easily refuted, and the evidence you desire (which is admittedly difficult to provide on an anonymous chat forum on the internet - the NODA members list, for instance, isn't something they display publicly on their website) is so easily produced when the University's (in particular, Orientation's) immense bureaucracy is mobilized to do so. And I think you know this - or you genuinely don't care, and have just been flaming me this whole time.

      Anyway, you're entitled to your own opinion. Personally, I loved my Orientation Week. It's what made me love this campus, and adore my Faculty. It gave me a sense of belonging and tradition that motivated me throughout my first year. I became and Orientation Leader because I wanted to share that experience with others, I wanted to give back to the community. And then I had an amazing experience as a leader - and my FOC were a big part of that. I'm sorry you never felt the same way.

      Delete
    4. I just want someone to explain to me why there were no orientation shirts available for me when I went to pick mine up because the fucking retards gave away "extras." I want my money back and more. FUCK 2010 orientation and fuck the Barium Banshees.

      Delete
    5. ^Some faculties order too many shirts, others order too few. Back in 2010, nobody was collecting check-in statistics. The management of the program was also very different back then. The staff, who were supposed to provide long-term oversight and avoid errors like that, were fewer in number with more work to do and less power overall.

      Sorry you didn't get a shirt. :( Today, there are multiple failsafes in place to avoid an error like that.

      Delete
    6. Who do I speak to to force them to make me a shirt. It needs to be the same as the one from 2010.

      Delete
    7. Sorry bro... if the SciFOC really don't have any leftovers floating around in storage, you're stuck getting one custom-made.

      Delete
    8. They should have it custom-made for me. Or at least pay for it. It's not my fault I don't have the shirt, it's theirs. Who do I email about this.

      Delete
  18. I wasn't a huge fan of O-week. I'm not a shy person and don't mind acting silly - I have a drama minor! - but a lot of the Arts orientation felt forced for me (keep in mind this was in '09). I picked and chose which events to attend because I really wasn't meeting friends out of the vast majority of events. Instead, I met people at clubs, in my classes, in my halls in residence, and through other people I met. I don't need a big party or alcohol to open up and meet new people, but I certainly don't need to be put on the spot with people who are scared to be embarrassed either.

    ReplyDelete