Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Student’s Guide to Surviving O’Week

Picture from DUSA
Yes, it's that time of year again. Police patrols increase, shop owners pray for their windows, 'returners' mutter about 'Jaffys' taking over, and the clubs rub their hands together in glee while making sure security is tight.

Joyous O'Week, you're here at last!

For students it always has been, and hopefully always will be, one of the most jam-packed social weeks of their time at university. For students at Deakin, O'Week is the first week in March. For everyone else, check your uni website! My birthday is always in the middle of O'Week, so it's always an awesome excuse to get my par-tay on. Here are some of my top tips for O'Week.

Go to the orientation lectures – Yes, I know, snore fest. Whilst these can be insanely boring, it is always wise to rock up to any scheduled lectures given by your course and faculty. Aside from being a great way to meet people in your course, they can be full of important information such as how to change your timetable, who you have to talk to about extensions or subject changes, where to submit assignments, etc. These are usually in the first day or two, before the serious partying happens, which helps with not having to cope through with a hang-over.

Sign up for your Student Union/Association – I don't know about anywhere else, but at Deakin, membership to DUSA is super cheap, and well worth the $20 per annum. Free lunches, discounts on event tickets, cheap photocopying & binding, more discounts on society memberships and movie tickets, and usually a free wall planner and diary. My membership had paid for itself within a week last year. Your student union usually organises a bunch of events during O'Week which are a great way to meet new people, whether it is a coffee crawl, 'Mystery Bus Tour' (aka. Pub Crawl), beach party, live music, BBQ lunches, or whatever, get amongst it!

Clubs & Societies Day – If your uni has one of these, rock up! All of the different clubs and societies set up and try to convince you to join up. Great way to meet people with similar interests, and to get a heap of freebies. Deakin usually has all their societies, as well as a bunch of the town's night clubs, sports groups, and gods only know who else. If you are in Geelong, I highly recommend joining the Juggernauts, because if this year is anything like years past, they run some of the biggest and best functions during the year, usually involving a whole lot of drinking games, and some awesome entertainment. Even if you only have a wander around and don't join anything, it's a good way to kill some time before you go to the next orientation lecture.

Don't Buy Textbooks – I know it's very tempting, when you're walking around campus, and see the bookshop with their boards full of reading lists, and the helpful staff, and the shiny new books to just want to walk in and get the whole bundle. DON'T!!! 1) You'll have no money to spend on partying later in the week, 2) You'll have no money to spend on food later in the week, and 3) You'll walk into your first lecture for a given unit the Monday after, and be told you didn't actually need to buy it, it's just recommended.

Get Loose – Yes, find your uni's favourite/closest drinking hole and hang out a bit. At Deakin in Geelong, this is usually either The Ponds (for the Waurn Ponds campus), or The Max (for Waterfront). Have a few bevvys, meet people, and enjoy some music. Then, hit the town. If you're on residences, you will have the joy of having an organising committee that has already organised something every night of O'Week, from transport to entry, and for the non-drinkers, they usually have separate, though equally fun events. It usually goes something along the lines of Ponds for Happy Hour every day, followed by the rush back up the hill for Caf, then into town for a Mix & Match, Mystery Bus Tour, Random Club event, scavenger hunts, etc. It's all about meeting new people, getting to know the town, and generally running amock. Make the most of these, as you don't have to get up insanely early the next day to go to a very important lecture or test, a luxury that you will be missing come week 7 or 8.

"If you can't be good…" – Sex is a part of university. Plain and simple. Consider protection. I will most probably blog more on this later in the year, but for now I'm just going to give these two pieces of advice – 1) Carry a condom or two in your purse/wallet. Protection is the responsibility of both parties, so never assume that if you pick up that the other person (bf/gf/random, whatever) will be prepared. 2) Girls, if you're on the pill, keep on-top of it. It's easy to lose track of time, and miss a pill or two amongst all the socialising. "If you can't be good, be careful. If you can't be careful, remember the date."

Pace Yourself – It is very, very easy to get carried away in the first few weeks of university when it comes to money and alcohol. Budget early to save issues a week, or even two weeks down the track. While blowing all your money on grog the first night might seem like a great idea at the time, your body, your social life, and your wallet are going to hate you in the morning. Remember that you still have to buy food, and probably a bunch of other stuff you haven't even thought of yet, including the rest of the partying you plan on doing between now and your next pay. If you're like most JAFFYS (Just Another F***ing First Year Student), haven't lived away from home before, and have only recently turned 18, chances are you won't know yet how much you can safely drink. Whilst I do encourage having a good time, I also encourage playing it safe - go out with friends, alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and know when to say "no, I've had enough". Remember that, whether thanks to Facebook or rumours, what happens in O'Week rarely stays in O'Week, and getting yourself into trouble now could cause you problems down the track.


What are you looking forward to during O'Week? For those of you who've done it before, what was your favourite part, and what are your survival tips?

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