Spiders, Sodexho & Stages

A frosh talks about life after Orientation Week

The deadly Stages. Huh oh! Smell the hormones!
The deadly Stages. Huh oh! Smell the hormones!
Journal File Photo

So, here we are. University has finally begun and two weeks have zoomed past me.

Honestly, I was kind of afraid that I wouldn’t even make it here. All kinds of scenarios went through my head during my last two weeks at home, from my plane crashing in no-man’s land to my luggage being stolen, to my room being mysteriously assigned to someone else, inevitably resulting in me sleeping on Leonard field inside a tent for a month.

But now that I am quasi-settled in this pre-historical building of McNeill House, enjoying the view of the lovely Leonard cafeteria and the myriad of people that gather around for more of that Sodexho goodness, I can’t get over the fact that my life has changed drastically during the two weeks I’ve been here, and I’m still sane and alive. The changes. Yes, let’s talk about those changes and challenges that Queen’s has thrown my way.

1. Caf food. I have grown accustomed myself to eating elusive looking food without a problem. Whenever people ask, “What is that?” I calmly reply “We’ll see in a second,” or “I’ll find out.” On a side note, I have also noticed that every dish in the cafeteria has a slight tinge of tomato taste to it, whether it be Chicken Lo Mein, a slice of pizza, or the pineapples—the latter being more psychological than actual, I hope.

2. Spiders. McNeill seems like a good breeding ground for them, especially my room. I remember on move-in day, coming into the entrance and seeing the opaque veil of their existence and thinking, “that’s not too bad, it’s just the entrance.” Well, I woke up the next morning with spiders—who looked like they came from the set of Harry Potter—crawling on my floor, practically having a picnic. The worst spider sighting came two nights ago—while sitting in my room, a girl from my floor politely pointed out there were many spiders crawling on my ceiling. Looking up, I discovered six spiders in total, casually taking a stroll. I promptly ran out to fetch a guy that lived on my floor, who also promptly fetched a vacuum cleaner to dispose of the unwanted visitors. Thankfully I’m developing an immune system against the spiders as we speak— the other day I was able to fully smack one hairy spider on my wall without the help of the my male floormates.

3. The vast and incredulous scope of people’s achievements: On my floor alone, there is a varsity mountain bike racer, a 16-year-old who decided to take the challenge exam to take a few second-year courses because skipping one year in high school—while being in Canada for only three years, by the way—wasn’t amazing enough for him. And then there’s my neighbour who has finished RCM in grade 10 piano and insists she cannot call herself as a good pianist. During the welcoming ceremony that took place during Frosh Week, I heard that the amiable Rector—who talks with the best accent, by the way— founded the Muslim society at Queen’s, and got involved with AMS and ASUS, all while going to school and somehow eating at the same time. I feel like my 18 years of existence has been putrefying away into oblivion comparing myself to them.

4. Then, there are Friday nights at Stages. Let me tell you my story.

On the first Friday night of the school year, I stood outside with a long line of girls decked out in their finest tube tops and pumped guys were waiting outside. “Why doesn’t this feel new?” I asked myself. Then it hit me.

I was back at my high school dance.

Except that this time the dressed-up girls were my age or older, instead of being 13, the person frisking me was a real bouncer, not my principal, and the dance floor was a real one, instead of my school gym.

Then, something even more unavoidable happened.

“Where are you from?” I heard a voice ask.

“Oh I’m from Vancouver,” I said.

“I’m from Toronto,” said the mysterious guy with a grin on his face.

After exchanging some standard frosh information—what res we’re in, mostly—he asked me to dance.

Why not? I thought.

Honestly, it was nothing new. At my high school, grinding was definitely in style. But about 10 minutes into holding onto his sweaty shirt, it got me thinking.

Was it really right that I was dancing this close to a person I’ve just met? Was it really right that I was glued onto him, and vice versa, when I had already forgotten his face and name completely? Was it really right that we were rampantly giving off sexual intentions, while I didn’t even know the most trivial information about him like how he liked his coffee, or if he liked coffee at all?

Everyone else seemed so comfortable doing it.

But I told him I had to go to the bathroom, leaving shortly after not even going to the bathroom at all.

After coming back to res, questions started bombarding my mind.

Did I let go of someone that could’ve been a potential date, potential interest, a potential boyfriend? Did I back away too fast, being an idealistic prude who models her love life after Hugh Grant movies? Did I just run away from something great, something promising, something extraordinary?

What if I really kept on dancing with that guy, and somehow we started talking, really liked each other, and got married? Our kids would ask one day, when we were all sitting by the fireside: “So, mum and dad, how did you guys meet?”

“Well, my child, you see, we felt each other up first on the dance floor filled with other sweaty hormonal young people ...”

I think I’d really rather be an idealistic prude, thanks.

So there it was. It took eight dollars to realize that going to Stages’didn’t stir up my wildest fantasies—eight dollars to realize that the love of my life wouldn’t be sweating his moves away waiting for my grand entrance.

Still, I’ll bet eight bucks that I’ll be back there next Friday.

For better or for worse, I’m liking the changes I’m seeing at Queen’s — they’re keeping me on my toes here. I feel that I will one day have dominion over the University just like the rest of you older students. I can even see myself drinking Lake Ontario water someday . . . maybe.


1) Youthful exuberance and optimism.

2) Seeing Bullfrog for the first time at Alfie’s, about two renovations ago. I went for Kid Koala: I fell in love with the entire band. Everyone else around me seemed so much older and cooler and knew all the words to all the songs, including “Reverse Psychology,” which is no small feat. I just couldn’t believe that Queen’s could attract such an ass-shakingly good funk band.

3) Getting crushes on all the new boys from afar in Leonard cafeteria. Squeal, giggle. Now I hate boys.

4) Although I don’t miss Ritual much anymore, I do miss the incredibly sloppy meals at Ban Righ afterwards. I recall one Friday evening gazing dreamily down at my tray, covered in a viscous soup of french fries, fruit juice and the salad dressing of the day, as the engineers around me began vomiting and throwing mashed potatoes at each other to the beat of “SCI OH-FIVE!!” before anxious Stu-Cons body-slammed them to the floor. What a beautiful moment.

5) When I said I missed my youthful optimism, I really, really meant it. I’m such a jerk now! I don’t understand what happened.


1) My roommate talking to her boyfriend on the phone until five in the morning, squealing with lust and joy as I huddled miserably beneath my blankets, dreaming of blood.

2) Every time any girl in McNeill brought a male friend to rez, female heads would peek out from every room, curiously assessing the token male in their midst—and assessing whether the girl in question would mack her guest.

My most abhorrent moment was when my little brother came to visit and someone asked me how long we had been dating. Ew, sick!

3) Dealing with the innumerable keener students in virtually all of my classes. Now, everyone in my classes is too jaded and tired to raise their arms and volunteer answers.

4) Walking into the Journal for the first time and feeling like a pariah/idiot.

Now when frosh walk in, I jump up and offer them cookies and love, because I know how it feels. It’s true. I love you.

5) The entire pre-Stages ritual. Yes girls, let’s put on nice clothes only to soak them in sweat and beer and apply loads of makeup so it can melt off our faces later and all over the boys we’re dry-humping. Now, if I’m forced to go to a Hub bar, it’s in my jammy-jams.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.