Get to know your frosh leaders

A roundtable with the leaders behind each faculty’s Orientation Week

Each faculty has their own unique orientation week designed to break down barriers and make memories between new students.

While activities, schedules and themes vary among the faculties, the leaders of each frosh week all have one goal: to make the experience of coming to Queen’s more enjoyable, seamless and exciting for each student. The Journal asked the leaders orchestrating this massive production about their own frosh week, advice for incoming students and more.

Question 1: What was your first impression upon coming to Queen’s?

Question 2: What was the most memorable part of your frosh week?

Question 3: Any advice for getting the most out of frosh week?

Question 4: Why is frosh week an important part of coming to university?

Question 5: How does frosh week extend into the rest of the year, beyond that week?

Arts and Science, Sam Maclennan

A1: I absolutely loved the sense of spirit and pride students had for their school, and when I arrived for Orientation Week as an incoming student, these impressions were confirmed by the kindness and passion I saw in upper-year Queen’s students.

A2: I have such a vivid memory of playing name games outside of Biosciences Complex on the first day, and for the first time since I had arrived on campus, finally feeling comfortable in my new environment and really enjoying myself!

A3: If you can recognize that everyone is in a similar boat as you as a new student at Queen’s, and that a lot of experiences in Orientation Week and university may be out of your comfort zone, Orientation Week can be a great opportunity to grow and learn about yourself.

A4: By connecting incoming students with upper-year leaders in similar degree programs, faculty Orientation Week provides first year students with a support network as they navigate university classes and university life for the first time.

A5: Whether it’s meeting someone that you can sit with on your first or last day of classes, learning about an academic resource that helps you write your first or fifteenth paper, or making you feel like you are a valued member of the Queen’s community, Orientation Week can help make your University experience much less daunting, whether you’re in first year or fourth year!

Computer Science, Scott Reed 

A1: I will never forget my first meal in Leonard Hall, realizing it was all you can eat and that cereal for dinner was a socially acceptable choice. With so many people around me and so many choices it was overwhelming to decide where to begin!  

A2: We have an event where we run through a corn maze at dusk on the first day of our week. I had only met my peers eight hours ago and we were solving puzzles and relying on each other to overcome the challenge.

A3: Have a positive attitude about all of your events—what you put in is what you get out.

A4: Frosh week is a crash course that will introduce you to many of your peers and the very long list of resources on campus.

A5: University is the first time for many to be the you that you want to be. The connections and experiences you have in Orientation Week will pave the way for whatever lies ahead of you.

Commerce, Holly Seliga

A1: Previously armed with the knowledge of where to go for Sunday brunch—Tommy’s—or a good local meal—Chez Piggy—I discovered there was an incredible amount of learning that remained regarding the nuances of culture and student life at Queen’s.

A2: Near the very beginning of the first day, when all of the incoming students were gathered together in a courtyard donning matching uniforms and as Orientation Leaders filtered in and out of the crowds, I was overwhelmed with a sense of incomparable togetherness.

A3: With other incoming students, Orientation Leaders, or members of the community who you may interact with, be sure that in your conversations, your actions and your presence, you are fully engaged with those you encounter. Give someone the chance to enter your life, and you will be surprised by how many of them forge a permanent residency in your heart.

A4: After O-Week—while we wish it could continue forever—university becomes your own experience. The events and interactions that transpire during it, however, help to provide the infrastructure for success.

A5: The purpose of Orientation Week is to foster friendships, build confidence, and welcome students in a way that reminds them—in a time as tumultuous as the first couple weeks of University—they will always have an unwavering support system on which to rely on. Throughout your remaining first year within Queen’s, Orientation Week will act as a universal experience that binds together all those within your graduating class that participated.

Concurrent Education, Yael Gazit

A2: The most memorable part of my frosh week was participating in the traditions on White’s Farm. That was the day I really bonded with my group, and some of the people I met that day remain my best friends today.

A3:  It is important to have high hopes but still prepare to be surprised. I hoped I would meet new friends and I did, but our friendships formed at times I didn’t expect and with people I didn’t think I would meet.

A4: Queen’s frosh week is unique because it’s organized by students for students, and as a result it provides an experience where people can find role models and support systems within upper years.

A5: The Teaches (leaders) are always there for their group, and many Con-Eddies continue to build the community by going to Con-Ed events like Con-Ed Camp and the Buddy Picnic.

Engineering, Delaney Benoit

A1: My first impression of Queen's was that it was such a welcoming community. Starting from my first tour, to my acceptance, to my first day, I never felt like just a number.

A2: The most memorable part of my frosh week was definitely the Grease Pole climb. Whether you're on the third tier or you're standing outside of the pit, you will be a part of an amazing experience.

A3: The most common barrier I notice in incoming students is that they're nervous about making new friends, about classes, or about fitting in. Whether it takes some self care or some calls home, try to stop worrying and just have fun, whatever that means for you!

A4: You'll meet incoming students and upper years in your faculty, you'll gain an understanding of what’s to come in the next year, and you'll hopefully develop a comfort in your new community through some really exciting and messy events.

A5: I'm in my third year and I still spend time and do events with my frosh group from first year. The Engineering Society hosts events specifically for frosh groups to participate in past frosh week, such as ThunderSleds and ThunderBalls.

First Years Not In Residence (FYNIRS), Robyn Binsfeld

A1: From the moment I first got to FYNIRS orientation I knew that it lived up to it’s reputation of providing a welcoming and tight knit community of students that want to make a difference and have a lot of fun!

A2: Getting to know my FYNIRS frosh group was by far my favourite part. We were able to connect and get to know each other throughout orientation and the year.

A3: Be open to new ideas, getting out of your comfort zone, to meeting people and to the whole experience.

A4: Frosh week is where I made some of my most important connections throughout university. It provides a unique opportunity to meet peers and upper years that can result in great friendships and networks.

A5: Frosh week allows you to make connections with not only students in your year but also upper years. Many students will have the insight on how to get involved in the hundreds of different opportunities on campus.

New, Exchange, Worldly, Transfer Students (NEWTS), Bilal Shaikh

A1: There is an immense sense of school spirit and this in turn leads to students being an excellent support system for other students.

A2: The most memorable part for me was the Welcome Forum. Sitting in the field with thousands of nervous people in similar situations as me seemed a little overwhelming at first. But once I got there and all of the Gaels started dancing, I felt comfortable having Queen’s as my home for the next four years. 

A3: Spend your time appreciating your differences, while finding common ground and creating great memories. This is what coming to Queen’s is all about.

A4: Orientation Week is there to help bridge that transition and to be a support system for you throughout that process. It provides you with useful resources, opportunities to meet new people, and the chance to make new memories.

A5: During Orientation Week, you will learn a lot about the different supports and resources that we have on campus. Once the week ends, these resources are here for you, whatever your questions, concerns or thoughts may be.

Kinesiology – Callum Stephenson

A1. When I arrived at Queen’s, I was immediately taken aback by the beauty of the campus. All of the history behind every building along with the amount of green space calmed my worries and reassured me that I had picked a great university to attend. After O-Week, I truly felt that I had found a family at Queen’s.. I knew I had found a place that I belonged in.

A2. The most memorable part of my orientation week was learning our year dance. There was a high energy level and everyone was laughing as we constantly messed up the moves. Each time we ran through the dance again though, we improved. The first time we completed the dance in its entirety by ourselves was truly a special moment. I still remember seeing the smiles on our leaders faces as we boogied our hearts out to “No Money” by Galantis.

A3. My advice for getting the most out of orientation week is to truly be yourself. Go outside of your comfort zone and just be comfortable with who you are. University is a fresh start where you are going to meet so many new people and I promise that you will form intensely strong friendships with people if you try not to put on a show. Be yourself and don’t conform to what you think people will like, because most of the time the real you is way cooler!

A4. Orientation week is a crucial part of your university experience because it sets up the next four years. The purpose of O-Week is to get you as comfortable as possible for the start of school as possible. You will learn about your campus, faculty, peers and even yourself during O-Week. The friendships may not seem like much within those first few days here at Queen’s, but with time they will blossom into some of the closest friendships you will ever have.

A5. Orientation week does not end once classes start. Your leaders have been hand selected as people that will continue to be a resource to you for your journey on campus. They are people that are always there for you when you need help with school, have questions about extracurriculars, just need a friend to talk to and so much more. The bonds you make with people from orientation week will continue to strengthen in your time here and hopefully, when the time comes you too will want to give back to your faculty and become an orientation leader.

Nursing – Alex Culle

A1. My first impression coming to Queen's was all about the community. From the minute your car drives up on move-in day, you are welcomed by other students who want you to enjoy their experience and want you to appreciate the community just as much as they do. Sure, it was overwhelming but in a good way because you know you made the right choice coming to Queen's. 

A2. My cost memorable part of orientation week for nursing had to be our event called "year dance reveal", when all the nursing years come together and perform their year dance. The dances are so fun, creative and include a special part of every year. Then, we get to all learn the dance and that probably the most fun. You and all your new friends looking silly and having a great time just brings the faculty even closers because the minute that song comes on you know exactly what to do.

A3. My greatest piece of advice is to be you. There is no need to pretend to be something that you aren't. Be goofy and silly and enjoy every moment of it to the fullest. University is a place of finding people with the same passions and interests as you. They will be your people and there is no point in hiding who you are because you are only limiting yourself to the amazing friendships that come from a university experience. 

A4. I think that Frosh Week is such an important part of coming to university because it is a place where you can meet your classmates in a close and inclusive environment. Everyone is in the same situation, it is all new and that's the best part. You and now the people you will spend the next four years with get to know each other through fun games and traditions where there isn't any pressure. It's a time to have fun and let loose before classes get crazy and the stress of midterms kicks in. It is the best time of the year and is a stepping stone for friendships with other incoming students and upper years. 

A5. Frosh week might start with 4 days spent playing in mud but the connections made in that week extend throughout your whole time at Queen's. In nursing each incoming student is paired with an upper year student. This upper year student is a great resource during your first year and the semesters that follow.

The upper year students (capes) are there as a friend, a study partner or a guide to help you navigate your first time in clinical. As well, there is a group of eight upper year students or the Nursing Orientation Committee that are also a great resource for any academic or personal questions. The Nursing community at Queen's is so close and everyone is willing to help each other. Whether it is your specific cape helping you, another first year student or an upper year you met in the library everyone is willing to help and it all starts in frosh week. 

All responses were edited for length and clarity.

Corrections

The original text of this article did not include Alex Culle or Callum Stephenson's answers. It has been updated to reflect their responses.

The Journal regrets the error.

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