The Experts Opinions on the Laurier O-Week Experience

Being a new Golden Hawk means a world of new experiences. We asked our experts on the O-Week Team about what you can expect from O-Week and joining the Laurier Class of 2021!

Rachel Dobbs

Program: Concurrent Education (4th Year)

Position: Residence Life Don

Past O-Week Teams: Blue Glacians; Red Rogues (Residence Life Don)

“I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to get involved in Residence Life this past year working as a Don. My experience with Orientation Week has been though my own first year as well as this past year when I was able to watch my students bond and grow through their own O-Week!

As a first year, O-Week helped me make lasting connections with my roommates, peers and upper years that were my Icebreakers. I came to Laurier with a goal to be more outgoing and open to new challenges; O-Week was one of the biggest influencers in achieving that goal. Coming from a small town, O-Week gave me new leadership opportunities that led to me applying to a First Year Leadership Program (FYLP), which was the Residence Athletic Council (RAC). RAC is a leadership position for students living in residence to create programming and events for their peers! RAC focused on promoting healthy lifestyles and we ran events like ball hockey tournaments and bubble soccer!

My latest experience with O-Week was second-hand and I couldn’t have stolen those moments with more pride. I was able to see how important the moments were to my students. The amount of fun my students had lasted long throughout the semester when I would knock on their door at 2am asking them to chant their O-Week cheer a little quieter (for sanity and sleep’s sake!). They were able to start friendships in an open and fun environment. My community in residence had two floors, which makes everyone meeting each other somewhat of a challenge, but with the help of the Icebreakers my community became one of the closest I knew of. O-Week is a phenomenal experience for first years, as that first week is so important for the connections you will make at Laurier. You don’t have to find a forever friend during O-Week, but having a group of people who have the same interests as you will go a long way in helping you through the more stressful parts of your year!

Orientation Week allows you to explore interests and make countless connections with peers, as well as gain valuable support from your Icebreakers. Being able to watch my students living exciting opportunities, and watching their personalities blossom was incredibly rewarding. I couldn’t imagine starting their year any other way!”

Marena Silli

Program: Digital Media & Journalism (2nd Year)

Position: Icebreaker

Past O-Week Teams: Red Rogues

“My Orientation Week experience was a little bit different than some people’s. Of course, it was my first time being away from friends and family. All of my friends from high school chose to go to the same universities as each other whereas I was the only one at Laurier. I found it difficult to adapt and I struggled to put myself out there. Halfway through Orientation Week, I had an anxiety attack at one of the main events. An icebreaker pulled me aside and sat with me until the event was over. She reminded me that if I ever felt uncomfortable again, to just speak to any Icebreaker. Sure enough, I turned to another Icebreaker the next day as I was feeling out of place. He took that time to get to know me and asked about my interests. After hearing about my love for dance, he suggested I audition for the dance team as well as perform at talent night. Even though I was extremely nervous, I listened to his advice and put together a routine for that evening. The second my music stopped, members from the dance team came running over to me, begging me to join the dance team. So I did! If it weren’t for the Icebreakers I spoke to during Orientation Week, I would not be where I am today.

The reason I chose to join the O-Week team is because I hope I can make a difference in the lives of first year students, just like the Icebreakers did for me in my first week. The relationships formed during O-Week are indescribable. Orientation Week is an amazing experience and an important part of building friendships, which is why everyone should take part.”

Michael Del Bono

Program: Criminology (4th Year)

Position: Icebreaker

Past O-Week Teams: Green Tritons; Gold Argonauts (Icebreaker); Red Rogues (Icebreaker)

“In my first year at Laurier, I made the best decision I had ever made by registering for Orientation Week. Nervous, anxious, uncertain, and awkward, I picked up my room keys on move-in day, saying goodbye to my family and saying hello to countless strangers. All of a sudden, my parents were gone and I was introducing myself to the Green Tritons, the team that I was placed on for O-Week. If only I had known the kind of family they would become to me in such a short amount of time. After only 3 days, I was cheering, screaming and shouting chants alongside my teammates as we went from exciting event to exciting event. By the time the week was over, all I could do was appreciate and take in all of the incredible experiences and people I’d met. One of the first things that O-Week showed me is just how fast complete strangers can become close friends, mentors, and even family.

When closing ceremonies began, I knew right away that I wanted to volunteer for O-Week in the next year so that, maybe, I can become to first years what my Icebreakers became to me. It would be an opportunity for me to relive the week that had changed my life. Personally, O-Week didn’t just affect my Laurier experience. In fact, it created my Laurier experience by preparing, welcoming, and inspiring me to become the best man, student, and Golden Hawk that I can be. Not only did I meet and connect with hundreds of other people in the same hectic and nerve-racking situation as me, transitioning into university, I also grew the confidence and drive that I needed to find myself during that time.

To this day, almost everyone I know has a special and unique memory from their O-Week. You get what you put into it, but you’ll receive so much more than the price of admission. If you register for Orientation Week, I promise that, one day, you’ll look back on and reminisce in the special and unique memories that you were able to create.”

Jessie Chao

Program: Social Work (3rd Year)

Position: Go Team

Past O-Week Teams: Red Infernos

“Orientation Week has shaped my life as a Golden Hawk. As a first year, I was new to the city, its community and its lifestyle. Attending Orientation Week allowed me to connect with peers and Icebreakers from all over the campus, who eventually became my family, mentors and inspiration. Seeing the O-Week volunteers’ love and passion for Laurier made me fell in love with the school spirit. Orientation Week opened many doors for me: it put me in contact with members of clubs, councils and faculty staff; it got me involved with the Students’ Union; it empowered me with the opportunities and connections to make of my university experience exactly what I wanted it to be; and it made Brantford my home. Every day counts when it comes to planning your future. By attending Orientation Week, you have nothing to lose and much to gain.

Here are my top five reasons why ALL first year students should sign up for Orientation Week:

  1. Orientation Week not only helps first year students to integrate with the Laurier community but the Brantford community as well.
  2. You have the opportunity to expand your connections. By attending Orientation Week, you will meet other Laurier students, upper year students, those staying in different residence buildings as well as off-campus students.
  3. Orientation Week allow students to get comfortable with their new environment through team based games and develop new support systems as they transition into a new chapter in life away from home.
  4. Orientation Week provides students many fun and engaging activities that allow you to step out of your comfort zone.
  5. Just do it, trust me on this one ;)”