The O-Week experience
Many college freshmen from all over the country will greet this upcoming week with fear and excitement as they enter their new homes for the next few years in a ceremony that is aptly titled, “Orientation Week.” Duke students are no stranger to this phenomenon, and the tradition is so cherished here that it has even garnered its own nickname: “O-Week.”
For current students, the week is whispered about in hushed tones and thrown out as an excuse for any questionable behavior. “After all, it was O-Week,” you might hear around campus as a justification for almost anything. The term “O-Week friend” is one you will use for years to come, describing a girl you might pass in the hallway and vaguely recognize or a boy you spent hours talking with that whole week only to never see again. Whether good or bad, these are the sad facts of college orientation week.
So, as per editorial board tradition, let us give you some advice to make the transition a little bit easier. You now know the lingo but here are the insider tips.
During convocation, try to get a seat inside the Chapel as far up as you can. Otherwise you will hear disembodied voices giving somewhat rousing speeches about what it means to be a freshman at the greatest university on Earth and have no idea who they are or what they look like. Later you will learn this is the closest you could ever get to President Brodhead.
Go to at least some of the suggested events. Duke will never give you this much free stuff again, and the T-shirts you get from O-Week may become your staple wardrobe for the rest of freshman year. Or at least your “I-didn’t-have-time-to-do-laundry this month” clothing. (This will become more common than you think.)
Don’t sleep. Or, more importantly, don’t forego socialization to sleep. You can sleep when you’re in college, by which we mean, if you intended to get sleep at Duke, you came to the wrong university. You will not sleep for the next four years, and O-Week is a great indoctrination to this fascinatingly frustrating way of life.
Have fun! Just because O-Week friends exist doesn’t mean real friends can’t come from the experience. Get to know your freshman dorm, the Quad, the bus system, your classrooms and your fellow students. You will grow to love these people, even if they just look like strangers initially. Ask your parents to stay in their hotel room more than they want to and give them a nice hug goodbye when it’s time for them to leave. Remember, you have the next four years to love this place and this is just the beginning.
Editor's Note: This editorial was written by members of staff rather than The Chronicle's independent editorial board.