The Humanoids: Guide to O-Week 2010

It’s that time of year again for the soon-to-be denizens of The University of Western Ontario. Time to load up the overly expensive SUVs and move into residence for their first year at UWO. That means Frosh Week is here again. Of course, the frosh don’t have much of an idea of what they’re in for over the next stretch. Having done this once before and witnessing it on three more occasions, I think I have a handle on what’s important for the frosh to know as they head to London and UWO.

The Ceeps/Barney’s Patio
The heart and soul of Richmond Row for the UWO crowd is The Ceeps. Just about everyone that went to Western over the 120 years that The Ceeps has been open has gone there for a drink or to hang out. This is every UWO student’s second home. If you have a decent fake ID (or are 19), this is a place that you have to check out sooner rather than later. Just a few things to remember: If you’re there much after 9:00 on a Friday or Saturday, prepare to wait in line. It’s a real bitch if it’s winter and you decide not to wear a coat to avoid paying for the coat check. You’re only really going to get proper use out of Barney’s Patio in September and April. The weather might be passable in October and March but just remember that Barney’s packs up faster than The Ceeps.

Dry
Sorry to follow up that last one with this but “dry” is the real theme of O-Week. After O-Week 2005, which was mine, coincidentally, UWO and/or the USC decided that frosh puking all over the place, tearing up walls and smashing beer bottles wasn’t quite the “welcoming” experience they wanted for students… Or, more likely, their parents. So you guys have to suffer to for the sake of appearances. But the good news is that you can drink beer in residence… In a room, from cans and only if you’re 19 or older. But for now, the Wave, the Spoke, the Grad Club and Richmond Row are your only options to get shit-faced. Check the schedule for your first chance to get away for a bit.

The Gazette
The archnemesis of pompous radio types (as I once was) because they control the media at Western. In my experience, it seems as though around half to two-thirds of students will pick up the Gazette on a regular basis. I don’t have a problem with that. After all, it’s the only real source for on campus news even though you have to sift through some pointless articles and everything’s at least a couple days behind and more than half the paper is advertising. That all and I still haven’t forgiven them for campaigning for Steve Lecce’s presidential bid for the 2008-09 term. Anyway, if you want to find out what’s going down on campus, this is the best place to go. And don’t worry if they’re out of copies at their stands. There’ll always be copies on the floor of your lecture hall.

Western Mustangs
The Stangs have a few good teams in some reasonably convenient locations for you to enjoy. For example, the football team has already kicked off its season. They’re in a wide open race for the Yates Cup (Ontario university football title – keep that in mind if you’re planning on being a campus tour guide) along with archnemesis Queen’s as well as McMaster and Ottawa. But there’s more than football on campus. You can find hockey, basketball, volleyball, soccer, rugby and more on campus. The good news is that apart from Homecoming and playoff games, you can get into all the games for free. Sure playoff games are obscenely expensive once you get around to them but that’s why the Mustangs stream their games online and Rogers TV is there to broadcast them if you can get near a TV. And expect there to be playoff games, especially with hockey and football. Keep an eye out for baseball at Labatt Park in downtown London while you’re at it. I never got to a ball game, mostly because I was covering football, and have regretted since I graduated.

Lectures
I took a look at this year’s O-Week and UWO schedules and saw how royally hosed frosh were while I was at Western. This year’s frosh don’t have any lectures during O-Week. In fact, the frosh don’t have to worry about classes until the 13th (the Monday after Labour Day). It used to be that we couldn’t even get Family Day as an extra day off. They moved Reading Week to the same week as Family Day so they wouldn’t lose any lectures but giving everyone a whole week to spend at the Ceeps is ridiculous. And, yes, I’m only saying all this out of total bitterness. Anyway, the important to remember about lectures is to go to the first couple to figure out what sort of prof you have. If he recites the textbook or reads easily downloadable slides verbatim, the lectures suddenly become optional. Of course, it’s probably a good idea to get through the first midterm to find out where the questions come from before deciding to skip lecture. And don’t sit in the front but don’t sit in the back either. Sit about three-quarters of the way from the front and a couple in from the aisle so you blend in with the crowd so the prof doesn’t notice you sleeping or otherwise not paying attention.

The Book Store
Oh, yeah. You might need a couple of those if you’re going to Western. I say might because some people, such as myself, don’t really bother with the textbook and prefer lecture notes to study from. The problem is that you will likely run into at least one prof who sideswipes you with stuff from the text that wasn’t covered in the lectures or a prof that couldn’t give a lecture to save his life. So going to the book store probably isn’t such a bad idea. The first question is should you go to the used book store or the proper book store? Well, if you go early in the year, you’ll be able to find what you need at the Used Book Store. Go too late and good luck. Also, always look for highlighting and notes in the margin of a used book. Those make your life very easy. New books are more expensive and have less notes. However, at the start of the year, the Used Book Store has a longer line. Your call but I think you’re better off getting the used books. Just make sure to check the damn textbook list before you go.

Western Libraries
You can also find a good number of textbooks at libraries. But there are other reasons to go to the library. You can pick up books for papers or you can study there. I’ve never liked the library. It seems so serious and oppressive being there. I’m less productive at the library than I was in my room with a TV show on or whatever else to distract me. People in the library are usually very high strung so you can feel that negative energy in the air (or some anti-library bullshit like that). If you have to go to the library to study, might I suggest the Education Library? It’s the quietest of the bunch. It’s also the smallest of the bunch so tables will be hard to come by. As for the usual hangouts, Weldon and Taylor, their only redeeming qualities is that they have Starbucks instead of Timmy’s.

Down With Webster
Never heard of them. Hell, I was on the campus radio station for five years and never heard of these guys once and they played some pretty obscure bands. I tried listening to their song Your Man and Rich Girl$. They were different than your standard radio fare… And that’s all I can really say about DWW. Not my cup of tea. I don’t know whether to describe them as hip hop or pop. Granted, most top 40 stations would have you think that they’re one and the same. In my O-Week, we had Sam Roberts. And that’s Sam Roberts when he was big. DWW haven’t even had a top ten hit in Canada, let alone on a proper hit list. It looks like the USC is spending their money on other things this year. Seriously, did they call Rick Astley? He’d never give anyone up or let anyone down.

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