Blog & Insights

Surviving O Week: What to expect and how to get through it

Orientation Week. One whole entire week dedicated to showcasing your new university campus at it’s best. Seriously, how much fun is that? For some, the anticipation and excitement is almost unbearable. For others, it can feel more like an ominous deadline approaching at speed.

If you’re not sure how to get the best out of O Week or even what specifically it can offer you, here’s what to expect – and how to handle it.

What exactly is O Week?

O Week is that time-honoured ritual right at the start of the academic year when each university hosts a week of fun activities to kick off the first semester. Originally aimed at new students, O Week usually runs one week before the official start of term and is a way of helping students connect with their new university.

The unis embrace this opportunity in true festival spirit with older students hosting a wide range of stalls, games and activities – with plenty of freebies handed out along the way! Lecturers will also make an appearance and join in the fun, before they put their sensible faces back on and the real work kicks in. O Week is a great way to orientate yourself around campus, meet new people and hopefully make some friends along the way. But most importantly it’s about having fun without pressure and embracing the spirit of the event.

Why do it?

The prospect of all the parties and social interaction can leave some people feeling anxious or just uninterested, but there are many benefits to taking part – especially for new arrivals. So before you return to your room, here’s 5 reasons to go to O Week.

  1. O Week is the perfect time to meet other fresh faces and make new friends. Everybody is in the same situation and will be open to new conversations and new beginnings. You never know who you might come across at the giant Jenga game – and if networking is your thing, then look no further, you’ll find plenty of opportunities here.
  2. University is all about taking on new experiences and pushing yourself outside that comfort zone. Challenge yourself to sign up to some fun clubs and societies even they sit completely outside your core interests – there will be plenty of others doing exactly the same thing. And if you end up quitting, you may have met some friends along the way.
  3. Campus tours are one of the most popular activities during O Week, and also a good way to locate important facilities like medical and student services that you may well need later on in the semester. It’s also the perfect time to pester those 3rd years with all your burning questions. Don’t be that student who is continually late to lectures, or still can’t find the library in week 3. Stop the procrastinating and take the tour.
  4. O Week is also a good time to seek out your faculty representation and meet others on the same course before the lectures start. There’s nothing like a friendly face smiling up at you in a room full of strangers and you may even come across a professor or two that are happy to have a chat.
  5. It’s all laid on for you, so what’s not to love? No longer the domain of new starters, O Week attracts students from all years keen to get involved and have some fun. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Many others are in exactly the same boat and will have the same sets of concerns.
What to look for?

If the schedule of events is looking a little overwhelming, pick it all apart and just find the bits that suit you. Fun times aside, there is some very useful resource information handed out at O Week including how to use the library, where to find support services and even sessions on referencing, and research tools. There may even be some essential workshops that are considered compulsory so make sure you understand what if anything is expected of you in advance of starting your study.

Take time to nose around the event planner for the parts that will really benefit you going forwards, and everything else is the cherry on top that can be dipped into at your leisure.

What to avoid?

Stay chilled and don’t cram pack your schedule with every single event. You’ll end up feeling exhausted just as real work begins. Enjoy the party atmosphere but stick to your principles and beliefs – and don’t do anything you don’t agree with. Try to seek out like-minded people with similar attitudes and you won’t have to compromise on your own. And if you don’t meet your new best friends at O Week, don’t panic. There’s plenty of time and opportunity ahead of you. The fun is just beginning!

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