If you’re a freshman and this is your first week at UCSB, stop reading this.
Seriously, if you continue past this sentence, you’ve already squandered valuable moments of what I would call the single best week of your life – a shining moment in what will forever afterward be a dank existence weighted down by work and responsibility.
Go ahead and laugh. Maybe your parents have told you that college is the best time of your life. And maybe, if your parents didn’t go to college, they told you high school is the best time of your life. And still, if your parents didn’t go to high school, they may have told you that barefoot-in-the-haystacks cousin sex is the best experience of one’s life.
They’re all wrong.
I guarantee that the seven-day stretch you’re about to begin, the UCSB Week of Welcome, will burn itself into your memory as the absolute happiest you’ll ever remember being. Even though this week’s alcohol consumption and booze flood will no doubt be repeated over the next four years, Week of Welcome triumphs over all other memories.
Essentially, the UCSB Week of Welcome – which abbreviates nicely to UCSB WOW – amounts to an end-of-summer beer camp-cum-singles mixer, free of the strain of study and toil. No parents, no teachers and hopefully none of the kids who remember the unfortunate childhood incident that earned you the nickname “Poo Pants.” You’ve made it out, and now it’s time to celebrate with your new peers.
Now, if you’re a newbie and you’re already on this paragraph, you’ve ignored my initial advice. Fine. But as long as I’ve snagged you into this corner of the newspaper page, please don’t ignore the following bits of super-senior Week of Welcome wisdom.
Don’t pine for your friends from back home. Display a snapshot of your clique in your high school graduation gowns if you must, but don’t mope. They’re all dead to you now, save drunken dials, instant messaging and Winter Break. “Saved by the Bell” ended, my friend. Venture out instead.
Maybe you’re the shy type, but that’s no excuse to be the invisible floormate. Push yourself to make the hall rounds with the whole “hi-who-where-what’s your major?” dialogue. As painful as that boilerplate introduction may seem, it stings twice as badly having it in March and preceded by “Oh, you live on this floor too?”
As you make your howdy rounds, however, remember that Week of Welcome means first impressions. Make sure you get a feeling for new dorm etiquette – or, if you will, the mores of the floor – because violating these rules can stick you with a stigma way worse than Poo Pants. Puke in the common area before you even make it to DP, for example, and you’re a lightweight for life.
Finally, if I could impress one point into your comparatively wrinkle-free brains, it would be to think of something cool to say during the introduction icebreakers during your first floor meeting. Standard procedure: Say your name, where you’re from, your major – if you have one – and something interesting about yourself. It’s that last part – the “something interesting” – that can do you in forever. One girl on my floor unwisely chose, “I know how to walk on stilts,” and became forever known as “that fucking goddamn stilts girl.”
And finally, if the thought of all this revelry, socializing and sun-dappled fun sours your stomach, I have one last bit of advice. Transfer. If you can’t tough it out through Week of Welcome, there’s this place called Westmont that’s just up the street. Things are a little more low-key there. I’d see if they still have any open space.
Now go out and get wow all over yourself.
Drew Mackie is a Daily Nexus columnist.