So this is it: the day after labour day. The end of summer. The ramping up of the new school year. And with it come a myriad of feelings: excitement, nervousness, and the odd moment of oh-my-god-what-am-I-doing-here anxiety.
I’ll admit that I just had a hit of the latter on my walk through campus this morning. There, gathered on lawns, wearing matching T-shirts and coordinated knee-socks, were tightly coiled packs of chanting, gesticulating and generally undulating undergraduates. Queen’s, if you haven’t noticed yet, doesn’t hold back when it comes to indoctrinating incoming students (and if you haven’t seen the engineers in action yet, you’ve got something to look forward to).
In fact, as I write this, a large group of students wearing short-shorts and upside down sun visors are setting up on the grass in City Park (my balcony provides the perfect view) for what will clearly be an afternoon of cheer-learning, game playing, and opportunities for getting soaked with your new Best Friends. A giant, tri-colour letter ‘Q’ fabricated out of helium balloons is set up at the centre of it like an alter for school spirit worship. Facebook, get ready for the updates.
Forgive me for sounding a little less than enthusiastic, but the first week back can be a little trying for graduate students. Like the undergrads, we are also students at the fine institution they are celebrating with their hip thrusting dances and week-long group-think. It’s easy, however, to feel like we’ve been forgotten in this first week of hilarity and matching t-shirts. In fact, there are more than 3,000 graduate students at Queen’s – all of us doing interesting things worthy of celebrating. If you’re new here: welcome. Please rest assured — things will get better once the undergraduates start to run out of energy and forget their chants (and if you’re back for another year, welcome to you, too!).
Tomorrow (Wednesday, September 8th) the School of Graduate Studies will be hosting a Welcome & Orientation event for new grad students (and for those of us looking for a little back-to-school guidance) from 8:30 – 10:30am. If you’re in the city, it’s a good chance to meet a few people, and to get acquainted with some of the services available on-campus for graduate students. I’ll be there with my notebook, looking to talk to a few incoming students about their thoughts so far… I look forward to seeing you there!