Updated: Sep 14, 2019
Overwhelming Options - Taking Advantage of What McMaster Offers During Welcome Week
Welcome Week is an exciting time, but it can be overwhelming. There are so many activities offered each day, and some of them overlap, so how do you know which ones to participate in? This is exactly how I felt during my Welcome Week. I wanted to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible, but found it difficult to even choose the events I wanted to go to. Pro tip: keep the Welcome Week schedule up on your phone so you don’t miss anything exciting: https://studentsuccess.mcmaster.ca/welcome-week/schedule/.
After reflecting on my Welcome Week, I think the best thing you can do during your Welcome Week is to think about what you want to get out of it. If you know that classes and schoolwork are your biggest fears coming into university, then maybe look at the academic-based activities. If you like high energy activities, then look for those. If you’re worried about meeting people-don’t! No matter what type of event you go to, you will make connections by just saying ‘hi’ and introducing yourself. Take advantage of the activities offered to address your fears, have fun, and push yourself a little bit out of your comfort zone.
On that note, coming to university can be a big transition. Maybe just coming to campus is far out of your comfort zone. Know yourself and know your limits. If you need a day to relax, take that time for yourself, call home or a friend, or just sit and watch Netflix. The beauty of Welcome Week is that you can customize it to do as much, or as little, as you want to!
Finally, use the reps that you will see in their bright and colourful jumpsuits across campus and in your residence or at Off-Campus events . In my first year, a residence rep spent 40 minutes just chatting with me and a friend, answering all of our questions and easing our nerves. All the reps are here to help you in whatever way you need!
I hope all of you participate in Welcome Week in some capacity. We’re all super excited to
welcome you to the McMaster community!
- Sara Marshall, Psychology, Neuroscience, Behaviour Level III
One, we are from Mac
It was September of last year when I was done with my Welcome Week. At the time, I was
looking for a way to reflect on my experiences and appreciate all the amazing reps. So I decided to write the article below for McMaster University’s Silhouette Newspaper:
All through the summer, I was thinking about my transition to McMaster University. I thought about meeting people, finding friends, learning lessons and getting advice. Welcome Week painted all of my thoughts with a colour of reality. It started with hearing customized chants during move-in day and it ended with jumping up and down at the Majid Jordan’s concert.
Welcome Week would not be alive without its empathetic, energetic and earnest representatives who were the authors of numerous valuable lessons. Most of them highlighted the significance of getting involved with the McMaster community. As well, they all reiterated the fact that being a student should always be my first priority during my time at university. In addition, the sessions held by the Student Success Centre taught me that asking for help does not signify weakness. Students should use all the resources available to them, so that they can get the most out of their time at McMaster University. To name a few of these resources, I was introduced to the Student Wellness Centre and the Student Health Education Centre, which their main purpose is to become an oasis for students during any physical or mental illnesses.
Equally important, I believe that Welcome Week was the most successful in helping students
like me to feel less homesick. As an only child, I could never imagine that I would feel welcome in any other place except my own home. Nevertheless, Welcome Week taught me and all of its participants that home is not a place. It is a feeling that stems from love, friendship and respect. This happened through a myriad of icebreaker events such as Mac Connector and Faculty Fusion, which created a sense of belonging between the first years as they felt a part of the 2022 family.
After all, classes have started and all first years have officially become a Marauder. The events of Welcome Week have most certainly prepared students for their first year and eased their transition from their high school or home country to McMaster University. Now it is the time for the students to utilize their learned lessons as a means to success so that we all can proudly say: one, we are from Mac, two, a little bit louder, three, I still can’t hear you, four more more more.
- Kian Yousefi Kousha, Honours Neuroscience II
Why Welcome Week Was the Best!
Welcome Week is an amazing opportunity to meet new people, learn about what McMaster has to offer, and get settled into your new academic and social home. For some, this is the perfect opportunity to have fun, but for others, they might find the idea of Welcome Week nerve- wracking or daunting.
It’s true, Welcome Week is a huge event at McMaster. But, I’m here to tell you that it may not be as scary as it seems. Last year, when I attended my own Welcome Week, I missed my move in day – I was on vacation and didn’t return to Canada until the Monday of Welcome Week. I am a very outgoing person, so I was not as stressed as many others may have been, but I did have doubts here and there about my ability to merge into the program when I arrived to campus late.
My nerves were not needed, when I showed up to Matthews Hall with my van full of stuff, I had 7 Residence Reps waiting to help me move-in. It was the best first-impression I could have gotten, and they caught me up on what I missed, and what I should expect. Right away, I was introduced to many friendly faces, many of whom have become my best friends at McMaster.
I spent the week learning and growing as an individual. Every activity which I attended, which was as many of them as possible, I began to feel more and more at home. I never felt pressured to do anything, and everyone had a big smile the whole week.
I not only made friends in first year, but I also met many upper year students, specifically from the Sciclones team (i.e. the Faculty of Science Representatives). They became my biggest support team, and I knew I could count on them if I needed help. Throughout all of first-year my Science Reps were there for me, and up to this day I still talk to them, and these mentor/mentee relationships have flourished into what I believe to be friendships.
Overall, my biggest advice for Welcome Week is to attend as much of it as possible. I would
wake up and be out of my residence at 9am, and I would return in the late evening. I knew that
this was my chance to learn about McMaster in a stress-free way, and I wanted to maximize
that opportunity. I know many people who regret not attending more of Welcome Week, which is why I cannot stress enough the importance of this event. I found it one of the most memorable experiences of my first year. And, as a Sciclone myself this year, I can’t wait to see you all and meet you all during Welcome Week!
Good luck with any packing/university preparation you have planned, and enjoy the rest of your summer.
- Jessica Moreira, Molecular Biology and Genetics II
Welcome Week- A Week to Remember
Whether it be from an upper year student, or fellow incoming first years, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about Welcome Week, better known as ‘frosh week’ to some. Two
misconceptions you may have heard about this well-known week are that it is filled with ‘parties,’ or that you are guaranteed to meet your best friends for all of university – this isn’t exactly true.
To some this week is a dream, but to others, including myself, it sounded a little overwhelming. As a student coming to a university when all of my friends went to one far, far away, I felt excited to take on a new chapter in my life, but scared to do it alone. I quickly found out that this week was, in fact, much more than ‘partying’ and meeting your future university besties.
One of the first things I learned was that it is okay to not meet your best friends at Welcome
Week. This is not the only time you have in university to make friends. The people I became
incredibly close with, I met in the basement of my residence, when I didn’t want to study alone, through extra-curricular activities, and people I had as lab partners. I was a little late to the game when my parents decided to take me back home to Brampton after moving my stuff in, and returning for Welcome Week on Sunday night, only to find everyone already in groups grabbing food and hanging out together. I panicked. Did I lose my chance to make friends? Many activities throughout the week will allow you to briefly interact with hundreds of students in various programs and faculties (i.e. MacConnector), and it’s okay if you don’t create relationships with them. You have so much time in the world to make friends, meet new people, try new things.
Another thing I learned is that it's okay if you do not want to participate in some of the activities. ‘Challenge by choice’ is a term you’ll hear numerous times, and it’s your free decision to sit out of activities that you’re not comfortable or interested in doing. There are so many things going on within the span of a week, that you physically are unable to attend all of the events. Pick and choose what you want to do, and give yourself the time to rest, heal, and relax. When I was feeling homesick at night, I ended up going back to my room, putting on some nice pajamas, heating up some of my mom’s lasagna, and watching a few episodes of Jane the Virgin under the covers. If I wasn't up for early morning activities, I would give myself the time to sleep in, and attend some of the programs in the late morning and beyond. The great thing about Welcome Week is that you can cater your week to be about you, and what you want to do, learn, and achieve.
Everyone’s Welcome Week experience is different, and it’s not always necessarily the best
week of their lives due to various reasons. However, there is so much to do, and something for everyone, that it is definitely a week to help you grow, learn, and transition to this new chapter in your life, and no matter where you come from, you have a whole village ready to welcome you to your new home.
- Areeba Sharafuddin, Honours Biology III