orientation week

Topics: Alcohol

The following sample essay on orientation week about college and university students.

Alcohol is a big factor that many freshmen use as a way to loosen up and let off anxiety during the first couple of weeks while trying to make friends, socializing, and getting use to the new environment. For some people, it is their first time away from home and in terms free from their parents rules and guidelines. For many, the first week starting university is a party week, drinking alcohol before socializing.

Alcohol has always been a part of university culture. For some, it is considered a right of passage, for others it is considered a necessity to survive and make friends. An article in the Dalhousie Gazette looked at the typical behaviour that students at other universities partake in during their first few weeks. It is comparable to the typical response of students and their alcohol consumption that studies have proved. While alcohol is not consumed by all students during O-Week, it is popular to see.

An article in the Dalhousie Gazette, titled What a Party written by Samantha Brennan for the issue published on September 19, 1985 discussed the history at many different orientation weeks at other universities in Canada and its relation to freshmen drinking alcohol. It takes the social effects the o-week has on freshmen when they first set foot on their university territory. Samantha discusses the relationship that alcohol has played on social interactions among different students at different universities during that exciting week.

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It uses examples from Concordia University, Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, Wilfred Laurier University, and Ryerson University (Brennan, 1985, pg. 9). While it does mention that there are activities in the day that do get people socializing, it is the events at night where students living in residence drink the most and is often a blur of events for them (Brennan, 1985, pg. 9). Each university had an event that inspired some people to look at orientation week and consider emphasizing events that are alcohol free.

At Concordia University, it was a broken beer bottled that caused the death of a student through a slit in his throat (Brennan, 1985, pg. 9). At Carleton University, a student was found dead in the Rideau canal (Brennan, 1985, pg. 9). At Ryerson University, a student died by jumping off a ferry and hitting his head on a piece of wood in the water (Brennan, 1985, pg. 9). At Wilfred Laurier University, one student was pushed under a bus and crushed by the wheels, two other students pushed under were left with broken legs (Brennan, 1985, pg. 9). Further into the article, it discusses how campus deaths in the United States are taken seriously, with about eighteen states who had legislation to reduce the amount of deaths that could be stopped by making hazing punishable of jail time or a fine (Brennan, 1985, pg. 9). The legislation was created by the mother of a child who had died from alcohol poisoning during a fraternity hazing at Alfred University (Brennan, 1985, pg. 9). The article finishes with hopes that students will realize the impacts that alcohol has and the dangers that come with it. It tells how the universities in Ottawa emphasized non-alcoholic events while breweries could be to blame with their advertising and of supplying the alcohol for fun times (Brennan, 1985, pg. 9). The article concludes by saying that the only way change will happen is if students change, although the change is easy to see that it is needed.

There have been many studies that have documented university students and their alcohol consumption. One study discusses the culture associated with drinking in university. Whereas other articles compare drinking during orientation week and drinking throughout the rest of the school year. Drinking for college and university students is viewed as part of the experience in total (Tan, 2012, pg. 120). While drinking is not harmful, it can cause harm either if it progresses to binge drinking or drinking games or if it leads to becoming an alcoholic. It is also seen as a way to be socially accepted, whether that be by just making friends or by just creating an identity within the community (Tan, 2012, pg. 121). Typically, those who drink all aspire to get drunk.

That is because it represents traits that people see as being more like university life behaviour. Those include risk taking, having fun, while also revealing sexual attraction (Tan, 2012, pg. 121). It gives students the sense of community. It has come to the expectation to drink in university. Heavy drinking is typically seen to boost the identity of oneself to their peers while people who do no drink seem as outcasts to the popularity, needing justify their reason for not drinking (Tan, 2012, pg. 127). Some people feel that the encouragement of binge drinking should change and that it should not be a part of university life (Tan, 2012, pg. 127). While a few drinks are okay, the continuance and rapid consumption of alcohol as a way to give yourself an identity should be stopped. Drinking helps people so they can socialize more. It creates the ability to disconnect to the typical self and helps people feel like they can fit in (Tan, 2012, pg. 128). People let loose and feel more relaxed which can help them socialize more. Drinking in university is a form of a ritual that people feel the need to take part in in order to be accepted and have an identity.

Consuming alcohol during orientation week is viewed as a socially acceptable behaviour. Drinking in a careless way is more predominant in students during orientation week as it is usually seen as a more relaxed week without worries about assignments or other school commitments. Students start off with orientation week by consuming a ton of alcohol, probably more than they should (Riordan, 2019, pg. 37). Orientation week is viewed to have drinking as the primary focus for students, with drinking before each event a common practice (Riordan, 2019, pg. 37). Alcohol is consumed more in a less safe way than before university and post first-year. Students are less likely to alternate their alcohol with water or to eat before drinking during orientation week (Riordan, 2019, pg. 37). But first year students are not the only ones taking part in drinking an absurd amount during orientation week. Students in other classes consume just as much alcohol, if not more during orientation week (Riordan, 2019, pg. 37). Students are more likely to take part in rowdy behaviour in their first few weeks at university than their counterparts who do not attend university.

Dalhousie university is considered of the top 10 university schools that party the most (Maclean, 2018). This means that Dalhousie students are supposed to take pride when drinking. Being in the top 10 is meant to give the students pride in that it is a defining characteristic of the schools identity (Tan, 2012, pg. 128). However, orientation week this year was dry (Silva, 2018). No alcohol at all for anyone on campus. No events had the option of having alcohol. A dry orientation week was inspired by the disaster that was caused by homecoming the year before (Silva, 2018). People got too drunk, so they decided to prevent any possible cases like that and make orientation week dry.

While it is possible to see how alcohol consumption has changed over the years, the activity surrounding orientation week and the consumption of alcohol surrounding it has not changed in a drastic amount. Students during the 80s still took part in rowdy behaviour while intoxicated. The behaviour was only more promoted with activites and promotion surrounding the events and alcohol, while the need to relax and become more acceptable among their peers also encouraged alcohol consumption. While universities back then could not do much to limit the amount consumed during orientation week, universities in the present are taking precautions by placing rules and trying to make orientation week dry. Looking at the past and its circumstances promoted the need to make changes in order to keep their students safe.

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orientation week. (2019, Dec 02). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/orientation-week-best-essay/

orientation week
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