O-Week: Too many activities, too little time?

Students complain of jam-packed schedule

Coleman Martinson

“Yeah, we met during O-Week,” is a common phrase heard throughout the school year from students of all ages on campus. Orientation Week, commonly referred to as O-Week, prepares the first-year class for the college life that lies ahead and introduces the new Generals to the many resources available on campus.

Most students, however, do not remember every planned activity that week. They look back to their first week of college and remember the long days of meetings and long nights of fun along with the stress associated with the confusing schedule.

“It was a good way to become acclimated to a quick-paced routine of college,”  Lizzie Figueiras, ‘21, said. “All the activities had a warm and welcoming energy from the W&L community.”

Depending on who you ask, O-Week has different purposes. To the school administration, the week is viewed as a time to introduce students to the available resources on campus and to help prepare them for the academic year that lies ahead.

Upperclassmen view the week as a time to meet and welcome the first-year class to campus and college life.

“The whole week brings home what it means to be a W&L student,” Bryan Jun, ‘19, said. “The programming is exhaustive. And, ultimately, it goes to partying.”

The nightly programming not on the official orientation schedule, that is the social and partying aspect of Orientation Week, has somewhat mixed reviews. Some believe that the week has too much social pressure to go out, while others disagree.

“There wasn’t really any social pressure to go out,” Claudia Barnett, ‘22, said. “Everyone is just trying to meet as many new people as possible.”

A lot of the socialization between first-years and upperclassmen is nearly nonexistent during the day  because first-years have an activity planned around every corner, from a tour of the Traveller route to Voices of W&L.

“It really feels like a blur with how much was packed into one week,” Ella Powers, ‘22, said.

When looking back at Orientation Week, students just remember the strict schedule and the very little free time throughout the day.

“Freshmen need a break, too,” Anna Daccache, ‘19, said.

Looking back at the O-Week schedule, it seems that some of the more important events and discussions are overlooked and forgotten because of the irrelevant and unnecessary activities; in other words, the frustration outshines the importance.

Not all of O-Week is unnecessary. In fact, it is what makes Washington and Lee University so unique. The Honor System orientation and the bystander intervention training are among many of the required events and lectures that are fundamental for first-years. They are both very successful at introducing first-years to the expectations of being a Washington and Lee student, but more importantly, they help the new students become a member of the community.

“When I exited the doors of Lee Chapel,” Luke Alli, ‘22, said, “I felt not only an incredible responsibility to hold up the Honor System, but also, I felt that I was finally a member of the college I put in my Instagram bio.”