As you may have guessed from the title of this entry, today was Initiation. Which means the third years (and probably some others) hazed us first years. It is a long standing tradition (or so I have been told), and according to the third years, we got it easy. Here is how it went.
We had four back to back (to back to back) lectures starting in the middle, going to the far right, then far left of campus (as an illustration…I honestly don’t know where anything is on a map as I am directionally challenged). We were all on high alert because we knew that at some point this week the whole thing was going to go down. There were a few people with insider information (which apparently could have been me if I had eves dropped on one of my flatmates last night) who knew that today was the day, but nobody knew exactly when. By the time we made it to our fourth lecture we knew in our hearts that it was going to be as we were trying to leave that lecture. They didn’t even wait that long.
Before the lecture had finished we heard air horns blaring outside. Then in came a mass of people wearing masks (or bandannas, anything to cover their faces) and banging on the walls and desks, shouting at us to get up and put all of our things away. The first person through the door had on a clown mask, which would have instilled fear in most people who grew up with It, but not me. I was unimpressed and sitting at the front of the room. People in the back naturally took their cues from us in the front, and us in the front were unimpressed. I calmly saved my notes (I take notes on my computer because I type much faster than I write) and then saved them as a draft on my email so that I could access them should something happen to that computer. I then calmly put all of my things away in my bag and calmly took off my shoes and socks as directed. The rest of the class was also moving very slowly and not cooperating all that well. I am very proud of my class for not giving into the pressure. We will play your stupid game, but we will do it on OUR terms.
Once they had us all packed up and with jackets, shoes, and socks off, they strapped us together by twos. Each pair was strapped together holding each other’s forearms and secured by zip ties. We were then herded into the foyer of the Wool Building where they were going to pelt us with water balloons and buckets of water.
Now, today was not warm. In fact it was rainy and gusty and pretty down right miserable. We were all standing in bare feet and mostly without jackets on (I kept my shell on because otherwise I would have probably gone into shock from the cold). And they wanted to push us into the street where they could pelt us with cold water. Needless to say we did not cooperate very well. Like scared cattle we huddled in that hallway for as long as possible before darting out and running full tilt.
They herded us down to the concourse using water balloons, buckets of water, and squirt guns. They wanted us to run, but after the first burst of energy we mostly walked with a bit of light jogging when the pressure increased. It took me all of 10 minutes before my feet were so cold that they hurt. Maybe not even that long.
In the concourse they guided us to the middle where the ring leader (not clown mask) in a policeman’s cap lead us in a dance that I guess was supposed to be humiliating. They had us dance to Barbie Girl by Aqua, which one of our groups had actually done on Karaoke night during VLE.
Once the song ended they tried to get us to run up the stairs and over to the vet pond. Again we went at our own pace in spite of their best efforts. I limped along at the back of the group because by this point walking on concrete felt like walking on shards of glass, and walking on the pebbled parts of the walkway felt like jabbing thick gauge needles through every possible point on the bottom of my feet. If I wasn’t careful of where and how I placed my feet, it felt like my bones were breaking (having broken a bone I can honestly attest to that).
At the vet pond they splashed us with buckets of pond water and tried to drive us across the bridge so that we could be pelted with eggs and other gross things. They even complained about how slowly we were going and made idle threats of “it will only get worse” if we didn’t move faster. I told them that we would move faster if they gave us piggy back rides (because I’m a cheeky girl like that). Again I was at the back of the pack and missed the globs of offal, curdled cow colostrum, and other disgusting bits of things. Since I didn’t have my glasses on (thankfully as I was smacked in the face with a water balloon at one point, though it didn’t break), I couldn’t see the ground to know what I was walking on and around. I also couldn’t see if my toes had gone as blue as my finger tips.
Once they had us across the bridge they threw flour on us and made some people wade through pools of gross things. I made it at about the point where they were back to hurling water and water balloons and nothing gross too gross. I got some flour and some foul smelling stuff on my jacket, but nothing too bad. When they tired of us huddling in a corner they drove us back out and told us that all of our stuff was in a secret location and that the key to that location was in the vet pond. Going in was less than optional.
A few people went right in and started shuffling around looking for a key that wasn’t there (I knew this, many of my classmates knew this, but we were playing along like good puppies). By the time I made it back across the bridge to the pond entry point, everyone was just wading across while the third years threatened to throw us in if we didn’t go voluntarily. I was the last to get in and made my way slowly so as to not turn an ankle on the loose rocks and not stab my foot through on any of the debris hidden under the detritus. At the highest point the water was up to about my navel, which meant my jacket was wet on the inside (and smelled of duck excrement) and my pants, long underwear, long sleeve and t-shirts were all soaked. By the time I made my way to the other side there were some third years who had been pushed, pulled, and thrown in. One gentleman (whose face I couldn’t see and who I don’t remember other than he was tall) helped me navigate the rocks near the edge and our recently (as in that morning) elected class president helped me clamber out.
That was the end of our torturous expedition. They congratulated us and gave us a hearty welcome to the program and we cheered less heartily and grumbled quite a bit. They kept reminding us that they had it worse than we did, but that didn’t make our feet any warmer or our bodies any less smelly. They had sausages on the grill for us to “warm our mouths” with, but having just been assaulted with a number of things I didn’t want anywhere near my mouth I opted to shower first. Some of my classmates also showered, but a number of them went straight to the food (we will see how many of them come down with an illness from that decision). My friend Hawaii was a good friend and brought me some of her old clothes to change into (some windbreaker warm pants, an old t-shirt, a sweater, and a knit cap) which was very much appreciated. I showered and then changed into her clothes and only then did I venture forth to sausagie goodness.
Once fed (slightly) I decided to be a responsible adult. I put my dirty, smelly, gross clothes into my locker (stunk the place right up) and wandered over to the Student Notes Distribution Center to get my physiology study guide. With guide in hand I went back to the vet tower and had the lunch that I remembered to pack this morning. I sat with some of my third year friends and complained a little (and was told again how much easier we had it since we didn’t have to go down a slip-n-slide into cow manure). I ate my lunch and talked with one of my classmates about student loans, the Colorado shootings, and how the instant coffee out here isn’t undrinkable (like the stuff back home). After food and a sit, I grabbed my gross clothes and headed to the bus stop for my ride home. Surprisingly enough the bus driver didn’t even bat an eye when I stepped up with my smelly bag of wonders and I was able to ride all the way home.
Once home, I stripped down, threw the clothes into the wash, and had a nice hot shower. By the time I was done with my shower, the laundry was done and I was able to get everything hung up and drying by the time my bestie came over.
My darling bestie took me to the yarn store to get yarn for my loom (Dark green, navy blue, and burgundy because they are my favourite colours), and then to Spotlight (a craft store) to get crochet thread for my heddles. Then we popped next door to the market and got veges to steam as well as some other things I needed but forgot to get earlier. Then back to the flat for adventures in cooking!
We made beef stroganoff based on directions from a packet of sauce. He: sliced the onion, mushrooms, and steak; pealed the carrots; and cut the broccoli. I pealed the onion and washed the mushrooms. I also pulled out the neat little steamer bag for the rice and filled the steamer pot with water (for the veges). For the rice, I boiled water in the kettle and then poured it into the pot because the pot had no lid and it would have taken ages to boil it the normal way. We actually managed to get everything done at about the same time and had a really good meal. There are even leftovers for one lunch and one dinner later this week.
I wanted to take some time to talk about how I really disapprove of hazing rituals and how I am going to be a conciseness objector when its my classes turn to haze the future first years, but it is late and I still have to go over my notes before class tomorrow so I’m going to leave that for another day (or possibly the comments section).