Pedestrian’s Guide To O-Week

Pedestrian has teamed up with DELL to make the first few weeks of the new university year that little bit more entertaining for you. DELL’s new XPS 12 ‘Convertible’ featuring Windows 8 is literally two devices in one – a full-powered Ultrabook laptop that easily becomes a touch-powered tablet. The Dell XPS 12 will “Flip Your Thinking” in regards to what is possible as you move from the lecture theatre to the loungeroom. Pedestrian and DELL are announcing a pants-wettingly exciting event later this week that you can be a part of. Simply click “like” on the DELL Facebook page to be the first to know. For all the first-timers out there please enjoy Pedestrian’s Guide to O-Week below.

University is pretty much the last time you’re ever going to have a good time in your life without paying dearly for it. And what with HECS debt and books every semester and the ridiculous fee they make you front just to graduate in a silly hat, you’re probably going to end up broke anyway – and that’s before you have to pay full fare for trains, buses and movie tickets. There’s literally no better way to embrace the best three to five years of your life than in the all-out free-for-all that is O-Week.

Designed to acclimatise new recruits to the massive sprawl and completely new headspace that is your average Australian tertiary campus, O-Week is actually just a really awesome set of parties, new people and lifestyle brands trying to sell you things. So think of it as a music festival, but at the end, you’re going to have to go to class (maybe). The process can be daunting, and there are thousands of post-adolescents just like you all in the same place at the same time. With that in mind, here’s Pedestrian’s foolproof, tried-and-tested guide to surviving O-Week.

Do you want to know the most desirable demographic for advertisers and brands in Australia? You. 18-30 year olds are notoriously difficult to capture the attention of, but they also have the most liquid capital and the least responsibilities, so O-Week is a marketing dream. To that end, expect to have kilograms of free shit hoisted on you from the get-go. Carrying energy drinks, promotional hats, piggy banks, T-shirts, water bottles, keyrings, towels and whatever other ridiculously amazing stuff that these guys want to give you all day is not fun and you will look like a bit of a weirdo in front of that hot guy and/or girl who is in front of you in the line to sign up for Glee Club. Bring a backpack, chuck all that junk in it, and assess the booty when you get home.

Also, do not bring money for lunch or dinner, because by signing up with a few carefully misspelled email addresses, you can pretty much eat and drink for free for the entire five days. Sincere apologies to Joanna Sadler and Jonny Seedla, I’m sure that bank is still harassing you and STA still want you to go and sail Croatia with them.


Photo by Sergio Dionisio for Getty Images.

Clubs and societies are a massive part of University life, and if there’s one thing we regret, it’s not joining more of them. You’ll see them recruiting from pretty much the first second you walk through the gates, and there is actually something for everyone. And we mean everyone. Star wars aficionados, jazz musicians, circus freaks, chocolate lovers, sex addicts, aspiring stylists, javelin enthusiasts, amateur tattoo artists, feminists, post-feminists, proto-feminists…seriously, we are not even joking. Uni can be a lonely place when you’re just shuttling between classes, and clubs are designed to take away that emo tendency and replace it with Certified Radness.

There’s also the very obvious ones which will introduce you to swathes of good-looking people in your interest group and typically hold massive blow-out parties at least once a semester. These include the Law Society (just put on a suit and say the word ‘jurisprudence’ a lot, they’ll never know) SubSki (we have never seen any of these people actually go skiing) and any permutation of Drama Club. If you harbour even the vaguest intention of getting laid during your Uni years, enlist here. All our friends from Drama Club had sex with the best looking people, and the rest became stand-up comedians. It’s a win-win.

Join an a capella dance troupe like in the movie Pitch Perfect.

O-Week is technically billed as being all about the daytime and seeing what your campus is like/where you can skateboard/how many parking officers there are per square kilometre. In reality, the cool stuff happens at night. Unless you’re at a super-religious campus that doesn’t tolerate drinking (pro-tip: move now) there are more parties than you can poke a stick at happening across the week, and those are just the official ones. You will see great bands, laugh at comedians and make inappropriate advances towards great looking people, knowing that there is no one cohort as utterly misguided and totally bloated as the one you’re in.
As they say in showbiz, the best party is the after party.

University neatly provides for this eventuality by bolting on numerous colleges that out-of-towners and kids whose parents don’t like them anymore will live at for the next few years. Make friends with this lot; they will become the power-mongers on campus and always have the most attractive people spilling out of their doors at 7am.

Do not gravitate towards any colleges that have recently received news coverage for sexual assault or, you know, trying to humiliate or inadvertently poison their female constituents. They may look like fun from a distance, but so does Parkour until you land on your head instead of your feet. In fact, you should probably join that Parkour Society during O-Week so this does not happen to you.

Unless you happen to be one of The Plastics, chances are University represents a complete and utter leveling of all of the social Klout you’ve built up over the last five years of high school. That’s bad if you were the Queen Bee or Head Jock at your school, but honestly, everyone hated you anyway. For the rest of society, Uni represents the ultimate chance to meet brand new, totally relevant people to your interests. You know how there was nobody in your year that liked Wes Anderson films? There’s an entire course on that now. Did you have to pretend to like Avicii all through Year 12 when you really just wanted to listen to Flume? He’s probably playing at your Uni bar this week.

There are hotter people at University from the simple assumption that the catchment area (ie. most of your state, not to mention International Students) is larger and incorporates a whole bunch of ethnicities you’ve probably never even encountered. Better yet, none of them know a single thing about you. O-Week is the perfect chance to try out the new you, or, failing that, find decent people who align themselves with the actual you. Either of these approaches work and both of them will make you feel infinitely better than you did at age 13 when one of your testicles dropped and the other one didn’t. Wear that Donnie Darko T-shirt with pride. You are with all of your people now.

1. Procure the campus’ wireless Internet password and immediately sync it to all your devices. You will need this for live-streaming new episodes of Girls during Gender Studies lectures.
2. If you harbour any desires to be a writer, photographer or designer, get on board with your student newspaper. Unlike the ones in your school, these ones have budgets, are read widely and are very, very funny. Some of the country’s leading media personalities started their careers here.
3. Make friends with at least one person whose name you couldn’t pronounce the first time you met them. This will not only impress others, but also make you a better human. They will probably also launch the next Twitter. Just saying.
4. Don’t make an arse of yourself. Revelling is fine, but nobody wants to walk into Commerce 1001 with a label already stamped to their forehead that reads ‘Liability.’
5. Soak it up. It’s all downhill from here.

Words by Jonno Seidler, a Pedestrian contributor and sometimes-Summer Editor.