What’s My Favorite Part of Welcome Week?
What’s your favorite part of Welcome Week?
Was it Move-In when swarms of freshmen arrived on campus with eyes like those of deer caught in the headlights, having little idea of where anything lies on the campus?
Of course, you were welcomed by all the Tri-W’s (Welcome Week Workers), returning students who come a week early just to work in Welcome Week and rock your car as you pull into campus. Once you find your dorm they surround your car, grab whatever belongings you have, and carry them to your room for you before racing back to unload the next vehicle. In your room, you unpack and do your best to arrange a living space in the dorm room, which happens to be so much smaller than your cozy room back home, as you wait with sweaty anticipation for your roommate to arrive. Your parents are there, too, helping you. You act like you can’t wait for them to go, but deep down–I mean, deep down–you know you will miss them. No, Move-In was not my favorite part.
Was it Run-In when dozens of costumed Tri-W’s streamed through the front, back, and sides of Raley Chapel and rushed up and down the aisles of the chapel, screaming, shouting, cheering, and occasionally patting your head as you watch with disbelief at the hysterics going on before your very eyes? Finally, the chaos subsided and the blur of blue, green, yellow, and red filed out of the doors. Then, “Eye of the Tiger” blared through the sound system and they poured out once more to only cheer louder, if that was even possible. Yes, they patted your head some more. Eventually, the noise died down and the Tri-W’s lined-up along the stage where the emcees introduced them one-by-one. Run-In was fun but still not my favorite part.
Was it the small group sessions when you had a chance to meet other terrified freshmen like yourself and bond over lame jokes, funny stories, and food? Small groups were definitely a wonderful part of the experience, and I was glad that I was in a small group with the other international students. We had a lot of fun, and I laughed many times but still not my favorite part.
Was it the Ka-rip Wars?
Before Ka-rip Wars, you probably thought that you would never have the chance to cover yourself in battle paint and march to war accompanied by the patriotic drone of the bagpipes. What I’ve learned in the short time that I’ve been a college student is that you never know what to expect. In the case of Ka-rip Wars, one of the groups did, in fact, march with one of the freshmen, a student with well-trimmed sideburns, a kilt, and a matching hat, playing the bagpipes. Each group (Verdet Vines, Titanium Trainers, Cobalt Clergy, and the Scarlet Socialites) marched in, trembling before the bagpipes of the Verdet Vines, and did Ka-rip. Without a doubt, the Verdet Vines did the best, but bias judging handed the title to the Cobalt Clergy. (I definitely am a disinterested judge and can judge fairly even though I was on the best team, Verdet Vines). Yes, this was fun but, again, not my favorite part.
Was it Serve Shawnee when the freshmen fanned out across the local city and served wherever and whoever needed help? My group went to a haunted house and had the privilege to serve by dismantling decorations in order to take them elsewhere. I say privilege mainly because I laughed several times when I heard screams coming from adjacent rooms where some of the “live” decorations terrified some freshmen. I had a great time getting to know some other freshmen not in my small group by serving alongside them. Serve Shawnee was fun and memorable but still not my favorite.
Was it the Unity Gathering? The Unity Gathering was a special time, outside the Geiger Center on the lawn. By that time, dusk was falling, and the light was fading. On the patio, a makeshift stage had been erected. One Tri-W grabbed a guitar and led worship from there, and in the early hours of twilight God was present with us there. Two upperclassmen spoke and shared their testimonies. Then we worshiped some more, and as an act of unity, everyone lit the candle that they had been given, beginning from one single flame that was passed from person-to-person until the whole lawn was filled with candlelight. The Unity Gathering was a special time but still not my favorite.
Then surely it must be the Walk?
Of the traditions at OBU, including the freshmen beanie and Karip, the Walk is my favorite, and I’ve only been a part of half of it. It begins at the Oval where every student lines up along the path with one foot on the brick. In silence, you walk along the sidewalks to the steps of Raley Chapel and pass Tri-W’s, faculty, staff, and other OBU students who stand alongside the path. Similarly, at the end of your senior year, you mimic the walk of freshmen year as a symbol of your completion of your time at OBU. I enjoyed this, but it is not my favorite.
My favorite part of Welcome Week was catching a passion for this special place from the TRI-W’s, upperclassmen who gave up a week of their precious time away from school to serve the freshmen and share their love for this place. I appreciated all the chances to get to know sophomores, juniors, and seniors through eating a meal together, playing a game during small group, or touring Shawnee. From the moment Welcome Week began, it was clear that students love this school, and they were excited to share their love for this place with the incoming class. This was my favorite part of Welcome Week.