In the month of July, August, and September, there has been a huge onslaught and waves of University Orientation Camps. Yes that’s right! This is the period where all (if not, most) of the local universities and private universities are holding Freshmen Orientation Camps to induct the new students into the college culture by hosting 3d2n camps. Having been through at least 3 orientation camps within 2 months myself, and gathering opinions and thoughts from all my new-found friends, I’d like to present my list of 10 experiences that everyone will, inevitably, face during their freshmen orientation camp (and also how we deal with it)
This list also assumes your orientation camp is totally mainstream and does all the mainstream stuff that every orientation camp will probably do.
1. The Awkward Introduction
“Stand up and tell us your name, your age, where you live, and 1 interesting thing about yourself”
Oh trust me, a lot of people feel extremely nervous when it comes to sharing that 1 interesting thing about themselves. It boils down to whether it’s because they think they have nothing interesting to share, or that they do not want to share the ‘interesting’ bits of their life. Standing up, talking about yourself and knowing you will get judged by 20 people looking at you is not something that everyone can pull off easily!
2. Traffic Light Game
What is the traffic light game? It’s a game whereby everyone sits in a circle, and going in a clockwise direction, you will say your traffic light colour. Green means you are single and available, amber means dating cum complicated, red means attached, purple means gay.
Other variations include ‘Red with green arrow’ which means you are attached, but.. don’t mind.. another… ahem. ‘Evergreen’ means never had a relationship before. As far as I know, evergreen statuses have been the most interesting, followed by green, then amber, then red. Sadly, no one will really care about asking you more questions if you declare Red during this game. The ones who say greens usually get teased and will be matchmaked with another green purely for fun.
“Oh god! Must I really say I’m evergreen? That’s gonna be embarassing.” “Oh no! Everyone’s asking me why I broke up recently, but I gotta share it now? Ulp.”
3. Shoot, Shag, Marry
My most hated thing on this list, the shoot-shag-marry game.
Once again you sit in a circle, and you get to either choose who you will prefer to shoot, shag, or marry someone of the opposite sex. ‘Shag’ means ‘have sex’, for the oblivious readers. But NOT literally of course.
And that’s it! You’re going to have to hurt someone’s feelings and shoot them, imply that you wanna have bed another, and choose to hypothetically marry someone. No matter what happens, someone’s gonna get hurt, and things are gonna get awkward (unless if the other party totally does not give a hoot about what you think)
Oh, how it hurts when you get shot, doesn’t it?
This game is absolute evil. If it’s your turn and you are selected to tell the truth, well, you can expect any sort of question. And will your group mates ask you simple questions like “What do you do on weekends?” Heck no! You’ll get stuff like “Name 1 girl you wanna be together with in this room”, awkward questions along the line.
If it’s a dare, it’s most probably asking you to go to a random girl from another orientation group, and get her number. Or, you have to lick the neck of someone. (For guys, we usually get the one where we have to get our leg hair ripped off with adhesive tape) It’s always somewhere along these lines.
All the best if you get selected!
5. Smartphone Problem
After all the awkward games, the awkward introductions, and the silence starts to set in, someone takes out their smartphone, then followed by another, and another, and another, and the next thing you know, the entire room is using their smartphone in order to avoid the awkward silence that is going around the circle so everyone has something to touch and do, rather than staring at blank space waiting for someone to talk.
6. Absence of the Group Leader (GL)
We all love our GLs, don’t we? They hype up the group with cheers, they kick-start all the games, the introduction, they have to be the life of the group in order for everyone to become more bonded with one another. The moment the group leader leaves the circle to go off and do some administration work… we go back to Item #4 on this list ; the Smartphone problem.
That is, unless if you’re lucky enough to have a hyperactive freshman in your group that also can hype everyone up by starting conversations and games
7. Special Partner
As far as I’m informed, NUS, NTU, SMU and SIM all have the special parter event. It’s whereby you are set up for a blind date with someone of the opposite sex, at complete randomness. You have to go through a dinner and dance event with this person and technically forced to spend time with each other for at least 2 hours.
The chances of a successful special partner combination is less than 0.2%. I’m taking this statistic because I’ve only seen 1 successful couple get together after 500 couples have failed.
Why? First, consider that either you are attached or your special partner is already attached. Secondly, even if both are single, consider next that you might not think your special partner is handsome/pretty, and likewise they might not think that you are handsome/pretty (on first sight). Thirdly, even if you managed to fit into the good looks book, their personality might not match with yours. You have 2 whole hours of awkward silence to talk together and see how things goes! Awesome, right?
Thoughts that run through everyone’s mind upon lifting their blindfold: “Is that seriously my special partner? Really?”
8. The Introvert-Extrovert Divide
Like it or not, a divide will slowly begin to form after the 2nd day of camp. The extroverts, or more commonly known as the “Onz” people, the siao-ons, the hyperactive kids that give their full effort to the camp, go all out in cheers and games, will eventually be bound together. The not-so-active ones, the quieter ones, being more reserved, will also bound together. You’re on either side of the fence or none. In fact, if you’re not on either side, chances are, you’ve already been outcasted and classified as the awkward loner.
Some groups might get off lucky, and have every single group member being super active during the camp, but this divide will sadly, still show up after the camp.
9. Sleep Is For The Weak
The night activities during orientation camps will ALWAYS end late. You can expect to reach back to your sleeping quarters to as late as 11pm, or even 12 midnight. Then the GLs will kindly tell you to get ready for breakfast at say, 7am.
Okay, that’s nice! They have given you 7 hours of uninterrupted rest. What happens next is whether your orientation group decides to stay up through the night, gather in a circle and continue playing games, have Heart-to-heart talks, and bond together. Now this is the part where item #7 on the list also kicks in. Some people are BEGGING for sleep, but they can’t, because peer pressure has forced them to stay up and they have no choice but to participate and interact with everyone. Some people really can’t be bothered, put on their earpieces and get some shut-eye for the night.
And the next thing you know, 7am arrives and it’s time to start off the AMAZING RACE and GAMES STATIONS (which always happens on 2nd day of orientation camps)
What happens when you put 10 guys and 10 girls in one room, all whom are at the peak of their youth with raging hormones? What happens if those 10 guys just came out of NS?
That’s right! Match-making occurs in everyone’s minds. The guys will scan the room for their potential partners, and the girls will do the same. It’s something everyone thought of deep-down. But hey, the chances of successful couples within your own orientation group are much higher than the special partner event.
11. The Post-Camp Meet Up
In my honest opinion, it’s not so much of what you do with your group mates during the camp that matters. It’s what happens afterwards. Will you take the effort to organize outings and meet-ups after the camp? Are you willing to join in for study sessions, lunch breaks and go for lectures together?
Not much of a surprise, but some people will slowly drift off and eventually get forgotten after the camp, if they do not make the effort to continue meeting up and bonding together after the camp.
Conclusion of the list
Yes, it’s very shallow if you think about it. That’s why the last point about post-camp meet ups are so important. Just because you were the life of the camp does not equate anything at all in university life. It was only 3 days and 2 nights. We cannot judge people for who they are just because they were hyper-active, or quiet, for that short period of time. We might have a rough idea, but it’s only the surface. Come to think of it, I’ve rarely heard of any past backstories of the people I’ve met during orientation camps… yet. Friendships can only be built up properly if you bother to make the effort to know one another outside of the camp.
However, to end it off with an irony, I’d say, please go for Orientation Camps. It’s still worth it in the end, and, forces you out of your comfort zone, and, even if you only managed to make 1 friend after the camp, it’s still a win.
Jackie Loh Writer The Influencer Media