Welcome to the University of Winnipeg

Advice for first-years (and the rest of you, too)

Well, here we all are again. Another summer is over and once again it’s time to head back to school.

Some people rue the start of another school year, but I always look forward to it. University is an incredible opportunity to meet new people, and explore new experiences.

For example, if this is your first year at the University of Winnipeg, you may just spend the first week experiencing what it’s like to sit around the quad all day listening to cool music and drinking rum. I know I did.

But once O-Week is over and the beer gardens are closed, it’s time to start your university career in earnest. No doubt, you’re a little stressed and maybe nervous about the idea. Don’t be. I have some tips that will help you get through your first-year in style.

Here we go:

1. Buy a hoodie.

And I’m not talking about one of those $40 Lite-Brite-looking things they sell at American Apparel, either. I’m talking about a big, baggy, formless hoodie. There’s probably one in the back of your closet, two sizes too big, that makes you look like a drug dealer.

Why a hoodie, you ask? Well, let’s face facts: there will be times (sometimes weeks) when you’re going to look like shit. This is university, after all. Between classes, homework, tests, study groups and course labs, you won’t always have time for little things, like bathing.

This is especially true during exams, when you’ve got four tests in three days and haven’t gone to class since midterms. That’s when hoodies are your best friend. They’re thick enough to mask that nasty study-funk smell of yours.

Plus, hoodies are like full-body blankets. Just flip the hood up and shut your eyes, and you can take a nap almost anywhere. Trust me, you’re going to do a lot of napping. A lot.

2. Come up with some good fake names.

On any given week, there are a half dozen petitions floating around the university. There’s a petition for everything. Save the Trees, Save the Whales, Save the Chess Club; Save Israel, Support Israel, Screw Israel; Save Ferris.

The people asking you to sign their petitions are everywhere. Don’t think you can escape them. They will find you. Even if you sign their petition, they’ll ask you again in an hour. They are like zombies, mindlessly searching for their next signature.

Well, if you’ve already signed a petition once, why not show your support again using a fake name? Or, if you don’t want to sign a petition in the fist place, why not sign with a fake name just to fuck with them?

You can start by using the names of TV or movie characters, but I’ve always preferred coming up with brand new names. If I had to pick a favourite, it would probably be “Wallace T. Fuchs, Jr.”

Don’t steal that one, though. I’m still using it.

3. Do not go into the lower mezzanine.


The mezzanine below Riddell Hall is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. The combination of modular couches with dim lighting has made the mez a hotspot for ugly couples looking to make out.

Do not be tempted into venturing down there to take a nap, even if you’re wearing your hoodie; you will witness horrors like none you have ever seen before.

I swear, one time I saw a guy eat some girl’s nose. Avoid the mez at all costs.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Good luck!

Rob Holt is a third-year University of Winnipeg student. He promises not to do any more advice columns for a while.

Published in Volume 65, Number 2 of The Uniter (September 9, 2010)

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