“But isn’t O-week a total waste of time? That’s what my friend at work told me.”
“Your friend at work must be great at parties.” I responded.
This year, I begin my studying journey with my mother. While I’m doing an honours project on Group A Strep vaccination research, she’s taking the plunge and studying business. This is a rare point in our relationship where I become the mother and she becomes the fresher noob.
“O-week is a pretty much a party except while you’re having fun and making friends, you’re also learning everything you need to know to get stuck into your study.”
I’m living on Steele Rudd College this year, and damn, O-week was a party. A well organised, well executed party that required two weeks of training beforehand by Residential Advisors and Residential Student Club members.
It began with leadership camp, which should be more accurately re-named “Camp of ultimate punishment and toilet lacking doom”.
Here’s how things went:
11.00AM: We arrive at Murphy’s Creek. Are told to discard things like ‘spare underwear’, ‘hygienic items’ and ‘dignity’.
12.00PM: Get given instructions: “Follow compass bearing 340° until you reach the road”. Nek minnit, or should I say, nek two hours of hiking through pathless death terrain of pointy trees.
2.00PM: Arrived at the road. It felt nice to have branches not high fiving us in the face. We were then told that some water jerries were injured and we needed to get them to another destination of unknown length and ridiculousness.
2.30PM: We arrived at the abseiling activity point (fear not, the water jerries lived) and abseiled 30 meters to our next activity point. It wasn’t really abseiling though, it was more overhang freefall without a parachute after the first 2m of rock.
3.30PM: We then embarked on a cliff walk. I’m fairly certain the song “Don’t push me, cause I’m close to the edge” was inspired by this activity.
5.00-7.30PM: After detaching ourselves from the rock face, we dined on lukewarm space stew. Smuggling coffee in was the best popularity-gaining strategy I’ve ever made. Katharine Bigby, our boss, off-handedly mentions that she was planning to go to Dreamworld for Leadership camp instead of Murphy’s Creek. That was the worst popularity-gaining strategy she’s ever made.
7.30-12.00AM: We then embarked on what we thought was a brief, final hike to our campsite. However, we were faced by an unexpected obstacle after the first twenty minutes – Peter, our camp leader (aka, punishment overlord mature Channing Tatum lookalike) with his Nissan Navara. “Looks like my ute has broken down. You will need to get it to camp along with these injured water jerries.” By the time we were ready to re-embark, we had set up the ultimate vehicle moving team. We put our abseiling harnesses back on, and set up a husky dog style pulling system tied on from the front bull bar in conjunction with people pushing from the back as well as two teams of eight water jerry paramedics. We made it to our camp after 6 kilometers, 5 hours and a 100% gradient terrain hike of intensity.
12.00-2.00AM: We ended the hike with a memorable quote from Peter. “You’ve all done very well today, but today is now tomorrow and we begin tomorrow.” Peter is a man of his word, and we continued activities with the 60km/ph flying fox of crotch pain. At this point in time, we were all very tired and found out that we all do very funny things when we’ve reached the wall. My puns were getting steadily worse, Lachlan was snoring on a rock and Josh was telling his infinite punchline-less joke (ask him about it, I dare you).
2.00-6.00AM: Sweet, glorious sleep. It didn’t matter that we hadn’t showered (sunscreen bath counts, doesn’t it?) or that we were sleeping on nothing but the ground. Sleep was sleep.
The next day was a blur of leadership and team building activities, but the mid-ropes course stood out in particular. Peter gave us a preliminary safety briefing, concluding with “Don’t worry everyone, I’ve only had to rescue two people in the park’s history.” Needless to say, he rescued five of us that day. We were on the log avoiding section of the course, and without warning, the steel cable we were balancing on broke off from the tree and we all fell into the hanging position of crotch pain. We all made good use of the opportunity though, and performed an accurate rendition of ‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus while we were waiting to be rescued.
Although there was just as much pain after the weekend as during the weekend, it was worth it. I got to know my new Steele Rudd College team better, and in the words of Jack Black, “You’re not hard core unless you live hard core.”