Orientation - the last week of fun and sunshine before the nitty-gritty of the new University semester starts. O-week is the week where you are supposed to meet new friends, form new alliances and settle into your own cliques.
Any my, cliques there were. There were the Malaysian girls clique, white people clique, African clique, Hong Kong clique, nerds with long hair and glasses clique...
That what I'd observed while being an O-week Mentor this year. I guess much that we endeavour to meet people that are different, we tend to stick with people that are like us in the end. That's the reality.
This year, I decided to be an O-week Mentor because it was something I always wanted to do. There was some sort of wicked allure in bossing new kids around.
The most satisfying thing I did in O-week was facilitating the introduction of new students. I sort of go to one guy sitting by himself in one corner, talked to him, and then proceed to talk to another guy nearby, chatted with him, and them introducing those two guys together.
I remembered feeling very happy after doing that. It was like witnessing the birth of something new - like watching a butterfly coming out from its cocoon. Upon reflection, this was exactly what I hoped my mentor did for me during O-week.
My mentor for O-week was a girl by the name of Benita Dalton. The only thing about her besides the name which I remember was that she is pale skinned, has a lot of freckles and ginger red hair. She should be a nice girl, but unfortunately, did not leave much of a strong impression.
I arrived on Melbourne on the night of the 23rd of February 2005, a hot and humid Wednesday, and went to University the day after with Freda, Kheng Ying and Hui Bing to catch the tail end of the Orientation week.
I am trying hard, but the overall picture about O-week that surfaced was blurry, with little vivid snatches here and there. No, there was no party. We missed it. Nom there was no clubs to join. We missed it too. Free lunch? Don't think there were some.
I remembered the first person I met was Esin, who was the International Students' Advisor. Lined up to take photos for the ID card. Listened to introductory speeches by Louis Roller and Richard Prankerd. Touring around the campus, and Benita with her friends bringing us four to Lygon Street for lunch. Had a hamburger that cost $9.90 and a can of $2.20 Fanta. Having a croissant in Uni on Friday morning.
The person which left the strongest impression on me during that week was Louis Roller. If I was disappointed by the physical side of the campus, the first lecturer who spoke to us really captured my imagination. Tall and charming with a head of whitening hair and moustache, he had a touch of ancientness about him, not unlike Dumbledore in Harry Potter. He spoke with passion and fervour,he voice strong and warm. To me, he was the epitome of the classic professor, right from the pages of story books. This is how they should look like. I remembered that I couldn't wait for his lecture.
So that was the pathetic story of my Orientation week. Lucky I was there this year to savour what I had missed three years earlier. Better late than never!