You're Cordially Invited
Something along the lines of “it’s our first issue, so you’ll have to write about Initiation” and also “scribble a few tips to do with ways to juggle the work with the fun – for the first years,” were just some of the suggestions bullet-pointed to me back when the team first sat down to brainstorm ideas for the L.A.C.’s new literary baby: Epigraph. Words bounced back and forth in my head, only leading to visualizing the way the camera lingers momentarily upon Kubrick’s typewritten ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ Not to get all Voltaire on you, lovely readers, but cultivate your garden with love in your hearts and fire in your minds and those seeds will grow. So, anyone got a neologism encompassing both words ‘work’ and ‘play’? Anyone?
What’s the big deal about Initiation, then? During the early September days that stitch together the first week back, the word will echo throughout the College. It’ll inevitably pop up in a microwaved-lunch conversation in the lounge, or you’ll hear it eavesdropping as you make your way to class. Not so reluctantly allowing the word-o-phile within to resurface, I Googled. Then I chuckled. For the immediate web-definition of the word ‘initiation’ goes a little something like this: to admit someone into a secret and/or obscure society and/or group, typically involving a ritual; more commonly known as the action of beginning something. Well, lucky for you newbies, we’re not all that secret and obscure. I do, however, have to agree with the ritual-fashioned new beginning part of the initiation portrait. Because it just so happens that the L.A.C. community has a soft spot for the event that without a doubt helps kick start the year.
I mean, let us be blunt in saying that all it really comes down to is half a blurry memory of a karaoke party – most of which you’ll remember not remembering much of – with strangers you just met. And get that blank look off your face – YES there’s karaoke.
They’ll tell you to go to Initiation. They’ll tell you it’s THE time and place to meet new people, and love some new faces outside the classroom. What they really mean is that this is the first time you get to see everyone under the influence. The happy drunk? The ‘I can dance’ drunk? The ‘nah man, I’m not drunk’ drunk? Or perhaps even the ‘intellect-ponders-the-meaning-of-life’ drunk? We have at least one of each. You’ll soon see your name appear there among the others listed as the invited guests, and then shortly receive that notification, disclosing to you that you are cordially invited to the Liberal Arts College’s 2014 annual Initiation.
Fancy a verbal portrait? Okay, picture this: my Initiation involved an Asian in a toga waving a wine bottle in my face. And a treasure hunt. And public humiliation, which is always a bonus. I was involved in a light-saber combat with a girl I had just met, a combat she obviously won, to both mine and Obi-Wan’s dismay. And ultimately, karaoke. As mentioned before, tradition has it that karaoke night at K-Box remains a true Liberal Arts favourite. Something Elliot said pretty much summed up the experience: “I didn’t refill my glass once, but it was always full.” It resulted in hazy morning-after memories that linger like bittersweet aftertastes, there between that awkward make-out and that sweet’n’cheap watered-down pitcher-beer flavour we all love to hate and hate to love. But more than anything, my Initiation experience was altogether strung together by a single thread webbed by apprehension, and the idea that the people who I then mistook for strangers would eventually no longer be mere names and faces but little souls I’d come home to.
Meeting everyone is overwhelming, and a little confusing, as you all mutually acknowledge the fact that you’re about to remember faces and forget names, overall feeling a little bit like a round of Guess Who?. But I have personally never felt more welcomed into a community, which is something I particularly didn’t expect from a place like university, where the colossal student body and the academia-attuned rhythms of the daily routine can make you feel a little like a name tag with an ID number. As a new, baby-faced L.A.C. first year, I envied the way the second years found each other after the summer break the way old friends might find one another after prolonged absences. There was warmth in the way they all knew each other, which was – and still is – both refreshing and something that I find contrasts with the awkward bump into what’s-his-face-from-that-class, whose name you simply can’t put your finger on.
Okay cool, but let’s get to it: top five favourite Initiation moments? Game on:
- Arriving at K-Box: all of us with more or less one thing on our minds: booze. Gus, however, has something else on his mind: books. Not unlike the Liberal Arts student stereotype he would soon become – and perhaps already is a little bit – he turns around, pure curiosity etched on his face, and asks: “so guys, I’m genuinely wondering, which books are you looking forward to reading?”
- Rushing on stage to attempt an I LOVE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL group performance.
- That man sprinkling confetti showers at us from the corner of the stage.
- Blinking and suddenly finding myself at a ridiculously over-crowded house party I didn’t understand. Then blinking again and finding myself on the Blue Line (for no apparent reason, in retrospect).
- Logging onto Facebook in the morning and finding pictures from the night before have been uploaded. One of them captures blurred yet remarkably identifiable figures on a karaoke stage. The caption reads: the L.A.C year has officially begun!!And so it had.
All of which leads me to the final thought I had writing this: how on earth do I not make this sound like “come get drunk with us next Thursday!!”? Maybe with something like this?
Concordia’s 2014-2015 Liberal Arts Society
requests the honour of your presence
at the annual Liberal Arts College Initiation
for an abundance of games and merriment.
Thursday 11th September
the L.A.C. Upstairs Lounge.
Kindly RSVP on the Facebook Event Page.
Dress: that smile will do just fine.
I promise, ultimately you’ll smile awkwardly, but never reluctantly, as you walk into the LAC lounge on Monday; because yes, love, you survived the L.A.C Initiation experience. Proud of you! And if that doesn’t float your boat, then you’ve still got Oktoberfest, November on the Rocks and Theme Weekend to look forward to. But more on that later.
By Flavia Carton