Photos by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor
By Marzan Hamid, Contributor
McMaster University’s Welcome Week is loud and full of spirit — and rightfully so. It is the one week of the year where students are allowed to be shamelessly rowdy and proud of the school they go to. It is a time for first years to make McMaster and its community their home.
However, in order to truly make Mac a home for everyone, the week needs to be accessible to a wider range of personalities. It needs to welcome both those who love the noise, and those who don’t.
McMaster is a diverse university in many ways. As its students, we have many different mother tongues, we coexist in different faiths and we study different passions. Students at Mac come from all points of the personality spectrum, too. However, these differences don’t seem to be taken into consideration.
Welcome Week events are synonymous to heaven for extroverts. Loud crowds during faculty fusion? Hell yeah. Meeting 300 new people in a day and introducing the same three details over and over again? Nothing better. Raving to Bryce Vine in a mosh pit? Wouldn’t miss it for the world.
On the flip side, introverts find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. For people who want some downtime away from the large crowds where they cannot find much more than a few superficial connections, Welcome Week can be emotionally draining. While faculty and residence reps can be a huge resource for this exhaustion, it is undeniable that a disproportionate number of Welcome Week events cater to extroverted students, leaving their introverted counterparts feeling forced into situations they would much rather avoid.
The few low-key events that do exist are not as well promoted or organized. Things like painting or hikes can get crowded easily and limit the intimacy of connections that can be formed. Not to mention, introverted out-of-province and international students can easily feel isolated if they don’t already have friends on campus.
Small group activities are especially hard to come by in larger faculties where organization becomes difficult — however, we must remember who and what the week is for: for embracing new Marauders. Despite the challenges we may encounter when making students feel at home, it should be emphasized that there is truly something available for everyone to try. Whether that is through small group activities running alongside the bigger events (which are promoted just as much), or having designated areas on campus for downtime activities, we need to make strides to make this nervous time of year easier for everyone.
Many students are on their own for the first time in their life; this comes with its own set of problems and anxieties. Welcome Week shouldn’t have to be another. It should be a week as enjoyable for the social butterflies as it is for the wallflowers.