Submitted by Aaron Jeans
Through living in residence this semester, many traditions arise, especially those relating to rites of passage. The rite of passage for residence is a complicated one. A “frosh” must simply be at the beck and call of the seniors for when they may ask them to do something daring or chore-like. A senior will simply say “I frosh you to…” and the freshman must do it.
This is a ritual practiced around many schools around the world, and often leads to dangerous consequences. Several fraternity deaths have been linked to water intoxication in the US, from seniors forcing freshmen to drink massive amounts of water as their initiation. My own experience was slightly less terrible but not good either.
On our first night of inhabiting Guy Court, the seniors next door whom I met earlier in the day presented me with beer with the phrase “I frosh you to drink this”. It was warm, and gross. Throughout the night, lukewarm alcoholic beverages were passed around to me and my freshmen cohorts. It was as unpleasant as it was a mild initiation and therefore bizarre.
The interesting part of these initiation routines is what happens if you do not engage in the forms of play constructed by the generations of students. You are the subject of ridicule amongst your court/house for your lack of pride, involvement, and showmanship, and seniors will routinely flip your mattress over with all of your sheets (and for bonus points, a person) on top. At the end of each semester, a gathering will be arranged to give out comedic and playful awards to each member of the court/house. The one (there is always just one) freshman who decides not to participate in anything is rewarded the dreaded title of “Worst Frosh”, and will be known by this for the rest of his time in the house, should a change in behaviour not occur.
The separational phase had me wearing a Guy Court shirt while drinking copious amounts of beer unwillingly. I outlined the transitional phase as the point in time where they actually stopped feeding us the warm alcoholic beverages (or they ran out, it is unclear). The incorporated phase was the next morning where they had officially told us we could take the shirts off (Paton College freshmen sometimes wear the shirt all semester).
Overall, Burton’s Pond contains one of the most mild initiation stories I have ever heard come out of a university. We were basically given free liquor (although in it’s disgusting room temperature form) and throughout the night the feeling of being an “outsider” was never present. Perhaps we were given the easy treatment, we don’t know. Only time will tell, as the next batch of freshmen approach Fall Semester 2012, and with them, my own little brother.