On Saturday the city of Guelph grew by at least 4600 people. That is, Saturday was the annual move in day for all of the frosh that chose the University of Guelph for their place of higher learning. In essence, Guelph has just been inundated by a swarm of wide-eyed and hungry-for-brains zombie frosh. Run for your lives!
More realistically, over the past week Guelph has likely grown by a number closer to 17 thousand, when one considers that the upper year and graduate students also made their way back into town.
And despite the craziness of move-in, despite the extra long lines in stores, despite the insanity that becomes of downtown, I have to say that I love this time of year. There is an energy in the air that you can’t mistake. It’s a mixture of fear, nerves, excitement, opportunity, and exploration; simply put it’s electrifying. Kind of like Greased Lightning, but with a lot less silvery workshop overalls, hair product, and John Travolta. Okay, less hair product probably isn’t accurate.
Anyway, during this time of year I love parking myself outside while I work just to watch the students coming and going. It’s a crazy-hectic-chaotic-bumping-into-people-and-hey-I-haven’t-seen-you-in-ages time, and it’s always fun to watch. It’s also entertaining to see the caught-in-headlights doe-eyed frosh trying to figure out where to go, how to fit in, and who they are going to be, now that their high school lives are behind them.
As a Guelph alumni, and now Assistant Professor and Statistician in the School of Computer Science, I have to say the frosh made a very wise choice selecting Guelph. It has been my home for some time, and while it has changed a lot over the years, its major characteristics have remained constant. It’s a great school, a great community, and a great place to figure out what you want to be when you grow up.
For those frosh who might have stumbled on this particular post, take the time while you are here to get to know the city. Don’t spend your time only between campus, the mall, and downtown-at-night.
First off, campus is gorgeous, but it’s only a small fraction of the awesome that this town contains. Check out Riverside Park. Go to Guelph Lake. Hike through Preservation Park. Take a brew tour. As for the mall – yes, it’s great. But there are also awesome stores downtown. And yes, downtown is more than just bars. Macondo Books has been a staple since as far back as I can remember. Check out the Farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. Yes, I’m sure you’ll be hungover or too tired, but the market has a way of curing that. Between the crisp autumn air, a coffee from Planet bean, and some of the freshly-made-in-front-of-your-face donuts, hangovers don’t last long. Trust me, I know from experience. Speaking of restaurants, The Diana Downtown has been one of my favourite haunts for as long as I can remember. The Babelfish Bistro is excellent. As are Bollywood, Einstein’s Cafe, The RedBrick Cafe, Artisanale, and any number of other places. You can’t throw a stone without hitting a great place to eat downtown.
What else might I suggest you try while you are here? Make sure to see a movie at the Bookshelf cinema. It’s connected to the e-bar, and right above the Bookshelf bookstore. Check out Wyndham Art Supply. Even if you aren’t an artist, there’s something amazing about walking through that store and seeing the potential that it sells. Drop into On The Verge. It has a collection of some of the most offensive greeting cards you will ever find.
Overall, whatever you do, make Guelph your home. Most of you will be here for about 4 years. This is your home. Enjoy it. Become an active part of it.
And now for your viewing pleasure, I present to you Greased Lightning. Just because. You are welcome.