MONTREAL – Frosh week is upon us once again.
It’s a rite of way in Canada; four days of orientation before university classes begin.
In Montreal – and at McGill specifically – Frosh week typically involves a lot of drinking and a lot of partying.
Yet, McGill freshmen insist it’s about more than that.
“I think it’s about meeting people,” said Marielle Montenegro, a freshman.
“I think the drinking is just a bonus,” said Charles Keita, another freshamn.
“I think the main part is it’s just a big icebreaker.”
Frosh organizers agree.
“Drinking does happen for those who choose to drink but it is not the focus of Frosh,” said Mitchell Miller, who works for McGill’s office of Campus Life and Engagement.
Organizers say they’re making it a point to warn students about the risks of alcohol because for many, freshman year in Montreal will be the first time they consume large quantities of alcohol.
Organizers also say they’re trying to make the event more inclusive, so that even those who choose not to drink can enjoy it.
“I came to Montreal not knowing anyone or anything,” recalls Frosh coordinator Shanon Melizan.
“It was definitely that stepping stone that I needed to fit it. I don’t consumer alcohol and I had an amazing time.”
Police say they do receive more complaints from local residents during Frosh week than other times of the year.
Doctors at the Montreal General say they’ve noticed an increase in the number of alcohol-related cases admitted to the ER.
“We see minor to moderate to very severe, unfortunately traumatic injuries related to the events around what’s going on this time of year on campus,” said Dr. Tarek Razek, chief of the MUHC’s Division of Trauma Surgery and director of the Adult Trauma Program.
Razek explains most students don’t realize it’s not necessarily the alcohol itself that might be the problem, but rather the irrational behaviour due to heavy drinking.
“If you feel you’ve had too much to drink, you have,” he said.
“Your judgement gets impaired and you will do something you’ll regret for the rest of your life. It’s impressive to realize just how quickly your life can change with one bad judgement.”
He encourages students to have fun during Frosh, but reminds them to be cautious so they can keep having fun throughout the school year.
© Shaw Media, 2014