University Orientation Camps | ZULA ChickChats | EP 56
There are a lot of guys who go for university camps thinking that they are the shit, like they are cool but they’re just basic. And I was one of them. (laughter) Hi I’m Cheryl. Hi I’m Vanessa. I’m Gabriel. Hi I’m Leah. And this is ZULA Chickchats! So today we’ll be talking about university camps, and let’s just start off with, first of all whether you have ever gone to a university camp before, and what camp was it? I went to University at Buffalo, SIM (Singapore Institute of Management). And I went to the freshman orientation camp, and subsequently I was an OGL (Orientation Group Leader). So for me, I went to two freshman camps one was for my school which is NTU (National Technological University) Wee Kim Wee, and the other was for my hall in NTU. And in my second year, I joined back hall camp as a games programmer. I was from NTU, I went to HSS (Humanities and Social Sciences) school camp, I joined Union camp also as a freshman. And in my second year I came back as an OGL for both camps, and then in my third year I was chief programmer for HSS camp, which is like maincomm. For me in NUS (National University of Singapore), I went for orientation camp for hall, I didn’t go for faculty camp. And then in year two I decided that I wanted to experience what it was like, so I joined Business camp as a counselor. In year two I also did Rag (Rag & Flag) camp, to organise for the freshmen. Okay so maybe you guys can share your experience going through these camps? Okay for me I went into camp with zero expectation, and I actually I thought camps were usually quite lame like in secondary school. But like oh my gosh, everyone’s like so extra, so it’s like you pay seventy dollars for like five or six days of crazy crazy fun. For me, I was thinking it’s not going to be that much fun, because I hate camps. But I went for the sake of making friends, because I didn’t know anyone in NTU. So when I went for this five, six days camp it just felt really long. If you’re open-minded to it, it can be a lot of fun. But it’s quite exhausting, I would say, for five or six days of camp. I feel it’s like if the camp is not well organised, you just feel exhausted, because there’s not enough rest. For both camps I went to, I was really lucky because they were very well organised. Yeah it’s really bad when there’s a lot of waiting time in between games. OMG that’s true yeah. My camp was two days, one night. Fifty bucks. I think as with all people I went in with the mentality of, like I don’t know if I should go. Cause I love camps, but at that age I just thought like, this is for kids. But I went, and I had a really wonderful time. I really really did. But to be fair, camps in uni are an introvert’s nightmare come true. Cause it’s so noisy, there’s so many people, you don’t have your own space, and you have to be like, “OMG hi!” and nice. Yes a lot of it’s mentally tiring, to be like ‘on’ for like six whole days, it’s so crazy. I think for all three years that I participated in camp I think for all three years that I participated in camps, the structure remains the same. First day is like around the school games. And then the second day is like beach day maybe. There’s always a beach day, every camp, like you go to Sentosa. Did you have for your school? (shakes head) Sorry, two days one night. (laughter) He can’t relate. (laughter) Then the third day is maybe like field games, or sometimes it’s combined with pool day. After that on the fourth day we’ll have SP. Oh ya NUS also have. Wait wait wait, inclusive, what’s SP? SP is like Secret Partner, where someone will matchmake you in that sense, then you have to guess who the person through like small activities. Just something to spice things up. My school, our camps have like a haunted house. It’s not just about scaring, it’s like a whole storyline and get them to bond together and solve things together. Oh it’s like those escape room! Yes, correct, like escape room. Oh that’s quite cool. And then the last day is like camp finale. So usually there’s like the amazing race, so they go all over campus and stuff. Did you all have like a cheer competition? Oh ya, and cheer competition. Do you know the ‘cai fan’ (economical rice) cheer? Ya there’s a ‘cai fan’ cheer. The ‘bu hui you shi cai fan’ (oh could it be ‘cai fan’ again). (Laughter and exclamations) Where got ‘cai fan’ cheer one? You guys have eating cheers? Yes, there’s cheers for everything. So the next question is then, for the people who are actually entering uni for the first time, when they want to go for these camps, what are some misconceptions we can clear for them? Okay so I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that uni camps are very sexual. There’s stories like, the guy on top of the girl then he has to do push-ups. or you know, have to like kiss. But actually nobody really forces you to do something that you don’t want to do. At the start of all my camps right, we always have this disclaimer, that if something is making you
feel uncomfortable, tell your seniors, and just say, “I don’t want to do it.” There’s a social pressure to actually conform to doing it. Hi guys, so as you’ve just seen, recently there’s been news about a very controversial uni orientation camp. We want to try and address the situation. So some facts that have been brought up in that particular news article was that, it was one day after uni camp and also was not approved by the school. This was an event that involved like people stripping, and a girl was interviewed and she said that, if you don’t want to do anything, know you can say no, and bring it up to people, and people will not encourage you to do things that you don’t want to do which is fair. But in this case it is a little bit different, because the activity itself it’s something that it’s not technically legal, like public nudity is not okay in Singapore. It’s not as simple as like piggybacking a girl, and the girl saying, “No I don’t wanna be that close to this guy I’m not comfortable with.” So what we are trying to say here is that while bringing up the points to your instructor does help, just take everything with a pinch of salt for freshmen as well as seniors, and use your own common sense to determine what is appropriate or not. But at the same time the seniors will always make it clear, like we have like a line drawn like what is acceptable and what is not. Problem arises when some people think it’s okay to do it for everyone, cause I think everyone’s level of what is uncomfortable is different. So I think just to address it like in a general sense, like nowadays I think camps have definitely toned down a lot, because of the whole news and everything, there is some order that has to be put into it. I think in general, people let’s just be
understanding of the whole situation, and not like shame someone or not wanting to do something. The social pressure kind of works both ways. Repercussions of, if you want to try something funny, the seniors won’t tolerate that. Let’s say all these sexual pressures don’t happen, there are already people or kids who don’t even want to come for camp. And the fact that they do, makes us feel like we have extra responsibility to take care of them. I think if you feel uncomfortable about speaking up, like telling your seniors on the spot, one of my camps had an online feedback system, so like you can anonymously send in like, “Oh, during the day, someone did this and I was not comfortable with it.” But the seniors are all also very friendly, and they’ll really go like extra mile to make you feel comfortable, so like never ever feel that you are like a burden, or like you’re, you know, tearing the mood down or whatever, because at the end of the day, the seniors just want to take care of you. At the time when I went back as a facilitator right, I did not see any particular games, that were, you know, implying that there’s some kind of sexual tension between the guy and the girl and if I saw it, no way in hell am I letting this fly. There are a lot of guys who go for university camps thinking that they are the shit, like they’re cool, but they’re just basic. and I was one of them. (laughter) Just because I came from army, I didn’t feel like it was appropriate to do
inappropriate things, you know what I mean. I think flirting is okay, flirting is a very normal thing in everyday life, especially for students. But some people take you overboard, like really really overboard. It’s not something that we can control, but of course we always have talks among ourselves on how to handle situations like this. The myth that if you don’t go to camps, you can’t make friends – it’s not true. You have to make extra effort to make friends, I would say. (laughter) A lot of my very good friends in uni, they actually come from outside camps that I meet in class. So it’s really not impossible. Yeah it’s not. But one thing I can definitely say about not
going faculty camp is that, you can make friends in classes, but a lot of times when I tried to make friends they already had their cliques. They don’t necessarily want to bring you into their clique. There were one or two people who did that, which [was something] I felt quite grateful for, so then I slowly made friends through there. I had my own clique, so I never realised how awkward it must have been for other people, until I went for a class on my own in my third year. And then inside I saw this group of people who just came in, taking the same module I was taking, and I hated them. (muffled laughter) It was horrible. Hater! Hater! I was like, who are these people? Who are you? Who are you why are you making so much noise? Yeah like who are these people get out of my face, don’t block my view, I’m trying to pay attention. I think like, don’t feel pressured to go camps if you know camps aren’t your thing, just so you can make friends. I think on the point that they choose people based on looks, not just everyone is chosen based on their looks. Yeah of course. I think there’s different skill sets as to why, you know, people would want to select you. Maybe it can be for your looks, maybe because you seem like a nice person through your Instagram. maybe they like your Instagram feed, maybe they think you’re funny. But how we choose is really by random, and you shouldn’t be offended. We will look through your Facebook and Instagram, but it’s just mostly to make sure you are like a real person, and that you don’t I have like very hateful thoughts. Okay then the next question will be, do you think going to uni camp is important, as like a freshman experience? I think less so now, like for NTU, because of how much they clammed down. The camps are a lot more controlled now. I wouldn’t say that the fun that they from
the camp is less, but a lot of people used to join hall camp because they wanted to get second year hall stay again. but nowadays, freshies are guaranteed two years of hall stay. Like if you want to know more people in your school then go for school camp. My school has no hall camp, it’s just school camp, everybody from every faculty or every major is in one camp. Orientation camp is where I found a few of the closest people to me today. We don’t meet as much now, but when we do, it’s like we never left. So I really really recommend UB (University at Buffalo) orientation camp. I feel like because NTU and NUS we have a cap on the camps, so there’s a lot of pressure to go for camps. But I think, like going to camps is great, but don’t feel like you missed out so much if you didn’t go for camp. And there’s not only like faculty camp, there’s a lot of other types of camps in school, so I don’t be bummed out if you don’t go for your faculty camp. Why I think going for camps is important is because you get to meet a lot of seniors. So they’ll pass you your notes, they’ll tell you which lecturers to take, which professors give easy ‘A’s, and you know, all sorts of stuff like that, and you life is really a lot easier. I think in NUS, a lot of it is different, because in different faculties, for example NUS Arts, you bid for all your modules yourself right, The highest chance is that you don’t know anybody in your module at all unless you and your friends bid in advance to go for that module together. So that is probably why I would recommend to go for arts camp more, in that sense. But then again, I also want to add, you will in the end pick up the people meant for you along the way. I think don’t stress. Don’t stress about getting into camp, that’s the important thing, because I feel that sometimes makes you be upset about the whole university experience. There’s no real need to go for camps, I feel. Especially for my school, because my school’s so small, the batch is so small, you really end up knowing everybody, whether you want to or not, you know what I mean. Any advice for people going to university and deciding whether to go for university camps? I feel that if you want to go for camps, but you feel like you’re an introvert, or you’re not comfortable with talking to everyone, but know that it’s okay, it’s perfectly fine, to not talk to everybody, like just go and bond with people who may very well stay with you for the rest of your life. Like as an introvert, I agree. If it’s going to be a new experience, you might as well give yourself like the best opportunity, but that being said, like Gabriel said, you don’t have to stress out to be someone that you’re not. I think in general, my advice is to be open-minded, don’t be like too caught up in ‘I want to have this full university experience’ thing. Just take it as it goes. If you miss university camp, it’s not a big deal. Just go into school, make some friends. Your university life is not going to be any less fulfilling as compared to if you had gone for camp. And if you do go for camp, try to be open-minded, and the memories stay with you for a very long time. But don’t force yourself to go for camps. If you feel uncomfortable, just say so. So today, we talked about university orientation camps, some of us feel like it’s good, but at the end of the day, if you feel uncomfortable [about going to camps], it’s also not the end of the world. Right? Yeap. So if you guys have any other topics you want us to discuss, feel free to leave it in the comments and also let us know what else to talk about next time. Remember to like, share and subscribe! Bye!