Campus Spotlight, Student Life

Frosh 2023: A test of the head, heart, and liver

McGill Frosh is an infamous four-day university orientation, sending thousands of first-year undergraduates across Montreal to concerts, bars, clubs, boats, beaches, and rooftops. Frosh is not an event for the faint of heart, legs, or liver. Drinking often begins in the morning and continues far into the night, giving the event a controversial reputation. Nevertheless, Frosh is a beloved and tried-and-true introduction to university life for thousands of first years that many, even years after, cite as their favourite memory at McGill.  

While it elicits generally positive reviews, it seems that Frosh caters to a very specific personality. Gabrielle Chen, U0 Arts, highlighted that Frosh’s audience can exclude party-averse students in an interview with The Tribune

“You have to really love that one type of partying to have a good time because it’s not really dynamic or a very well-rounded event,” Chen said. 

Maya Santos, U1 Management, also pointed to the event’s focus on drinking culture.

“Frosh isn’t very school-related. It’s more party-related.” Santos said.

Sara Prins, U0 Arts, agreed with Santos’ sentiments. She enjoyed Frosh, though attributed the majority of this experience to her outgoing nature. 

“[Frosh] is built for a specific person,” Prins said. “If you’re not comfortable with dancing, you’re kinda screwed. If you’re not comfortable being around mobs of people, you’re kinda screwed.”  

While “screwed” may be an exaggeration in some cases, Frosh activities lack the versatility required to appeal to their diverse participants. Beyond the restrictions of personal character, many froshies—to use the colloquial term—are 17 years old and thus not of legal drinking age. These students must stay sober at events where most other froshies are drinking heavily. In addition to the feelings of isolation that come with such a restriction, underage froshies receive no discount on their Frosh ticket.

Beyond the alcohol issue, Frosh requires a high level of adaptability and flexibility. It is an exciting but ruthless mix of beginning-of-year nerves, poor sleep, sub-par meals, and lots of walking. 

“If you have a lot of allergies or any sort of disability—even like anxiety—[Frosh] could be really tough,” Chen pointed out. 

Beyond accessibility, some first-years opt out of Frosh for a variety of reasons. Ava Monet-Jazt, U1 Arts, lives in Montreal and has a group of friends and chose to skip the boozy and expensive orientation.

“I also know all the bars and all the clubs that I enjoy, so why would I spend 250 dollars to get really day drunk with a bunch of strangers if I can go and get drunk at the bars I already like with the friends I have?” Monet-Jazt said.

Though Frosh saw a great deal of complaints about long days, too much alcohol, and the expensive ticket price, the event still garnered generally positive reviews this year. 

Aaron Bentros, U0 Arts, even rebutted the argument that there was pressure to drink during Frosh. 

“I can’t drink too much, so I staggered myself out with water, and I don’t think anyone’s pressuring me to do anything,” Bentros said. 

Chloe Dann, U0 Arts, described Frosh as a great way to make close friendships with other first-year students, reporting that many of her closest friends thus far were made during the week’s activities.

While Frosh could certainly use some changes, it nevertheless provides a foundational opportunity for one to make friends, discover the essentials of Montreal nightlife, and jump headfirst into the McGill community. 

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