Another summer in Ottawa is slowly but surely nearing its end, and to us here at uOttawa Quidditch that means a new season, new challenges and, of course, new players! We’ve received a lot of excited communication from incoming first years eager to get started at uOttawa, so we thought we’d catch up with some of the team’s former firsties and have them share their trials, triumphs, tips and tricks with the next generation. Brooms up!
Environmental Science (French Extended Stream)
Competitive Team Chaser
Claire’s relationship with quidditch wasn’t exactly love at first sight. In her own words, she was “dragged kicking and screaming to the first practice by a friend” (Editor’s Note: we love you too, Claire). But although she didn’t immediately take to the idea of it, she definitely took to the sport like a natural!
DOMINIQUE REA PARENT
Mexico City, Mexico
General Arts with a minor in Film Studies
Development Team Chaser
In her own words, Dominique was “wandering lost and afraid around the tables at 101 week when suddenly, like a shining beacon of light and hope, there was the Quidditch table.” (Editor’s Note: We get that a lot. The ‘shining beacon’ effect is because our players are just too good-looking). Dominique, a self-professed Potterhead, just had to join the quidditch team!
Political Science (and graduate of Police Foundations at St Lawrence and Algonquin colleges)
Competitive Team Beater
Mat was destined to join the team from the moment he moved into Brooks Residence and met his roommate, coach Chris Radojewski. If the pile of hoops, brooms and quaffles that occupied Mat’s living room for half the year wasn’t enough to convince him, he also discovered that a former high school classmate played for the team as well!
Biomedical Science (Extended French Stream)
Competitive Team Chaser
Mike was hooked the moment a uOttawa Ambassador called him during university application season and mentioned the team as a selling point for uOttawa. He is the aforementioned friend who dragged Claire to her first practice. Remember, folks, friends don’t let friends refuse to play quidditch.
What was the biggest adjustment for you coming to university?
Claire: Knowing how to balance studying and personal life. I started out studying in my room a lot, but I was miserable, then I stared spending more time with friends, and it probably went too far the other way for a while, but it seems to have balanced itself out better now.
Dominique: It’s a tie between the weather and managing my time to be able to work and study and go to every quidditch practice I was able to attend.
Mat: My biggest adjustment was that it was my first year living on my own, and I had to study more and write more than I did in college.
Mike: Biggest adjustment was learning to manage my own schedule and the fact that no one was going to tell me what I should and shouldn’t be doing. You really find out how independent you can be in those first few weeks away from home.
How did uOttawa Quidditch impact your first year experience?
Claire: Quidditch had a massive impact on my first year at uOttawa. As someone who had played a lot of high school and club sports quite competitively, quidditch gave me that outlet, and managed to combine a lot of my former sports together (Basketball, softball). It kept me active, and my freshman fifteen might well have been 15 lost.
Besides the athletic aspect of it, quidditch creates a fantastic community of amazing people, which, to be perfectly honest, was kind of unexpected. I expected quidditch to be really nerdy, but it wasn’t. The sport is challenging, there are all kinds of different people (varsity athletes to musicians), and none of them are afraid to do something because someone else might think it uncool. My closest friends that I made in first year are from quidditch. I don’t know what my university life would have been like without it.
Dominique: Seriously, without the Quidditch Team I would still be lost and afraid. Never have I seen more camaraderie, love (quove) and acceptance as I have seen with this amazing group of people. Joining the Quidditch Team is the best decision I’ve made since entering University. These guys have helped me with everything from personal problems to getting projects done. Joining this team is like joining a family (quamily).
Mat: Quidditch gave me a social group since all my other friends were either at Carleton or another school, or still living at home. It also gave me a chance to play competitive sports again, which I missed so much!
Mike: It was a huge help! Having a team with people in your year or upper years that are in similar programs is fantastic! If you need help people are there for you.
What academic advice do you have for incoming first years?
Claire: You’re going to need to study: more than you did in high school, but not ridiculous amounts. Create a social life for yourself and have outlets. As I learned at the beginning of the year, if you coop yourself up in your room and do nothing but study, you will be miserable and your room will feel like a jail cell.
Dominique: Don’t use your laptop in class! I swore to myself that I had the strength to keep away from the wonders on the internet (I’m looking at you, Tumblr). Believe me, very few people have that kind of strength. Also, as soon as you get an assignment, get some work done on it. Even if it isn’t much, if you get close to the deadline and you haven’t worked on it, you’ll feel much better if you already started it.
Mat: Make sure you stay on top of your studying so that you don’t miss out on other things you want to do, like quidditch practice or tournaments. Also, if you’re ever having difficulty with academics, don’t be afraid to ask for help! The team is full of people in all disciplines and years, and if we don’t know the answer we’ll always know someone who does. You can quote me on that!
Mike: I can really only speak for science programs and classes, but go to class! If your class has a DGD you should definitely go to it! Those things will raise your grade by 5% minimum! And do your readings before the night before the test. (Editor’s Note: This applies to all programs and classes. Go to class! That’s why you pay ‘em the big bucks, so don’t let your money go to waste.)
Any other words of wisdom for incoming first years?
Claire: Find the proper balance for yourself. It will take a while. I’m still perfecting it. Find a way to study enough to get marks you’re happy with, but don’t let that be your life. Find an outlet, find friends (quidditch is good for both of these). Have fun, don’t beat yourself up if you miss a DGD or two, and try not to get addicted to your snooze button. Also, be yourself. This isn’t the high school bull $#!% that doesn’t work because everyone is still catty. This is going to be the key to you being happy. You are in a school with 40, 000 other people, your kind of people will be there, you just have to find them. This isn’t high school anymore. There is no cool crowd. Find people that you are comfortable being you around and it will go really well.
Dominique: To quote the Doctor “There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t act a little childish sometimes.” And of course “Always bring a banana to a party, bananas are good!” I can only give this advice. Always have an open mind, take advantage of student discounts and use the SFUO services, you paid for them so might as well use them. I’m talking free food, access to a skating rink and pool here!
Mat: Make sure to keep healthy one way or another. Try a workout or two per week, and watch out for the cafeteria food. I had a meal plan my first year and I ate nothing healthy other than what my mom sent me. Let’s just say thank you, fast metabolism!
Mike: Regardless of whether or not you decide to join our club, find a club or team that you enjoy and get involved! It’s great to have a network of people who all share a common interest and can help one another out academically or in any other regard.
Favourite part of living in Ottawa?
Claire: Apart from having met the best team ever, it would have to be the proximity of all of the interesting things to do. I’m from suburbia, so unlike Ottawa I can’t just walk to everything, and there aren’t a ton of things do. At U of O I walked to the theatre (Albert St has a great student deal), to the grocery store, went to the NAC, went out for dinners and breakfasts, visited the Byward Market, and so many other things. You’re in the nation’s capital! There is so much to do and it’s all really close.
Dominique: Skating on the canal in the winter!
Mat: How close everything is! I’m from the country, everything is at least a 10-minute drive back home, but here it’s a quick walk down the road.
Mike: You’ll feel pretty damn Canadian when you’re living here in Ottawa.
One thing all first years need to add to their First year Bucket List?
Claire: Join the quidditch team? But apart from that, this question is a toughy. My amazing first year experience was really a perfect storm of a whole bunch of different experiences and people. But if you want an actual thing to do, the light show on Parliament Hill was pretty good!
Dominique: Play quidditch at least once, you will not regret it. But that’s too obvious so I would say volunteer, it is the most fun you can have without a broom between your legs.
Mat: Try quidditch!
Mike: Everyone should skate on the Rideau Canal at least once in their first year! A whole bunch of students get to say they skate to work or to school. Wouldn’t you like to be one of them?
If you’d like to hear more from a quidditch player in your program or faculty, or if you’d like to find out about summer quidditch in your area, drop us a line through @uo_quidditch, uo.quidditch[at]gmail[dot]com or our Facebook fanpage.
From all of us here at uOttawa Quidditch to all of you entering first year, congratulations and welcome to what will be one of the most exciting, crazy years of your life! We can’t wait to meet you!