The Trials and Tribulations of a Queen’s Student Visiting Western for the First Time:
Boarding the train last Thursday afternoon, I began a long journey to a land far, far away. But I wasn’t just travelling to any foreign landscape. I was travelling to London, Ontario for the first time; to the home of Queens’ longtime rival: Western University. From being bombarded by throngs of Queen’s students donning the notorious “Wuck Festern” t-shirts during homecoming, to enduring stereotypes of the Purple Mustangs as the ultimate antagonist to our beloved Golden Gaels, I was curious to see what a weekend-long experience as a “typical Western student” would have to offer.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely your average Queen’s student—tricolour-infused blood included—but I arrived in London with few preconceived notions of what it would be like. Having several friends who go to Western, along with my younger sister, it’s a wonder I refrained from making the trek until fourth year, but also demonstrates my own hesitancy as a Queen’s student toward the possibility of experiencing, or even enjoying (*gasp*), a weekend at the school of my university’s nemesis.
Arriving in London, I was impressed by the lack of animosity that was expressed towards myself, and toward Queen’s in general. Contrasted with the comparatively harsh greetings my friends from Western have faced when visiting Queen’s, (one friend was suggested not to wear any of her “Western”-emblazoned clothing in Kingston, another was faced with condescension when a Queen’s Commerce student scoffed at her for being in Ivey), no one really seemed to care whether my colour was tricolour or not.
This realization incited me to reassess my perspective on university rivalries. Just because I’m a Queen’s student, I don’t contain an inherent hatred for all things Western, and this collective loathing isn’t a condition of my identity as a Queen’s student either. Although I won’t stop chanting “Wuck Festern” anytime soon, I no longer define Western as a purely adversarial. I had an awesome time in London this weekend, and maybe I’ll “touchdown in London town” sometime in the near future.
Emma Hoffman, Editor-in-chief