Engineering is a tough course in university. There’s a huge work load, too many tests, impossibly difficult subjects… a stressful and time-consuming program. Because of this, engineers have to bond together as a group, a family, to pass and just get through. I think people don’t quite understand us, and sometimes I just wish I could tell them our story, or at least mine. As a McMaster Engineering student and a Redsuit (a frosh week controller/event organizer), I have heard a lot of stereotypes that we are sexist, racist egotistical, negligent drunk individuals. I would like to explain a little…
Other faculties say they start disliking us starting at Welcome Week (a week of events made for the incoming first years to get them to know campus and feel integrated into the school). Engineering is well known for running around shouting obnoxious cheers that push the limits of being socially acceptable or that scream faculty pride. We are loud, vibrant and dramatic, where as the other faculties (from my perception) are quiet, formal and … NOT obnoxious. I think because of this difference we seem like shit disturbers. What I’d like to say about this is that Welcome week is a time to get integrated into the school, feel welcomed and comfortable, and just have fun! Even for the redsuits themselves, this is one of the few times a year where we can just relax, have fun, and forget about the mountain of stress and hard work coming. I know I wouldn’t have liked to spend faculty day any other way. By being “forced” to be out-of-the-box and obnoxious I felt so much more included, and like no one would outcast me. It made feel like part of a family. We need this family. If you don’t, you fail. Let’s admit it too, engineers are strange ones. By being shown we can be weird as we want and still be accepted and loved makes the world of a difference.
I can personally say that participating in Welcome Week with engineers just as they set it up, then continuing in being part of our community has done everything for me. It saved me from a downward spiral. It saved me. I became a redsuit because of all that its done for me, and because I want to help others just like redsuits did for me.
All our shenanigans and “pranks” and event; they’re just humorous. We aren’t serious when we shout our “putting-down” cheers at other faculties (and may I remind you, they shout terrible things right back). We LOVE other faculties. McMaster is our home, and that includes the Humanities, Health Sci, Science, Nurses…. everyone. We’re only joking around. We have to. That comedy is what loosens us up from our suffocating course. Without it I think I’d die of stress and worry. I just wish the other faculties could understand we only do this to survive. Plus we are weird, socially awkward and crazy, and our sense of humor is …. crazy. Sure that means we don’t seem socially acceptable, but bear with us.
These tomfoolery… we love them. And because we love McMaster, we think it’s awesome to share it with them. We want everyone to have as much fun as we do. This is how we show our love. Yea, it might be a weird way, but come on, you can only do so much math before you go a little insane. Some of these things are Welcome Week events (that I kind of talked about up there), Santa Hog( we sing and collect money for charity), other charity events, pub nights, Kipling ‘Pranks’, etc.
Kipling ‘Pranks’ are a bunch of silly projects made and set up by the graduating engineering students the day before their ceremony where they finally get their iron ring. They are approved by our Faculty of Engineering (Associate Dean) and by Health & Safety (EOHSS), so they are harmless. This year unfortunately we had a bit of an ….. incident with one of our Kipling ‘Pranks”; the maze in the art squad. A bashful article was posted in our McMaster newspaper, and there has been others before it.
We honestly don’t mean any harm. It’s true that if it was another faculty’s prank they probably would have left it. If I saw the Artsies set up something like that I would’ve been so excited; who doesn’t want their life spiced up from the everyday workload and stress of school? If I don’t like the obnoxious singing in the student center or that the cultural days took up the only open work space when I needed to do an assignment, I don’t get offended by them or hate the organizing faculty. Everyone has their fun events.
So how do we stop faculty phobia? It’s hard to know. Engineering isn’t the only faculty with bad stereotypes.
Sure engineers come off as proud, but that’s because we love each other and what we do so much, and because we have such a bond. Who isn’t proud of “true family”? I love McMaster, and I know all the other faculties do too. So, TOGETHER we should become proud and TOGETHER we should make one huge family.
Maybe one day we’ll all understand each other better.
And we’ll study and we’ll go give it all we got.