welcome to ubc freshman orientation
i hope you brought your rain jacket!
you’re going to need it to save you
from all of the bullshit we’re about to dump on you.
the first thing you should know is that ubc is
a place of community.
we’re here to help you
live well to learn well.
unless you have a mental illness.
unless you have a disability.
unless you’re a minority.
unless you’re queer.
unless you can’t afford it.
unless you’re a woman.
unless you’ve been raped.
because we’re the image of progress
here at ubc – look at all of our
try out first year residence
if you’re new to the area.
you’ll make great friends.
you’ll eat dinner with them.
you’ll follow them to San Francisco
you’ll smoke your first cigarette and
toss it off the golden gate.
you’ll make a new home
within the arms of other people.
that they’re a safe enough place
for your heart.
one of them will take your body
and break it on top of a
shitty dorm bed.
for months after
you’ll feel like slitting your throat
when you think of his hands
unbuttoning your jeans.
when you finally get the words out,
they all will make excuses
for him –
he was drunk he doesn’t remember.
you’ll spend your student loan money
on plan b and pepper spray.
people you once cried with
in the dark
will say that you just want attention.
you’ll spend the next year
tearing down walls with your hands
and realizing that you now
have nothing but splinters.
you’ll be too ruined
to let anyone touch you.
every hello another threat,
every hand a new bruise.
you will learn to never feel
safe and forget
how to raise your voice.
you will walk past groups of boys
with your eyes focused
on the pavement,
too afraid of recognizing
you’ll cancel plans,
you’ll cancel plans,
you’ll cancel plans.
and then you will no longer
you’ll spend Friday nights
watching old episodes of the x-files
and googling ways to kill yourself
that won’t hurt too much.
when you tell student health that you’re
you will have to get a referral.
you will be put on a four month waiting list.
you will be sent to a male
makes a joke when you tell him
about what happened last December.
you’ll wait three more months for
a female psychiatrist to have an opening,
the whole time calling student health
on a weekly basis, begging for help,
because you want to die,
but you think maybe you already have.
the new psychiatrist
will put you on meds that don’t work
your problems as
a pre-existing mental illness,
and a negative outlook on life.
she’ll discourage you from reporting.
you’ll miss a few appointments
because you can’t get out of bed
and soon stop going altogether.
ubc will charge you $334 for wasting
your gpa will drop
because there are too many days
where leaving your house
feels like kicking a chair out from
you can only ask to borrow notes
so many times.
you’ll be given a “late withdrawal”
from your german class
for missing a midterm
even when you provide doctors notes
and try to explain everything
that has happened this year
in the too short fifteen minutes that
arts advising schedules for you.
you won’t get your $500 back
because rules are rules.
it’s in the syllabus.
you’ll stop calling home because
you don’t know how to lie to your
you’ll stop eating anything other
than microwave popcorn and
campbells chicken noodle
because nothing else stays down
and everything feels like sand in your mouth
you’ll stare at bottles of pills
at three AM
because your boyfriend forgot to call.
you’ll start burning your wrists
with the pink lighter
one of your old friends
gave to you for Christmas
you’ll debate dropping a few classes,
go from five to four to three a term.
you’ll debate dropping out school altogether.
you’ll debate dropping out of life completely.
you’ll learn to hate yourself
a little bit more
every time you cry in the shower.
because who else can you blame?
they always said
it was up to you.