UOttawa Gazette
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We are dangerously close to the biggest day of the year for all Gee-Gees: the Panda Game. This is unofficial homecoming for the U of O community, and for all who choose to celebrate, there are things to keep in mind to ensure the best weekend possible. 

There are essentially two directions your homecoming can take. The first direction is ideal; it’s the fun type of day that some of your annoying friends might call, “a movie.” The second outcome, however, is much different. It’s an absolute nightmare that will probably haunt you for the rest of your life.

Luckily for you, I’ve experienced both types of homecomings. I’ve had the successful day that lasted from sunrise to sunset. I’ve also had the messy homecoming — a day that makes me cringe just thinking about it. The latter homecoming is an experience that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. And with my background in successful and unsuccessful homecomings, here are some of my tips to make the most of your Panda weekend. 

My first piece of advice is to plan your day ahead of time. Specifically, pick the people you want to be with and the places you want to go to before Saturday. This will give your day a sense of necessary structure. It will also help prevent your annoying friends from suggesting those ridiculous ‘spur of the moment’ plans — its never a good idea to Uber to Vanier after 11 p.m. Having this structure eliminates some of the unpredictability that can easily derail your day.

A quintessential part of any homecoming is the pre-party. Whether people are getting ready for the game, or just there to celebrate with friends, the morning of is a time when people hangout, and often start drinking.

At the pre-party, I will wear my responsible adult hat and advise pacing yourself. We all know that one unfortunate person at the pre who flew too close to the sun and ended up getting burnt before the day even started. This Saturday will be a long day, and your mantra should be, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” 

I will also say a word on food and drink strategy. For those planning to attend the game, I recommend having both breakfast and lunch before arriving at the stadium — pancakes in the morning are always a great idea. This is a good strategy not only for your drinking plans, but also for your wallet. Unless you’re Bill Gates, I’d advise avoiding expensive arena food.

Finally, I recommend everyone participating in the celebrations utilizes a break. My homecoming experience has taught me that the day can be divided into two parts: the morning, which lasts until the end of the game, and the night, which begins once the game is over.

Once the game has finished, there is a brief break period. I advise people return home, and take about an hour to hydrate and eat before you get back into the swing of things. If you don’t utilize this break, you’ll be punching a one way ticket to passing out at 6 p.m. in someone’s washroom as you ask yourself, “why did I have all that Crown Royal Apple?”

The Panda Game is a wonderful time to be a Gee-Gee. You only have a few real opportunities to participate in the celebration, and making the most of it should be paramount for everyone. The worst outcome for homecoming is always looming in the distance, but by learning from some of my mistakes, hopefully you can have a successful weekend.


  • Matthew is a fourth-year student studying philosophy and political science at the University of Ottawa. This is his first year as the Fulcrum’s Opinions Editor, and he looks forward to hearing opinions from all his fellow students.