Bingo, beer, and sandwiches: looking back on a relaxed TOP Week
The academic year is off to a good start for the new batch of first-year students. The introduction week is as in the old days one for the diaries: with assault courses in the burning sun, packed halls with partying students and hangover sandwiches in the grass. A look back at the most relaxed TOP Week in years.
The hottest bingo of the year
After a quiet dinner in the Railway Park, Monday night’s TOP Week 2022 really got going with the Silent Music Bingo in the Koepelhal. A bingo without balls and numbers, coffee, and a cookie, but mostly with lots of beer and dancing. And anything but silent. Silent probably referred to the bingo itself.
At the back of the Koepelhal, it was not too bad. Further to the front, the music was so loud that we can only hope that students were wearing earplugs, so that they can attend the non-silent lectures in the coming academic year. Vain effort at such a noise level to shout “BINGO!” so scores could be passed on via an app. In the corners of the Koepelhal large fans were placed for much-needed cooling during this hottest bingo of the year.
A day for entertainment
Tuesday saw the Explore Fair on campus. On the green and yellow grass, inflatable assault courses and other devices were ready to entertain the students while walking past the many booths for information about student associations and organizations within the university and opportunities for side jobs. Among those side jobs also “door-to-door selling,” so be aware! The mentors again provided lunch for their groups, and everywhere, you could get a drink or cool off under a tree or sprinkler, because it was very hot again.
Time to get to know each other a little better
On Wednesday, the program started with a lunch, again in the Spoorpark. During the introduction week, you notice how many new residents Tilburg suddenly has. Scattered throughout the park, groups of students were eating and talking, a good opportunity to get to know each other better. Most of them sought a spot in the shade on the side of the apartment buildings along the Hart van Brabantlaan, because the rest of the Spoorpark remains a large plain of grass with little shelter from the sun. Children of local residents played in the water and fountains.
A view of the city
A few students paid the one and a half euros to be allowed to ascend the Kemp Tower in the Spoorpark for a first look at and beyond Tilburg. What would their gaze have been fixed on? Tilburg has no Martinitoren or Dom of Utrecht, no canals to look down on or picturesque streets. You have to discover Tilburg from the inside. Or maybe their gaze was largely directed inward. What will the coming year bring me in this new city? Will I make friends, will I like the study program I have chosen?
Getting lost in an art maze
Very different is the Doloris Meta Maze in the former Post Office on the Spoorlaan. An art maze with more than 40 rooms “full of mysterious objects and hidden passageways” that you have to discover and experience on your own. So mysterious that no-one is not allowed to take a picture inside. It will make some people curious, but others not so much. Then there is always the rooftop bar with street food and cocktails.
Sing along until you can’t anymore
Wednesday was also the day of the TOP Cantus. Again, a lot of beer and singing along until you can’t have anymore. Although the Koepelhal is large, due to the large number of students the cantus had to be divided over the afternoon and evening. All the familiar sing-alongs from the past and present passed by while the mentors kept serving beer in large cans. And of course, Guus Meeuwis’s Kedeng was not missing. At the beginning of the cantus, the people from the organization and security tried to make the students sit down again when they all spontaneously stood up, but in vain. And besides, in the coming academic year, a lot of time will be spent sitting on a chair.
Sports, sports, and more sports
In addition to information, food, drink, and parties, there was also time for sports. On Thursday students could get acquainted with the range of sports offered at the university. In the sports hall, you could play basketball, handball, squash, and table tennis or see how a climbing wall works. Or you could work out in the gym on your own. Outside, you could get to know soccer, field hockey, korfball, rugby, and beach volleyball. With a temperature of over thirty degrees, beach volleyball was perhaps the most appropriate sport of the day, although it lacked the cooling and splashing water of the surf.
And then it’s back to searching for a spot
After such an introduction week in which students got to know each other and the city a little, many of them will long for a ‘normal’ study week. After all, that is what they came to Tilburg for. From a village or town in Brabant or another province, or from a country on the other side of the world. When there were only a few bikes on campus during the summer, now you have to search for an empty spot in the bike racks.
Translated by Language Center, Riet Bettonviel