Orientation is an unfortunate rite of passage necessary for anyone wishing to enter a new school, whether you're an excited freshman or indifferent junior who just wants to register and get the hell out of there.
This past week, I had the pleasure of attending the second orientation of my undergraduate career. While I was happy to be transferring to a new university, I was less than psyched to be stuck in a room of equally unimpressed transfers for eight long hours. As I sat down in the auditorium, which was one of many stops in this tour de boredom, I was reminded of my freshman orientation at my first school.
My first orientation was a two-day ordeal, complete with an in-depth tour of the gigantic campus and several ice breakers-If I had to say my name, hometown and something interesting about myself one more time, I was going to jump ship. Throughout those two grueling days spent making small talk with people I would never see again, I became painfully aware of how useless orientation was. Over-enthusiastic student tour guides paraded around, chanting the school name with such an exaggerated sense of school spirit that it was cloying.
After being split into several small groups, we were herded into classrooms, presumably for more ice breakers and fun facts about the school-all of which conveniently left out its racist and misogynistic history. As soon as the doors shut behind the last freshman, our tour guide changed faces faster than the mayor of Halloween Town. He quickly lost his facade and began going off-script.
What I was told was a session on financial aid and other money saving tips turned into a "Tips on how to spot a narc roommate and clever ways of hiding alcohol in freshman dorms."
Perhaps telling a bunch of 17 and 18 year-olds the trick to fitting in was through underage drinking and hiding contraband in their textbooks was not the best orientation tactic. Like I've said in the past, I'm all for a good time, but to be frank, 18 year-olds are already stupid enough; they don't need alcohol to worsen the situation.
The rest of the session's "money saving tips" was literally just a slide that said "Don't spend money." It was glorious.
Fast forward to my second orientation. The morning opened with a non-consensual dance-off between four students who were clearly unaware of what they had volunteered for. As I stared into the eyes of one unfortunate girl who was regretting all of her prior life decisions as she proceeded to half-ass the sprinkler, I was overcome with a sense which can best be described as "nope."
The next couple of hours were a lot like my first orientation. Fifteen students and I followed a frat guy around campus while he pointed out his favorite spots. This tour may have been helpful if we even knew where we were when we started; basically, I have a general sense of where everything is relevant to "That one spot on the green where a bunch of religious people persecute unwitting passerby."
I eventually ducked out and wandered around the campus aimlessly before sitting in an empty courtyard. All I needed was a cigarette and a sense of carelessness and I could be the protagonist in a John Hughes movie. At this point, I had checked enough boxes to be able to enroll in the school and decided to take my leave.
I passed the majors fair on my way out and stopped by my table to see if there was anything useful. Papers littered the desk, mainly all falling within the theme of "So you want to be a biology major? ... Why?"
I asked the advisor at the table if it was worth sticking around and while he was taken aback, even he couldn't justify hanging around for a four more hours just so he could watch over my shoulder as I clicked on classes on a computer.
I'm sure there are some students that thoroughly enjoyed orientation and made BFFL's with their tour guides-I just have never met them. While some orientation is necessary for incoming students, the two I attended dragged on beyond a point of necessity. Dance-offs and ice breakers were an unfortunate waste of time which did nothing but further my indifference towards the entire process.
On the bright side, I now know how to do a sick sprinkler.