Orientation week: a week of meeting new people and trying to remember all their names, a week of constant activity and information overload, a week of walking to the extreme end of campus for a 10 minute laptop configuration and then back to the opposite end for a 45-minute lunch before heading out again, a week of trying to come up with fresh answers to “Tell us something unique about yourself.” Don’t get me wrong – I’m having a wonderful time, and am already super excited about the classmates I have already befriended and the schedule I have lined up for the quarter. However, sitting through the endless welcome speeches from administrators, professors, and student government leaders has made me realize what a curse my analytical mind can be. Because I can’t just sit and appreciate their kind sentiments. I fidget in my seat as I count the overwhelming number of worn-out phrases they manage to cram into each well-meant sentence . . .
Some examples, and I cross my heart I did not make any of this up: In the last 3 days, I’ve been told, many times, that these next 4 (or 5. or 6.) yrs will be the most important of my life. They will change my life. Today could be the most important day of my life (picture Viva la Vida playing inspirationally in the background.) My classmates and I are the future, and it is all up to us to make a difference in the world. We are the solution to world poverty, oil spills, terrorism, and the economic crisis. Everyone is depending on us to make the world a better place. I must own my future. I am the only one who knows what I can be. I must take advantage of this amazing opportunity. There has never been a better time to enter college/pursue a business degree/fill in the blank. Then there was lots of stuff about diversity and inclusiveness . . . Oh and it is very important to be open-minded. So important that one of the administrators re-phrased the old spiritual “I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table” to be about coming to the “table” “hungry” for new ideas and had the entire freshman class stand up and sing it with him.
Now that I’ve finished venting, I’ll wrap up with some definite positives: my orientation group of 15 is a wonderful group, a totally diverse (!) mix of freshies They are thoughtful and open to sharing those thoughts, they are friendly and welcome conversation, and they are determined to make this college experience a good one. The campus that I spend so much time walking across each day is a beautiful one, with brick pathways scattered with chalk messages saying “Welcome Class of 2014!”, fields of green grass where people play Frisbee, and beautiful buildings with gold-capped towers and domes. And the cafeteria food is goooooood. (I’m talkin made-to-order omelettes every morning 🙂 )
So, if this good stuff keeps up, I think I might be able to handle the pressure of making the world a better place. We’ll see – first I have to finish the 4 most important years of my life.
Wish me luck,
(Originally posted 9/8/10)