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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Disoriented

Marywood and Wilkes have done it, and I'm sure many other colleges do it as well.

Incoming freshmen are invited to campus around this time of year for a preorientation orientation.  It's a great idea.

I went to college a long time ago.  Orientation was on a Sunday at the end of August.  We were herded around campus, given packets and information and that was it.  Oh, I should add there were some efforts at forced socialization-- a picnic, a couple of volleyball games.  I blew those off.  It appeared those events were really geared toward the dorm girls.   We townies could fend for ourselves.   I was lucky in that a high school friend was attending the same college.  We did the bare minimum, then took off to Burger King.  Whopper.  No mayonnaise.  Large fries.  Diet soda.  I then went home for a nap.  I should have gone to the picnic and scored a free hot dog or two.

It was a rapid succession of events.  Sunday orientation.  Monday classes.  It was the equivalent of teaching someone to swim by kicking them off a pier and in to a lake.  It was a lot to digest in a short amount of time.  New location.  New people.  New way of doing things.

In retrospect, it wasn't that big of a deal.  We were 17 or 18 years old.  We were old enough to handle it.  So much was different, but that was part of the fun.

There is one trend that disturbs me a little.  Some colleges and universities send new students off on public service projects  to get them used to their new communities.  It appears forced rather than voluntary, and I'm not totally comfortable with that.  There is a difference between volunteering and work.

The bottom line is that the early orientation lessens some of the "entering college" shock a lot of freshmen experience.