The Orientation Engine Has Left the Station
This year's orientation: Exciting. Amazing. More laid back in terms of students that I expected, but not in terms of activities. I worked. HARD. I was up before 8 almost every day and going to bed exceptionally late after catching up with other early-arrival friends and (futile attempts in) unpacking my room. Every time my mom called this past week, I was in a massive time crunch and could only exchange pleasantries and the updated list of packages I had received before hanging up. Now, in the week that classes begin all I can really do is listen to her voicemails. Hi, family! I'm alive but very busy!
Orientation was a good week, even weather-wise, which surprised me. There was some sun, some rain, and some thunderstorms. Unlike practically everyone in Oberlin, thunderstorms terrify me. My dog and I used to compete about how far away from thunder we could get. She would always try and sneak into the house, and I would try and sneak into my parents' bed. Kinda hard here in Oberlin with them in Hawaii.
As I mentioned before, I was back early as an academic ambassador, a friendly, name-tag-emblazoned helpful upperclassman to help the overwhelmed freshmen during their first academic duties. Other than the perk of arriving back on campus early, I got to meet a number of extraordinary new students.
One of the minor flaws in orientation (though I understand the reason for it) is the one-sided name-tagging. Ambassadors and other campus helpers have nametags, and the 800+ new students don't. I pointed out nametags to practically everyone, mentioning that we could all answer any questions they would inevitably have at some point this week, from the mundane "Where is my dorm?" to the more complicated "How do I declare an independent major?" I am not (too) old (yet) but I cannot remember all the people I met this week, and I apologize for it. I only wish I could, because they were all pretty amazing, and I expect that after running into them for the next few weeks, the names stick. If I look at you cluelessly sometime within the next two months, mention your name again. We don't want any embarrassing situations like last year.*
Also, I want to congratulate all of you who came up to me and introduced yourselves and told me you read the blogs! Suggestion, to you and your peers I didn't have the pleasure of meeting: comment! Please, oh, please, oh, PLEASE comment. It made my day hundred-fold better every time I heard someone mention the Oberlin blogs, or that their parents enjoyed reading them even more than they did (here, I shall place a requisite shoutout to Leah from Maryland and Annabelle from Kentucky and their parents, since I mentioned I would during lunch with them during the Day of Service). And why have that warm fuzzy feeling stop, or only be for me? Tell your Oberlin bloggers things you like about their posts, or just that you want to hear more. It makes us feel like our creative work is not in vain.
Back to the actual orientation observations I was making... this incoming class reminds me of my class: amoeba-ing themselves into huge walking-tour type groups spreading out all over campus, sitting in huge circles outside until late, passionate about a wide variety of things, a willingness to talk about anything with anyone, a natural ease in asking questions of upperclassmen, and openly and outwardly social. Props to the admissions office for choosing them, and to all you kids for choosing Oberlin. We're glad you're here!
*Last year during orientation, I met a fine freshman fellow. I actually met him multiple times, and then we got into the "smile and wave" ritual around campus. Problem: he knew my name and I didn't know his. At some point, I tried to stop and talk to him around friends, and urged them to introduce themselves so I would finally learn his name. Eventually, a friend recommended I give him a nickname, something obvious that everyone would have but would only refer to this student. Name decided: Shoes. Later that day, in another failed attempt to learn this fine fellow's name, we got in a conversation about his wonderfully bright-colored shoes... and at that point, I gave up. I would find out his name in due time, and about a month later, I ran across his name in a theater production. Confirmation! My freshman friend now has a name!
Want to know my schedule, or when you can get a tasty adjective sandwich? Stay tuned and I'll get back to you guys as soon as I know! The first week of the semester is full of the '50s housewife dream: shopping (for classes), ironing (out schedules), and cleaning (and unpacking all belongings).
Gonna keep with the train metaphor for another post... But that's it. I can only make obscure childhood references for so long. That, and once I start writing about Day of Service, it's better to have references involving physical personpower. "Bob the Builder Makes Big Parade Shelves!" or for my post about scheduling, something more literary: "Housekeeping, or The Secret Life of oBEErlin-ites."