Imagine my surprised when I checked the website this past week to find last week’s Technician includes an astounding amount of editorial content that I concur with. Where I’m usually at odds with these guys over what should be done, this week, I can wholeheartedly agree about things that shouldn’t be done.

Item the first, Paul McCauley’s piece about how ridiculous it is to spend so much media time on relatively trivial topics like Michael Jackson’s, compared to the importance of other topics, such as the economy. I’m sure he’ll get hatemail for that one, just as dad did when he rhetorically asked via Facebook status if we could lay off the Michael Jackson thing given that it was two weeks past. Jackson seems to have become a very polarizing figure, if only in death.

Item the second, the unsigned editorial about how Orientation is an expensive waste of time and resources. I really have to agree. I don’t have particularly unfond memories of my Orientation, but I mostly remember sitting through hours of lectures about not sexually harassing classmates and not cheating on tests. We did register for our first semester of classes, but it was all done online. No reason to have to travel to campus for that.

I also don’t remember Orientation being a pain because I didn’t have to take time off of work, and I didn’t have to travel a long distance to attend. Instead of sitting around my house, I sat around the dorm.

If I might derail into blind speculation, I would wonder if orientation isn’t more for publicity than education. Encouraging parents to come along gives the University time to really sell them on what a good investment they’re making (because I would guess that odds are high that the parents at Orientation are the ones bankrolling the education.) Or maybe it’s even as simple as losing points on the all-important national rankings by doing without the hallowed institution of Orientation.

I’ve often disagreed with the Technician staff before (the instance that springs to mind is McCauley’s well-written defense of his position against concealed carry on campus. But that was always about the merits of doing new things. In this case, I can agree that the status quo is pretty dumb.

Of course, there never is a real consensus on these things: the letters to the editor this week indict both the articles that I concur with. One says that we need to talk about celebrities on the news to avoid our world becoming “a dreary, lifeless place, full of dull, lifeless (though very realistic) people, now numb to all that surrounds them.” Egads.

There are also a few letters that defend Orientation, citing the useful activities that it includes (mostly the admittedly-complex and initially intimidating process of registering for classes). Okay, fine: make it a day thing where you go around campus and register. But repeatedly putting us in to lecture halls to try and sell us on what a great school we’re attending? That seems a bit of a waste.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. July 17, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Orientation is absolutely a waste of time. Starting in the spring, I ended up going through orientation something like 2 days before classes started. I’d already signed up for everything, and my sister & BIL had even walked me around campus one day to show me where all my classes the next semester would be (which can also easily be figured out through use of these newfangled map-things). I sat through a long lecture on the history of the school, plagiarizing, disability opportunities, etc., then took an official tour around campus since the other activity choices for the day all sucked.

    Essentially the only thing I got out of it was my student ID done. Granted, I did meet with my advisor to sign up for classes, and I’ll admit that likely helped me out, so there is some validity to using orientation to sign up students, but I may be wrong.

    Either way, it’s not worth putting new students through that misery and screwing up everyone else’s parking for two weeks *achem*.

    • Hober Short
      July 17, 2009 at 11:36 pm

      Exactly. It’s good to meet with advisers. So schedule a meeting with them just like you always do every semester to schedule for classes.

      The most useful thing I got out of Orientation was a fold-up map of campus that’s still in my backpack. Can we say freebie bag?

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