Confusion Corner: Revamping orientation

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August 19, 2010

11:15 AM

Aside from my wonderful duty as Confusion Corner columnist, I also serve as and Orientation Aide and have some ideas to how to make Orientation even better. Thus, I present you the Jason Rogers way:

The steamed spinach and dry turkey stations would be given little more than a perfunctory mention as I walked the freshmen straight to the cereal row in the Commons Dining Hall. There, I would explain to them the importance of making an informed decision when faced with a choice between Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs, and the socio-economic implications of each cereal — only communists eat Shredded My wide-eyed new arrivals would be hustled past the Caf, past the Sadler Center, and straight to Wawa.

Because, let’s be honest with ourselves here, where are they going to be getting most of their food from, anyway? I don’t see the Marketplace rolling out a Buffalo Chicken Flatbread at three in the morning. From there, our tour would continue down Richmond Road to Chanello’s, where we’d order a supreme pizza — because it’s important they include all the major food groups.

While I completely understand the importance of the orientation sessions addressing community, responsibility and respect, I think it’s far more important that new students be educated on climbing, streaking and swimming. I’m talking about the Triathalon, of course. Now, sure, the naysayers among us will be incensed at the prospect of advocating a tradition of which two-thirds of its tasks are illegal. To you, naysayers, I say, come on. Live a little. You’re only going to be at the College for four years — five if you just can’t seem to pass Research Methods or Spanish 101. After all, don’t we always harp on the importance of trying new things during orientation? Have you ever swam naked in a cold murky lake? Well, I have, because I paid attention during the Triathalon orientation session.

AlchoholEDU and the Digital Information Literacy exam would be replaced by the mandatory creation of both Facebook and Twitter accounts. Command of Facebook has been far more critical to my success in college than the ability to tell you that one five-ounce glass of wine is equal to an ounce and a half of liquor. That’s all well and good, but can you tell me how many mutual friends you need to have before it’s not creepy to friend request someone? Well, during my orientation program, students would learn that five mutual friends is equal in creepiness to one and a half former professors. And the creation of Twitter accounts would just be because I think 1,200 incoming freshmen all tweeting “OMG this weather is SO HOT!!!” would make me smile.

And finally, I would tell them about diversity here at the College. Administrators love to talk about numbers and statistics and pull out maps of the world and topographically accurate globes and point to places like Mongolia and Sierra Leone and proudly exclaim, “We have students from here! Aren’t we diverse?” That’s never been what diversity has been about to me here. When I think of my diverse College experience, I think of my own fraternity brothers, some of whom are Muslim, atheist, bleeding-heart liberals, Bible-thumping conservatives, dreadlock-sporting rugby players double-majoring in Chinese and philosophy and Nintendo 64 enthusiasts who are getting their degrees in marketing and biology. What matters is not your country of origin or the color of your skin — diversity is found in your interests, in your beliefs and values, and how here at the College — from far-flung corners of the world, believing thousands of different things about the world — we all come together, hand in hand, as griffins.

And that, freshmen, was how you ruin an otherwise profound moment. You’ll do that many times while you’re here.

__Jason Rogers is a confusion corner columnist. He is excited to indoctrinate a herd of new freshman to the supremacy of Wawa.__

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