Disorientation 2008

1220627493I did college orientation twice, and I hated it both times. The first was for my short-lived stint at the University of Rhode Island. The older brother of one of my high school classmates led my group of freshman in the URI fight song, which talks about being born, living, and dying in the Ocean State, which I most definitely did not want to do.

My second orientation was at Emerson College. While the faces were different, the level of perkiness and number of cheesy icebreakers remained the same.

I didn’t think it was possible, but today’s incoming undergrads have even more orientation activities to suffer through.

[F]irst-year students arrive on campus to a new level of fanfare, greeted with a welter of events designed to build school spirit and ease the often bumpy transition to college life. While the traditional information and advising sessions remain, they are increasingly taking a back seat to a frenetic schedule of social outings, from harbor cruises to yoga classes and comedy shows.

The social education kids get at college is important, which is why schools shouldn’t use trust falls and trips to the Comedy Connection to spoon-feed students friends. When these students graduate, their first employers aren’t going to hold a Twister competition on a giant inflatable board to foster relationships—they’re going to have to make their own acquaintances. (At Boston Daily, we prefer spins on the Wheel of Indecision at Bukowski’s)

And with tuition increasing exponentially and loans harder to find than Whitey Bulger, shouldn’t colleges give students and their parents the most academic value for their money? Let the newbies wander the halls of their super-posh dorms and break the ice with another kid who loves Death Cab for Cutie once classes start. A later start could save them a few hundred bucks, and the priceless value of their dignity.