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Opinion

Orientation: Is it steering the future of Hamilton in the right direction?

By Cesar Renero ’17

September 5, 2013

Though the first week at Hamilton can be hectic and scary for first-years, it does provide them with the tools to succeed on the Hill. During Orientation, new students arrange their schedules, meet some of their professors and learn about campus organizations.  But did Orientation itself actually make acclimating to life at Hamilton easier? Or did it just tire the bejesus out of us right up until the first day of class?

I am a first-year who did Adirondack Adventure, so Orientation was that much more tiring.  Perhaps that’s exactly the point. An upperclassman told me that Orientation was meant to be tiring so first-years literally had no energy to party. That’s probably true, for I was sometimes so tired that I was indecisive whether to eat dinner or have a nap, and I know this was a sentiment shared by my fellow first-years.

Perhaps they should provide balloon animals to the first-years at the lectures to liven up the affair a little bit. Balloon animals and espresso machines; that’s all that is necessary to keep first-years interested in just about anything for two hours.

However, some activities were great, and helped us get to know a lot of people. Hamlympics, although mostly silly and a bit unorganized, was quite fun, especially when we got into a water-balloon fight with each other.

Or when you were walking along normally minding your own business, going to your next station, only for the serene silence to be harshly broken by a motley crew of highly energized people shouting “MARGE! MAAARGE!”

The Turf Field get-together on the first night was also a highlight of Orientation. Getting together and holding hands in a circle, with the occasional static jolt of electricity running through our hands, just seemed so eerily out of this world. Almost 500 kids together for the first time on a great esplanade made up of recycled tires and synthetic, grass-like foam. Powerful stuff.

I would like some inclusions in next year’s Orientation schedule. Apart from the balloon animals and the espresso machines, I think that Administration should give freshmen more time to get to know classes. I went into my first few classes knowing very little about the class in question, and that’s really not surprising considering I had chosen those classes only two days before.

Perhaps Hamilton should also set up an Academic Browsing session after new students register for classes, so you can talk to the professors you are registered with and talk to the professors you thought about registering with but didn’t for some reason. Then you could change courses before classes start and save a lot of hassle.

Oh, and a workshop in name-mnemonics would be terrific. I think I’m right in saying that every first-year has forgotten, on average, about 60 percent of the names of people they have met since arriving at Hamilton, which coincidentally is also the amount of freshmen which dozed off at least once at every Orientation lecture.

All in all, however, I very much liked Orientation.

The OLs are superbly nice people who genuinely want you to have a great start to your Hamilton career, most of the activities are fun, and even those espresso-deprived lectures are sometimes really informative; some of the speakers are absolute aces at catching your attention.

So, what grade would I give Hamilton’s Orientation program? A-. Good, but there is room for improvement.

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