Michael Vail ‘24
The most valuable part of the college experience is the boot camp you face as a freshman.
When I was a freshman at the height of COVID, we did not have the typical campus welcome most other students receive. Before our virtual semester, we had some kind of Zoom meeting every week to get to know each other. I don’t remember anyone from my group, or what we talked about. All I remember is the cheap motel wooden bed headboard collapsing behind me, unprompted. I wonder if anyone noticed.
Preceding the second semester was Orientation, Pt. 2, for which I was hired to lead a week-long group therapy circle consisting of a handful of other freshmen and one upperclassmen, who guided us from Brooks to Stein each day. We introduced premade questions to the cohort, with my wisdom leading the charge. Topics ranged from “What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?” to “Have you questioned your religion during this crisis?” Cookies and cream, and no. Our unlikely band of misfits grew closer and more inspired until disease struck and the orientation went back online, taking our spirits with it.
I was surprised to find out that freshmen nowadays have disturbingly different experiences than my class had. Supposedly, their boot camp consists of being:
- Herded using a preschool walking rope up and down our campus’ torturous stairs several times over
- Summoned to Kimball collectively, ensuring maximum line capacity (I heard the staff took away the tables and chairs to make more space, forcing the freshmen to eat on the floor after providing them with bibs)
- Instructed by the choir to be brave and strong and true, as the sun melts their souls
In summary, whoever came up with this schedule is ripping off the bandaid and showing the freshmen the most unpopular aspects of our college first. It’s not what it used to be, but at least it gives me more to write about. I only wish they could have witnessed our legendary choir under better circumstances.
I wonder if they ever learned how to navigate the science complex. And beat the Kimball lines. And enroll in classes correctly. Well, I turned out fine!
Photo courtesy of Google Images