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29 August 2008

Orientation experience tedious, exhausting

There is but one word to describe the first week of the UM freshman experience: tedious. Floor meetings, ridiculously early mandatory seminars, prancing around behind a group leader carrying a customized poster on a stick, unconvincing attempts to play the name game and mind-numbing assemblies – quite the first impression.

Orientation is merely a week of countless – and might I add, ineffective – activities aimed to coerce new students into meeting people. In reality, I’ve met more people outside of these coordinated events. Don’t get me wrong, though. The University of Miami and those that planned this year’s orientation harbor only good intentions. I’ll even admit that some of the sessions were necessary and certainly informative. But for the most part, a brochure would have covered it. Believe me, when you’ve heard the “best four years of your life” speech once, you’ve heard it a million times.

I suppose we can only hope that this first week as a freshman at the University of Miami is not indicative of the coming year and that our part-time roommate Fay doesn’t bring any more friends along the way. In fact, now that all of the obligatory orientation activities have come to an end and I’m finally in control of my own schedule, this just might actually start to feel like college. In some way, I don’t think that small truth has hit most people yet.

Overall, the experience thus far has been somewhat surreal. Living in a dorm room and being surrounded by complete strangers feels a bit like summer camp. Soon enough, though, that façade will fade and reality will set in. Parents are really gone, new roommates are here to stay and Miami, as well as this university, is really home. All I can say is that I’m ready for my best four years, so bring it on already.