Monday, June 23, 2008

Orientation

When I was on campus the other day, Lara and I saw a bunch of signs pointing out which buildings were what and a lot of young looking kids wearing the same t-shirts and walking through the quads in groups. Orientation time is here!
Now, if you personally remember your orientation, you probably remember thinking, "Wow! My college is so clean and nice, and my orientation leader is the awesomest ever! I can't wait to start college!"
Well, first impressions for college aren't accurate at all. I remember the first time I went to a basketball game at Carolina. When I got back home I told my dad, "Dad, I think if you want to be a college student at Carolina, you have to look hung over and not shave." Padre's eyes bugged out a little bit and he said, "Hmm, let's look at some more colleges, son." I already had a good idea of what the student body looked like, and it sure was different from my orientation.
So as opposed to living a lie, why don't the colleges just hire someone who represents the entire student body to lead an orientation session?

A group of incoming freshmen are standing around in the Pit, looking worried and muttering, "Where's our orientation leader?"
As soon as that's said, a man covered in newspapers who had been sleeping on the steps, wakes up and gets to his feet. His hair is matted down, he reeks of stale beer, and his eyes are red and hazy. "Did I hear someone say orientation? Why, I'M your orientation leader, kids! Uh, excuse me while I freshen up...[finishes off a bottle in a brown bag] Ok! Well, you're at UNC obviously, home of the tarheels and the number one basketball team! WHOOOO! But first, if you want to start college, you need supplies. And what better place to get supplies than student stores!"
He jogs into the student stores, leaving the group staring at one another and then finally they shuffle to the doors.
Guy: "Oh, glad you made it. I thought I'd lost you for a second. Now, here are the magazines. They have Playboy and Playgirl for all you lonely types here...and some, uh, more intellectual stuff, like National Geographer and, um, Newstimes. [The parents start looking at each other, fretting] But enough of that shit, whoops, did I say that out loud? Alright, you need books and stuff so let's go find some books!"
The orientation leader leads the kids through the stacks of books, and herds them around out of sight from the parents and salespeople. "Alright, kids, I hate paying this much for books and gum as the rest of you, so I'm going to tell you a little secret. You have to wait until someone's entering the store, then you grab a piece of gum and fling it outside, but you have to throw it above the sensors or else you'll have to run really fast. I mean, I've never done this, but I know of people who had. If you're serious about getting a good deal on textbooks then you should buy from Amazon or Tarheel Bookstore, or Rams Books and not from this place, cause this place is a ripoff, and I mean price gouging to the extreme and I c-"
Dean: [to orientation leader]"Ah, Whitfield is it? I though you graduated last semester?"
Guy: "Oh, no I liked it so much here that I had to comeback and become an orientation leader."
Dean: "Hm, [to group] so guys, has he been telling you all what a great store this is and how every dollar you spend here is given to scholarships for people who aren't qualified to go here?"
Guy makes a fist and glares at the group.
Group: "yeessss"
Dean: "Well, good! *sniff, sniff* Whitfield, you smell like booze. You haven't been drinking have you?"
Guy: "What, me, sir? Never! It's just my exotic aftershave."
Dean: "That's what you told us the last time we caught you swimming naked in the fountain."
The group starts laughing.
Guy: "Shut up, kids! [glances at watch] Alright, let's move on. You guys need your laptops."
The guy waits outside the IBM ITS NRA NIH CDC section of the student union, waiting for his kids to get back. A girl comes up to him with her iPod and a USB cable, and has help plugging them in.
Girl: "Hey, I can't get these to go into the computer and it's really aggravating, do you think you could-"
Guy: "Oh, say no more, kid. [Takes laptop, holds it in his hands for a minute, peering at it from all sides, and then drops it from eye level onto the brick floor]"
Girl: "HEY!"
Guy: "Now, let's see if it works...[turns laptop on, and gets a critical error message screen] Perfect! Now go get back in line and they'll give you an advanced model since they''ll have run out of the current ones! No need to thank me kid, I've done this plenty of times."
After getting their laptops, the orientation leader walks the group through the quad, and points out the different buildings and departments. The parents' minds are finally at ease since it seems he knows what he's talking about.
Guy: "And the quad up on the other side of South building is mostly art, religion, music, and human studies, or something like that. What are all of you guys?"
Group: "Biology"
Guy: "HAH! Good luck with that. Now are there any questions from the kids? No? What about the parents?"
Parent: "Yes, what can students expect from the first semester?"
Guy: [very slowly] "A...FUN time...all the time."
The parent bursts into tears.
Guy: "Oh, I forgot to mention, allergy season here is the worst. Well, what time is it, what do we have next? OHMYGOD! It's almost lunch time! Run back to your rooms guys and grab all the bags you can! This is the most important thing you'll ever learn at college! RUN!"
The group trots off and returns to a pacing orientation leader.
Guy: "Ok, now the rules are this: Lenoir is an all you can eat, buffet style dining hall."
The orientation leader takes them into the dining hall, explaining all the food there is with an almost carnal longing in his eyes. He stops at the cashier, and greets her.
Guy: "Hi Beatrice. I've got a group today."
Beatrice: "That's what you said the last time and it was a bunch of pregnant women from off the street and not a Lamaze group from the UNC hospitals!"
Guy: "Hey, they said they needed chocolate! I was just trying to be nice!"
Beatrice grabs him by the collar and he wriggles out of her grip, yelling, "Help! Help! Get off of me, lady, I've never seen you before! Geez, kids, this town's getting too rough for me. They need to stop hiring crazy people here."
The orientation leader lectures the kids on the importance of eating, while gulping down black coffee: "Remember, kids, you need to eat a good breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And possibly have two of each meals if necessary. You'll need the energy to stay up all night long...for studying of course! Heh heh heh. Ok, so have you guys got all your food? [yessss] Alright, now, get some paper napkins and wrap them up and place them like so into your bags. This is very important, now walk around, and take as much fruit and cookies as you can, and then when you come back here you can go get a tray and eat your lunch."
A Lenoir worker spots all the kids grabbing as much food as they can, and then notices the guy trying to stuff an entire pizza pie down his shirt: "HEY! What do you think you're doing, Whitfield?!"
Guy: "SHIT! Run kids, RUN!"
When they're all outside, the guy runs around and does a headcount. "Ok, good, we've got everyone. Well, I'm afraid that's all I can teach you, I look forward to seeing you all in the fall [pulls out newspapers from the trash and starts lying down on the bricks, covering himself up with the papers], but remember kids, if I don't speak to you, it's nothing personal. I just have a reputation to keep up!"
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