Orientation Day

Whatever happened to the good old days of orientation week?

I attended U of T’s graduate orientation yesterday.  Unsurprisingly, it was just a set of information sessions, and no team-building exercises.  I collected brochures and listened to people talk about getting involved and knowing when to get counselling…boring.  I’m one of those people who can’t get out of things I commit to, so I stayed for the whole thing, even after I realized the session was not all that useful.  I guess I should have figured it out when they implemented a program that forces you to stay until the end of the event.

The afternoon was a more intimate orientation, just for students in the MIE department.  It was definitely more enjoyable, as the personalities were more in sync with mine, we had more to talk about, and we had more motivation to get to know one another.  It was run by AMIGAS, the graduate student society for the department.

Orientation for graduate students is so incredibly different from orientation for undergrads.  I’m not talking about the games or the info sessions, but the whole dynamics of the participants is radically different.  For undergrads, most frosh come to orientation expecting to meet lots of new people, most people on the same playing field, that is, nobody knows anybody.  Orientation for grad students is much more subdued.  The participants are a little more jaded, a little less social, and there’s a potential for large groups of people who did their undergrad together in the same school.

I was a little nervous, but in the end, I trudged through the uncomfortable 12 hours or so with a few laughs and many awkward jokes.  I’m struggling the most with the feeling of being a frosh all over again.  I don’t know where anything is, I don’t know where the services are, or even what they are.  It’s stuff I’ll pick up quickly, I’m sure, but it’s very disconcerting right now…hm…I wonder if I can load money on my tcard and use it to pay for food…see what I mean?

Waiting for the growing pains to be over.

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