Friday, June 19, 2015

college orientation: a slight rant

Just got home from attending a college orientation. Without going into personal detail, let me just say this: it sucked.

When did college orientation turn into such canned, fun and games on social media programming? When did it become okay to actively circumvent engaged parents and family? Where are the academics in academia?

How about this:

Model genuine sensitivity and diversity awareness. Ditch the canned check-boxing of "issues" and pushing students to overshare. Just treat the students with respect and model sensitivity. There's a fair amount of research that this works best.

Talk to parents about remaining engaged and supportive as their young people launch into the larger world. I can't believe what was said about pushing kids out and forcing them to solve their own problems. 18-year olds all the way up to 22-year olds need our guidance. They need our support. Administration: how about looking up the rate of suicides among college students? Look at sexual violence on campuses. Look at success among students whose families remain involved. If you ask me, it's the university administrators who need to get kicked out of the house. 

Where did academics go in all this? University level study is not about scavenger hunts and posting "selfies" on Facebook. Bring back time with professors and useful how-to information about campus resources and library resources and research. Forget social media. 

For that matter, just forget the cutesy names for everything. Drop the marketing 101 stuff someone learned in some stupid workshop and took seriously. Substance, not silly names.

Skip the canned team-building exercises that involve making strangers touch each other. If you're serious about diversity awareness and sensitivity, you know that this kind of stuff needs to be prefaced with some talk about the fact that it's optional and that it's perfectly okay to opt out. Better yet: just don't do it. You risk triggering the 1 out of 3-4 who have been sexually abused. What about students with small personal space bubbles? Having students write and paint and create and not having to share every personal thought with one another is equally powerful. And no one gets put on the spot. 

If you're in the business of teaching college students you need to not only be serious, but have actual knowledge and expertise in managing their behaviors and issues.

Asking students to share their sexual orientations and gender/pronoun preferences as a rote exercise? Too much information. Invite sharing. Don't require it. 

Instead of talking about campus safety, how about actually facilitating it? Puttting orientation students in the most remote dorm with no staffing during optional evening social activities on the other side of campus? Ridiculous.

Get rid of stalkerish staff people. I am not kidding. Especially when they're directors of things. 

Back to regularly scheduled blog posts on Tuesday, I swear. 


Grey Horse Matters said...

I think you're right in all of this. Maybe you should send them a letter stating what you said here. A lot of their curriculum is just plain nonsense. Anyway, I'm glad you got that off your chest, I hope you feel better.

Here's something that floored me recently: The elementary schools are NOT going to teach the kids how to write in script anymore. My one granddaughter is 10 and has no idea how to write script. My daughter went to the school principal and had a talk with her. Unfortunately, they will not teach them script because there is too much they need to learn with computers and there is not enough time for both. I think this is ridiculous. How are they going to sign their names to anything in the future or sign a check...with an X? How about if they'd like to write a private letter or a thank you note, should they print it as adults? I call bulls**t. Anyway, that's my school rant for the day!

P.S. My daughter got them books so she can teach them script at home.

billie said...

Arlene, a big fat complaint is on its way. I can't go into details here but suffice it to say there were some very inappropriate things done and they are going to hear about it from me.

I had heard from someone that the schools are cutting out handwriting. I totally agree with you - what a sad statement that there is not enough time! And good for your daughter for taking that upon herself.

I do feel better! Thanks for listening. :)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Your daughter (and son) are fortunate to have an advocate like you to shepherd them through the heading off to college milestone. :D

billie said...

C, thanks. I am sure this particular university thinks I'm a total Helicopter Parent. I am viewing it more as Torpedo Parent. :)

Matthew said...

You're an amazing mom.


billie said...

Thanks, M. Being a parent has been like getting a PhD in all kinds of things. I feel so fortunate that our children/now moving into young adulthood are such amazing people.