Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Telling, isn't it, that the most comments I have gotten on a single post in a long time--maybe EVER--was on a post about TV?

At work, we are headed into a straight month of New Student Orientation. Five days a week of 18 year old freshmen-to-be. I'm not sure that I can describe what it's like, but you know I'll try.

Here are the attributes that I have found to be present in most incoming freshmen (IFs), and my take on them:

1. Terror. The override motivation for ANYTHING an IF does is always, always looking cool for the other IFs. Therefore, IFs live in constant fear that they will be seen doing something "uncool", like tripping, or saying something stupid, or standing within 10 feet of their parents. For this reason, you have to literally push them sometimes to get them to do what you need them to do. They will stand at the back of the room for 20 minutes because they're scared they'll sit in the wrong seat--you have to finally go tell them which seat to go to, then they're fine.

2. Entitlement. I'm sorry to say that the current generation of IFs have been taught, by their parents and by society, that they are owed everything they want in life. Who owes them this, I don't know. It's almost amusing to watch an IF be told that they aren't going to be able to take all their classes after 10 AM, and that they might in fact have to WORK to get good grades. "But I'm smart! I should just be given good grades!"

3. Exhibitionism (females only). Never have I seen more girls wearing less clothes. They're like peacocks, showing off, but with many fewer feathers. I understand completely that they are meeting their college classmates for the first time and are trying to make a good first impression, but exactly what impression is it you're trying to give in a painted on tank top and shorts so small that they don't entirely cover your panties, at the waist OR the legs?

4. Sloppiness (males only). I know this is the "style" right now, but when I see a guy come in with hair that hasn't been cut (or combed) in ages, pants sagging down to his knees, and ONLY the front of his shirt tucked in (what IS the point of that, anyway?) I just want to smack him upside the head! Towards the end of last summer, my tolerance level was so low that I told a boy who came up to ask me a question that I would answer it when, and only when, I could no longer see his underwear peeking out above his pants.

I do not mean to imply that IFs have no redeeming values. Each summer, I meet many nice, smart, funny kids on their way to a successful college career, students that I know I will see walk across the stage at commencement and that I hope to see in my class. Sadly, though, even they aren't paying that much attention to orientation--they're too busy staring at the girl wearing the leapord print miniskirt and bra top.


Anonymous said...

Hello Nancy -

Right On, Girl!! If a few more people who are in a position to "make a difference" would also take a stand for good taste - and good sense - we may get the attention of some of the fashion designers. Many times it is very hard for girls who are modest in their appearance to find clothes they are not enbarrassed to wear! But hang in there, girls! There are some out there; and there's always the idea of using a seamstress.......
Aunt Joyce

Anonymous said...

Oh how I remember my freshman orientation!!! Getting my ID picture taken, checking out where to meet my friends for food, and WHERE to park my car!! Wasn't I really worried about the important where to buy my books, when is registration and should I plan a PE class and then, with only 20mins to spare, be across campus for Math? They need to tell those freshman, they need to plan not just the time, but the PROXIMITY of their classes!!! (they need to explain that they need to USE the map when they are getting ready to register for classes!!) Oh, fond memories!!! Thanks for taking me back!! Nance, try to find ONE IF each time that will leave a GOOD impression on you, to keep you motivated that what you are doing is great!! I'll be checking with you!!


Anonymous said...

Stay strong Nancy! I love your story about making the kid pull up his pants! You guys have it harder, because at least when teaching high schoolers we have a dress code. Try keeping a 16 year old boy's attention on the implications of the military industrial complex during the Cold War when "Tiffany"'s boobs are hanging out of her shirt! I did like how my school handled that though...scantily clad girls sent to the office had to wear clothes the office kept on hand, like the unsold XXL 1998 prom tshirts and cheapo sweat pants. They HATED it!


Brad said...

I'm sorry, Nancy. Could you please repeat that? I was trying to pay attention but a girl with a leopard print tank top and Daisy Dukes just walked past me.

Miss Brown said...

Don't forget the boys (and sometimes girls) who come in smelling like a week old keg and stale smoke. I always "LOVED" helping them find the 7:30 am classes!