Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
A lot of freshmen are struggling with the daily responsibilities of an independent, boarding life. It’s not uncommon to walk into a laundry room to find a fellow frosh quietly wondering to himself where he needs to insert the detergent his mom bought him. Nor is it unheard of to be told stories of Upper students who try to take a late bus to Comm. Ave. only to realize that they just got off on Newton … on the last bus. Or to hear stories of groups of freshmen boys who confidently wander into the Mods only to get kicked out and to realize that they are at the bottom of the college food chain. Any upperclassmen reading this may label freshmen as “noobs,” but I’m sure that they, too, can recall the time that they got lost in the depths of McElroy in a failed attempt to find the mailroom.
Freshmen start classes after a week at Boston College are already at a huge disadvantage simply because, in that first week, nobody gave them solid advice on how to navigate daily challenges on campus. Indeed, Freshmen Welcome Week was so focused on the social aspect of college that it failed to prepare the Class of 2016 for the more practical routines of
That is not to say that Freshmen Welcome Week, a seven-day affair organized by the Office of the Vice Presidents for Student Affairs (VPSA) was not a success. In a poll of 50 members of the Class of 2016, 72 percent agreed that they thoroughly enjoyed Welcome Week. The boat cruise, for example, was cited as one popular highlight, as it is every year. VPSA worked hard to organize other fun events to help rev up freshmen for college, such as the hypnotist event and the Target run. However, whether or not we actually learned anything we could implement a week later is still in question. Although we had lectures on technology and safety, the BC community should be more concerned with the fact that a large percentage of freshmen still don’t know how to do laundry, how to print papers, or that O’Neill has a “secret” passageway to Lower Campus.
Some freshmen even found the overwhelming amount of events completely unnecessary because, as Reba Hatcher, CSOM ’16, puts it, “we received the same messages and ice breakers at orientation.” If we were going to be given advice on social situations, we should have, as Hatcher says, been given “guidance on how to make real friendships and to avoid bad friendships.” Let’s face it, freshies, that drunk girl who was your best friend for a night at the Mods because your guy friends knew they needed to bring more estrogen to get in will not be your friend next week.
In terms of Welcome Week’s attempt to build friendships for us, I think I exchanged names with a solid 30 or so people while participating in Play Fair at the first Welcome Week BBQ, but I can honestly say that I only remember one or two names. Play Fair was a quick, rapid-fire flash of names and, unlike in orientation, left no room for conversation or connection. The only thing I got out of it was free Honest Tea. Most of the people I am friends with now, in fact, are those that I met after the day’s planned activities were over. Although Welcome Week was a promising idea, as Maggie Powers, A&S ’16, points out, “We were all sick of icebreakers, ready to start our college experience, and left without practical tools we needed to navigate BC.” Instead, we should have done “something where we could have met people in smaller groups again,” suggests Thomas Yorke, A&S ’16.
I still don’t know where the nearest grocery store is, and when a friend of mine tried asking his RA, he was told to “go Google it.” We wouldn’t have to go Google it if, as Alex Pear, CSOM ’16 suggests, “tutorials [were added] that walked students through the processes of doing laundry, getting a Charlie Card, using the shuttle, tracking your meal plan balance, and using library printers.” Alex’s suggestion of implementing tutorials is an excellent one, and perhaps VPSA can take it into consideration, and, if so, then the Class of 2017 may be less lost and confused.