Yes, I said WHOOOOSH.
Because, after two days of being herded around with sixty or so other soon-to-be-freshmen at orientation, I am now supposedly filled with the spirit. And at UTD, when we are filled with the spirit, we say WHOOOOSH. You see, the UTD sports teams are named The Comets, and what do comets do? They WHOOOSH! of course. So while down at UT Austin they hook'em horns, we UT Dallas types go WHOOOOSH!
I'm really glad I signed up for the early orientation, because all the classes were open by a mile and it made planning and registering for classes easy and non-stressful. They told us that this April orientation is referred to as the anal retentive orientation, because all the egg-heads who want to make sure they get into the classes they want go to this one. And let me tell you, the egg-heads were out En Masse. Oh man. It's pretty pathetic when I'm one of the 'cool' people in a crowd of 18 year olds. I was one of the only three girls there that fixed their hair. It was fantastic. :-)
Saturday morning, Mamadah and I got there for check-in at 8:00, from whence we were herded into an auditorium for the first session. The cheerleaders did all the school whoop-de-doos for us, and then the spirit team shook their flatironed hair at us accompanied by really bad music. The Dean spoke, and then they turned on --I am not kidding you-- James Bond music and we watched this groovey little video where James Bond, played by an OTM, or Orientation Team Member, rescued the other OTMs from the clutches of some sort of evil robed creature who was out to mess up orientation and thus make freshmen suffer. Then the OTMs themselves came in and we divided up into small groups for icebreakers. Oh yes. Ever played 'Ride the Pony?' No? Trust me-- you don't want to. We were shuffled around to a few more this-and-thats, addressed by the Offices of Registration, Advising, Bursar, and the UTD police force, had lunch, and then....drum roll.... skits. Oh me.
The OTM's put on about two hours of skits about student life. They taught us many useful things-- don't drink too much, take advantage of the health services on campus, go to any event offering free food, get counseling at the Women's Center when you have any problems, and most of all, Be Tolerant. Embrace Diversity. Don't Judge People Because Of Their Lifestyle. Everyone Is Special. I also learned that lots of topics that I had considered taboo are not quite so taboo amongst college students. Yikes. Y'all, these kids will say anything. And I mean anything.
Next morning, despite the fact that it was Sunday, we had to go back to campus for advising and registration. My advisor was very nice older lady who was very helpful, and as I already had most of my classes figured out it didn't take long. I'm majoring in Arts & Humanities, with probably an eventual minor in Creative Writing. There's no chance of switching majors, apparently a UTD pastime, because this is the only major offered that I would even think about! The school is known for its math, computer science, and engineering courses, and most students are in those areas. Calculus is HUGE here-- they even have regular calculus pizza parties!
I'm registered for 16 hours-- RHET 1101 (a one-credit-hour mandatory freshman course that's supposedly a 'here's how to be a good college student' sort of class-- I'm taking the honors version, which will hopefully make it a little more interesting), College Algebra, Freshman English, and Texas and U. S. Government (honors). At the moment I'm also registered for Art History and Literary Analysis, both of which I will take eventually, but I'm auditioning soon for Voice and Chamber Singers, and if I'm accepted I'll drop these. They're my backup plan.
I really like my schedule-- I'll never have to be on campus before 10 AM, and my latest class, Government on Tuesday and Thursday, ends at 5 so I can get home for dinner every night. The biggest gap I have between any two classes is an hour and a half, which I'll use for homework.
After I was out of advising I walked around the campus and found the buildings my classes will be in. I was really happy to discover that all my buildings are right next to each other, grouped around a nice treeish area with lots of benches, and next to both Student Union and the library. Sweet.
I really like the campus. It's not too big, but it doesn't feel cramped, and there's lots of parking. The buildings are nothing special at all, mostly grey cement, but the trees are beautiful, and there's open land all around the campus, so the sky is good and big. I'm Texan to the bone, you see, and if there's open sky, I'm happy. There are lots of nice places to study-- grassy areas with trees and benches and tables, tables stuck just about anywhere practical, rooms in the library, a nice student lounge with lots of natural light, and study rooms in the apartment complex on campus (instead of a dorm-- cool, huh?) that even commuter students like me can use. In Student Union they've got Pizza Hut, Chick-Fil-A, a sandwich and salad place, and a restaurant thingummy called The Pub that serves food and Starbucks, but I intend to bring food with me on the days when I'm at school over lunch. Because I'm a Thrifty Sponge, or hope to be, anyway. Another great thing is that all the contiguous buildings have enclosed walkways between them, which will be great for the cold windy days later this year. Best of all, the campus is 15 minutes from home.
So now I'm just about done with preparations for this fall-- I've got to buy my books and get a parking pass and a few other straggling things like that, but nothing huge. I'm feeling anticipatious. It's going to be so different it's almost unthinkable, but I'm actually kind of looking forward to it in a regretful sort of way, just like any big change. You know how it goes.
And don't worry-- I'll make sure I WHOOOSH! properly on August 16th.