Orientating Before Orientation


Part 1 — Orientation.

Well, we are down to the home stretch. Orientation starts next Wednesday, which means I have a whole lotta crap to accomplish in a short amount of time. Tomorrow, my “directed self-placement” essay is due, along with the photo for my MCard. On Thursday, I’m getting fitted for contacts so this hen is no longer four-eyed and getting my hair highlighted. Fresh school, fresh start, new chapter, right?

The essay is a tricky concept; I’m not exactly sure why we need it. The writing center places us into the writing class they think we have the experience for, but when it comes time to select our classes, we are allowed to place ourselves. I know exactly what class I want to get into, so why should I write this essay? I was kind of tempted to bullshit my way through it, when I saw the fine print: the professor of the writing class we sign up for reads this essay. I may be chickenshit, but I sure as hell am not a dumb bunny and I will not have my first impression to my professor be that of a dumb bunny.

That said, I don’t exactly know how to write an essay like this. I spent two years at a university and I had been expected to take the two basic composition requisites, but I had skipped those in favor of honors literature classes and junior-level critical theory seminars. Therefore, I am very skilled at writing intensive research papers and arguing points from Barthes to Zizek, but I suck at those papers that make you take an abstract position and extrapolate on it with little to no concrete evidence to prove your point. I may just take a secondary comp course to hone these skills.

The MCard is a little bit less tedious, but actually more confusing for me. When I was at my old university taking classes, I had an ID card that was also my library card and a sort-of debit card. If I had a meal plan, that would also be accessed through the ID card. I received my ID about three weeks before the start of classes in my first semester. It was not a hard process; I went to the ID card office, filled out a short form, and sat for my picture. It was a hideous picture and made me look like the geeky, overeager young’un I was at the time. The following year, I decided to replace it. That photo came out bug-eyed.

At Michigan, the acquiring process is a bit different. I don’t sit for my picture. I send in the picture I would like used for my card. They have a bunch of rules for this. I can’t be wearing formalwear, I can’t be wearing a hat, my hand can’t be touching my head, I can’t be making a goofy face, etc etc. Despite the fact I would never send in a picture with any of the above, I am peeved at this list of what I can’t do. However, it is still an altogether better process because my own camera is far superior to the grainy camera at my old university. I have no basis for the quality of camera at UMich, but I still prefer my own camera. Plus, I know my mother better than the person operating the camera and I know she won’t make me look bug-eyed or geeky. I send the picture in and, presto, during check-in at Orientation, I am handed my shiny new MCard. On a lanyard, no less.

My MCard does everything. It allows me access to my meal plan and the library, just like at my old university, but it also gets me into my dorm room, which is something that my old university didn’t do. I lived at home then, but I had friends in dorms, so I know this to be true. My MCard slides into my dorm door like at a hotel room and then I enter a PIN to gain access. It’s incredible! Less things to potentially lose!  And, for the first time, I will have an acceptable photo for this lovely do-everything card.

Let’s get cracking…

-Katie Poule

Mental Notes: Survive eye doctor appointment (gulp).

One response »

  1. 1. Whatever you do when you get your contacts, especially for the first week or so of wearing them, don’t blink while trying to put them in. I can’t tell you how many times I pressed the contact up against my eyelid because I blinked, afraid that I was going to poke myself in the eye. And if you do poke yourself in the eye, or blink, or get discouraged by taking over a half hour to put the contacts in, just remember to keep practicing. It will get easier. I can’t wait to see the new and improved Katie Poule. :)

    2. If you skipped the basic composition classes and did well in the higher-level classes, it must mean you know how to write, so just buck up and do it! Obviously you have it in you.

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