Graduate School Orientation

Yesterday was new student orientation for my graduate program at NDM. The day proved to be a lot more tiring than I anticipated.

The official start time for the event was 8:00am… on a SATURDAY! They were smart enough to serve coffee and a continental style breakfast and didn’t really start official event activities until 9:00am. I picked up a folder, my name badge, my parking sticker, and then went to get some coffee and pastries. This gave me time to nibble, review the schedule, and take in my group of fellow students.

This particular orientation was for their College of Adult Undergraduate Students, and other Graduate Students such as myself. I think I may have been only a bit above the average age, as it seemed to swing between late 20s and mid 50s. I didn’t really notice it at first, but at one point I came to the realization that there were many more ladies than gentlemen. This really didn’t come as a shock, given that NDM has been historically and predominately a college for women. Since my brain had slipped into a mode of analyzing demographics, the final observation was that it was much more ethnically diverse, which was nice to see.

Shortly before 9:00am, they corralled us into the lecture hall. After the welcome and opening remarks, there was a presentation of the school’s history and some history for The School Sisters of Notre Dame. I actually started to tear up a bit when they had all of us stand to recite NDM’s Honor Code:

With a keen sense of responsibility, I accept this symbol of my entrance into the world of scholarship.
And I give this pledge of my purpose to wear it worthily.
I shall try to follow all truth.
I shall try to see all beauty.
I shall try to be all goodness.
And thus to come to that eternal wisdom,
which is the word of God.

I don’t consider myself to be particularly religious, but I do think of myself as a spiritual person. We’ll leave it at that for the moment, and just say that the experience of reciting that aloud with all my fellow students was moving.

On the amusing side of the spectrum, we had some excitement after our scheduled 15 minute break. The lovely lady from the library got no more than 45 seconds into her presentation on Library Services when the fire alarm went off. We all looked around at each other and the presentation staff for a few moments before coming to the conclusion that it was not a scheduled drill. Everyone stood up and, in a very orderly fashion, stepped out the nearest exits. I ended up in a back parking lot with the group of students who exited out the front side door, and found myself next to a chap who looked like a fellow geek and had a name badge that said he was also a graduate student in the School of Arts and Sciences section. After just standing there for a few moments, I decided to just break the ice and said something like, “Well, this is one way of giving new students a chance to bond and have a communal experience.” It led to some general fun chit-chat with another student joining us, who I will simply describe as a fellow geek who happened to be a gal. After about 8-10 minutes the fire truck pulled up right next to us, and so we talked about which buttons, levers, or wheels were the ones we were most tempted to go over and push/pull/turn. One of the funner moments was my exchange with the female student in our little trio:

Me: “So what is your program?”
Her: “Communications.”
Me: “What?”
Her: “Communications.”
Me: “I’m sorry, what was that?”

She caught on quickly, and the other chap chimed up with, “Oh, I hope I have a class with you.”

After the 30 or so minutes it took the firemen to determine that it was a false alarm, we wandered back into the lecture hall. I speculated that the library presentation might get shortened to, “There’s a library. We have books. Thank you.” This actually would have been just fine for me, as I had visited the library the week before. They did do some streamlining of the last 2 presentations. Then we broke off into groups, picked up our nice box lunches that were provided to us, and were taken on a brief campus tour. I had already visited campus twice, so this was mostly review.

On previous visits, I found an awesome spot on campus in LeClerc Hall just outside the music department. This is where I chose to sit and eat my box lunch before heading home. So I leave you with the picture I took of the window in this stairwell area that will hopefully show why it is a nice, quiet, contemplative, and now favorite spot.


I imagine I may find myself some moments to sit and eat, read, or study there in the future.

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