There’s nothing like a good old campus orientation to remind you what it’s like to go back to school after a long break from learning. At least, I think there is…
The wonderful thing about attending a university as a masters level student isn’t just the orientation. It’s the orientation before your orientation, both of which are optional and only one of which you’re likely to attend. Where an undergraduate experience is first marked by a string of skin-crawlingly awkward ice-breaking sessions, the graduate experience assumes that you’ve learned how to be generally non-dysfunctional. You are likely capable of introducing yourself without an agonizing round of Two Truths and a Lie. Four years of college learning have earned you your bachelor’s degree. Your well-honed analytic skills have imbued you with the ability to determine if one of your future classmates is a sociopath without everyone recounting their most embarrassing moment or what they think their spirit animal is.
No, graduate school is far more sophisticated than that. Orientation is optional. You meet in a lecture theater rather than in your dormitory common room. They talk to you about expectations rather than requirements. There are no painstaking freshman lanyard moments, no overly enthusiastic RA’s, and no one who doesn’t really want to be there.
That being said, I totally went for the free food and the free trip to the museum. So did most of the other people.
The pre-orientation orientation that I went to was specifically for graduate students. This was, of course, the day after I went to the international student briefing where most of the things they talked about didn’t really apply to me. Hooray America! The session I went to was a two-day affair for anyone in the graduate school of arts (meaning me, since the school of government is housed there) to learn more about masters level things and resources for students. The session was led by a quirky linguistics professor natively from Los Angeles (because, Dude!, you could tell) who spoke comfortingly about things like citations and databases.
All in all, I don’t think I took away that much from that part of the sessions, but I did get to meet a few other graduate students from various programs (even a few from my own). Each morning was broken up by a nice lengthy Morning Tea, where there were muffins and yummy snacks. I basically just went there for the yummy snacks and was not disappointing either day. Now that I’m back to being a full time student, I need to sharpen up my free food radar again.
The trips to campus both days also gave me the opportunity to explore a little bit and begin to get a better sense of where many of the buildings and resources are. Campus really is a lovely hodgepodge of buildings, both old and new. It really is quite pretty when the sun decides to come out. I’ve taken a few photos when it was nice out on my walk to said sessions. These represent only a very small portion of campus.
At the end of the second session, we were all invited to a free trip to the Melbourne Museum. This was mostly because they wanted us to socialize with the other students, which we did. We mostly all went because we’re nerds and like going to museums for free.
The Melbourne Museum isn’t a very big museum, but it was certainly interesting. We walked their from the university, and in true Melbourne style, we experienced no less than three different types of weather in that fifteen minutes – sunshine, cloudy-windiness, and an outright downpour mixed with excessive windiness. We arrived drenched, me especially because I had not worn my raincoat that day (bad idea). The museum itself was basically split into two separate wings, with different exhibits on each floor…shocking for a museum, I know.
The major takeaway from the trip there was that the museum had DINOSAURS, which I love, because DINOSAURS are the best. Seriously. So awesome. Here is just one of the amazing dinosaurs, but definitely check out the photos page for more.
They also had a pretty nifty mineral collection, which is great if you like shiny rocks.
This week I still have some more orientation things to go to, all of which are also optional and all of which I will probably only go to so I can scavenge for free food and goodies. After all, half of the clothes I wore as an undergrad were free t-shirts I got at activities fairs, so we’ll see if I can score some freebies. The only session of any significance is the school of government’s info session and reception on Tuesday, which I’m kind of looking forward to.