Friday, October 03, 2008

The Orient

Today was orientation day, which means I got to go down to my new school and sit for hours and listen to people talk about things I mostly could have read on my own.  I've been sick since Sunday and I'm well into the sinus drainage and evil headaches part of the process, which made today extra fun. Not.

Aside from being miserable and high on Sudafed (the real stuff, not that over the counter crap), I did actually get some good information from the session. I wasn't exactly in the mood to network either, but I made a point to meet a few of my nearest seat-neighbors.

2008_1002_002_orientation_dayWe were still waiting to get started in the morning and the main MC came on to let us know that there was Rock Band set up in the back.  It took about 45 seconds for three guys to form a band and start jamming out to Eye of the Tiger, which I have now had stuck in my head all day.  It was cool to finally see the game I hear so much about from Wil Wheaton.  I have yet to actually play Guitar Hero or Rock Band, and I didn't want my debut to be in a room full of 300 people.  Though I probably would be OK singing, as long as I knew the song.

While we sat in hard plastic chairs through hours of talking, I tried to make good use of the time by reading the student handbook and putting a bunch of  school numbers in my phone.  At lunch time, it paid to be sitting in the back, as we were closest to the sandwich buffet. I got third in line in front of a bunch of hungry 20-something guys. Not bad.  I used the extra time to run over to Powells and pick up some of my books.

After lunch we had break out sessions with different workshops to choose from.  I was tempted by digital cameras 101, but I already took some photography classes this spring so I went to the non-traditional students meeting instead.  That turned out to be a total dud.  I came in on the tail end of introductions and then the facilitators said they wanted the meeting to be whatever *we* wanted--which translated mostly to sitting around in awkward silence.  There was no one there from my department (which if you're wondering is Web Design & Interactive Media or WDIM). 

For the next session I went to scholarships, which was much more useful.  Dawn, the scholarship coordinator had some specific helpful tips for getting scholarships and invited us to schedule a follow up meeting with her so she can help search out specific scholarship matches.

Then it was back to the big room, where they went over resources--library, the cage where you can check out equipment, AKA the AV nerd's dream playhouse, how to use the computer labs and the student online services site for registering etc.

Just when I thought my head was about to explode, they let us go for our last session, which was an hour long meeting with our department head.  For some reason the schedule listed the WDIM's and the Video heads together in the same room.  It was packed.  Then Chris, my department head came in and cleared up the confusion.  "Everyone in the video department go to room 360." Three quarters of the room got up and left.  As the last students were filing out, Chris added, "And everyone who's going to make money, stay here."

We laughed, but it turns out he wasn't kidding.  He checked the career placement data today and our department graduates have an average entry level salary of $50k, $14,000 higher than the second place major (game designers), with a 100% job placement rate.  He mentioned several times that we should not worry about getting jobs out of school. He's got more jobs than he has grads to fill them.  Comforting knowledge in the face of the mess that is the economy right now.

He talked for the full time, but for the first time all day, I wasn't bored to tears.  He seems to be approachable, tough but fair and a tad gay.  There are eight people starting this term in my department.  We didn't do introductions, but I'm sure I'll get to know them soon enough.  There's one other woman and everyone is at least two years out of high school and most seem to be at least in their mid-twenties.  We also got to meet Dan, the one full time instructor in the department.  He was dressed in slightly ripped jeans, t-shirt and flip flops.  Chris was in jeans, polo shirt and white tennis shoes.  He said he's the only department head who doesn't wear suits because he wants to represent the industry and jeans is what all the geeks are wearing these days.  I think I've found my people.  I wonder if I could get away with doing interviews with out my monkey suit?  I'll have to look into that.

I was thrilled to be done at 4:30 instead of 6:30 like I thought. Most people still had to stand in a long line to pick up their supply kits, hefty little portfolio bags filled with all the mandatory supplies.  Since I have some stuff from my spring drawing class, I opted to just buy other needed supplies ala carte.  The one thing that I anticipate might be a huge pain is no lockers on campus.  but I talked to the president and he said they're actually working on that.

Jess was downtown for an unsupervised trip to REI and a workout at 24 Hour fitness.  When I got outside, I found her bike locked up to mine and she was stalking me, waiting across the street.  So nice to be the stalk-ee for once.  Since I was done early, I talked her into going over to Seven Corners with me, where I got to pick up my new Cross Check!  It's not as hot and sexy as hers--just black bar tape with no fancy accents.  But it rides like butter and it felt like floating after riding the Dummy for the past month.  Jess left her bike in the shop for some tune ups, and rode the Dummy as far as Dalo's Kitchen, where I was meeting up with a friend for dinner. Since I have no rack yet, she had to carry all the stuff, which was a nice change for me.

I had a nice time catching up with Aiden, although finger food probably wasn't the best choice, considering how germy I am. Hopefully I'm well past the contagious period. 

Now I have a cross bike and two passes for the Cross Crusade series, and cross I guess that means I'll be doing a cross race sometime soon.  I had planned to be at Alpenrose this Sunday but unless I'm feeling significantly better, I might have to postpone.  But I definitely want to get out there before the weather gets too nasty.  I know, I know, that's the whole point of cross--but I really don't like being cold and miserable.  I haven't trained a lick, but I've watched several videos about cross tips on Bike Hugger, so I should be fine, right? Right?

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