Sunday, July 19, 2015

College orientation turns out to be blast for parents

My wife and I attended our daughter's college orientation last week even though, together, we don't even constitute one rotor of a helicopter parent. But since we had to drop her off anyway, parent orientation sounded fun. I thought we might learn some insider parent songs, at least. Maybe a secret nose-wiggle that would get us past the guard at the building with the gargoyles. Nope.

We were met by an army of student orientation ninjas, though, each spaced about 10 feet apart for a quarter mile, directing us to the student union for the presentation, What It Means To Be A Bulldog. (Actual college mascot altered for privacy, plus, let's face it, "bulldog" is the height of mascotry.)

What does it mean to be a bulldog? You should have pride! (I totally called it.)

The students went their way and we stayed behind so we could watch a video about how safe the campus is. Also how doctors are standing by to treat our precious kids whenever necessary, as long as we pay the mandatory annual medical fee. "But our kid is already covered by our insurance," several parents said. "What part of 'mandatory' do you not understand?" the admin asked (in so many words), the subtext being that college is as good a place as any for a kid to learn that bureaucracy is not just a word.

We were escorted out to the quad and into tents with nice box lunches for which we had prepaid, and, blatantly catering to our particular demographic, they played songs from our youth like "Night Fever" and "Girls Just Want To Have Fun."

An enthusiastic student then toured us around the school, pointing out the place where, in the fall, the science geeks launch pumpkins with catapults, and the medical building where there is a robot mannequin which gives birth 10 times a day for onlookers. Impressive, yes, until you find out there is a Starbucks right in the library.

The dorms were spanking new, and were just a few steps from the spanking new student cafeteria. There is also a little cafe if you are hungry after hours. In my day, car-less, we had to walk a mile to a Naugles for succor. Times have changed.

Even freshmen have it good. They have this thing now you can rent called a microwave-fridge combo. In my day—toaster ovens. I tell you, I was born too soon.