Retro Post—28-Aug-03

[It’s aSquared’s First Birthday … we’re celebrating by looking back at events from a year ago … skip these retro posts if you’re not into sentimentality.]

Does he feel the same way?

Orientation: Day Two

The second day was quite an experience. The highlight of the day was being put into a group with four other students and being sent on a scavenger hunt across the center of campus to find various clues and answers to questions. It seemed weird at first, but it was actually a good opportunity to get to chat with the others in the group and get to know them a little bit. It was much better than the typical HR exercise of matching people “duck duck goose”-style and expecting them to sit around asking each other contrived questions as a form of barrier-lowering.

The rest of the day: went to an activities fair and got to talk to the folks at the LGBT table; had a couple of presentations from the career center and the folks at the “directed field experience” (where you get credits toward graduation for being involved in practical work experience) office; and wandered around for a few minutes at a not-so-hot faculty/student reception.

The LGBT table was a big deal. When I went through my undergraduate orientation, my goal was to keep that part of myself as hidden as possible. I succeeded (or so I thought), perhaps too well. That isn’t the case now. I’m not going to trumpet it from the rooftops. I’m not going to hide it either.

I guess that’s it. Classes start on Tuesday. I’m enrolled in all but one, which has a waiting list. I have a few days in which to finalize details and in which to get myself steeled for the semester to come. Yikes. If there are a few things I’ve taken away from the past two days, I guess the biggest one is that it is going to be intriguing to try to make it through the first-year Foundations courses, in which all of the students are thrown together and expected to work in groups.

My impression, one which may be corrected as time goes on, is that the two categories of School of Information student—the human-computer interaction side and the library/archive side—are very divergent not only in interests but in personality and expectations. The whole library/archive side, to my dismay, does indeed seem to be something that the school is determined to keep in the background. That bothers me. I didn’t hear a word about libraries or archives the whole two days, or why I should be excited about wanting to work in them, except during the almost-obligatory specialization meetings we were corraled into yesterday. Maybe that’s part of the point—the specialization stuff is supposed to come around after you’ve absorbed all of the meta-informational training—but it seemed almost wistful during the scavenger hunt to be wandering around in rare book collections and reading halls, as though these obsolescing arenas, not to mention books, had only the barest and most distant relevance to the School of Information, and then only as amusing clues in an academic parlor game.

—Posted by Frank at 21:39:47 | 28-Aug-03