Monday, October 17, 2011

Life as an Orientation Duckling

Having been at Mac for five weeks now, (four weeks! Time seriously flies in college…) I can tell you that orientation will probably be some of the most heavily scheduled days of your first few weeks. The days of orientation are jam packed with, well, stuff to get you oriented. There are meetings with your advisor, meetings with your floor, meetings to discuss the summer reading book, meetings to…you get the point. And of course, as with any first experience, getting to know you games/ name games/awkward random games in which you look like a total fool but laugh your butt off, are a must. My floor played a game called “wizards, giants, and elves,” which is kind of a cross between rock paper scissors, live action role playing, and tag. Needless to say there were lots of laughs.

But the most memorable part of my orientation was not one of these crazy games, but rather an impromptu activity that wasn’t even listed on the schedule: a tour of Café Mac, where us first-year students can have up to 19 meals a week.

It happened at the end of orientation. At that point, my orientation group, Clan Elphinstone, was pretty tight knit. At our last meeting as a clan we were all feeling a bit nostalgic, thinking about the fact that we wouldn’t be meeting all-day everyday anymore. So, we decided to prolong our last meeting by eating at Café Mac together. As we sat at dinner, the conversation turned to what each of us had chosen to eat (the topics of where everyone lived and what brought them to Mac had been exhausted earlier in the week). Our orientation leader gave us advice about the best and worst of Café Mac, mentioning the pluses of the frozen yogurt machine and sandwich press. “Wait, there’s a Panini maker?” someone asked. “There’s a frozen yogurt machine?!”

Clearly, despite having learned to navigate the Mac campus, we were all still novices when it came to navigating and discovering the secrets of Café Mac. Our orientation leader realized this and became our very own “mother duck,” taking us on a tour around Café Mac, as we all followed her around like little Elphinstone ducklings. She gave us some great advice (and some that I still use today when trying to get creative during dinner), and as we walked through Café Mac, it was awesome thinking about the fact that my fellow ducklings, who I hadn’t known five weeks earlier, were now people whose names I knew, who I would be hanging out with after classes, who I’d be waving to in the halls, and who I could get to know over the next four years.

- Heather Renetzky '15

A student-produced video on Cafe Mac. (Courtesy of Macalester's Communications and Public Relations Department.)