Today was the day, and boy, am I bushed!
The weather was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky today, and hot, hot, hot – well, for Calgary anyway. I lined up at Starbucks on campus for my grande Americano before heading out to the athletics field to find the meeting place. When I got there, there were about 15 students already waiting. Within five minutes or so the number had swelled to about 1000. All students from the Faculty of Farts.
We were pretty quiet to begin with. Well, let’s say that “they” were pretty quiet to begin with. I did try, but being old and warty I wasn’t too good at getting rowdy. When the Orientation Leaders arrived things got louder. First, questions and answers, then a game called “Bang!” then learning and practicing the Faculty chant. I tried, but decided that I would mostly watch, laugh and smile as the agitated, energetic youth got things stirred up.
After a much needed pee break (phew!) we all headed to the induction ceremony in the gymnasium. That was in the Kinesiology Building. I knew there would be quite a few students there, just from the size of the Arts crowd, but I don’t think I expected what I saw when we got there. It was the frantic five thousand. The noise grew and grew as I got closer to the auditorium. Here is my first glimpse of the throng.
As I say, the noise grew and grew. All the cheers, chants and roars of a happy crowd, ready and waiting, enthused. Each faculty had their own chant – and they practiced and practiced while we waited for the dignitaries to arrive. It got louder and louder. Haskayne competing with Arts, competing with the Engineers, competing with the Nursing and the Faculty of Medical Science etc etc etc. The Arts chant was something about being asked who we are, and being happy to tell everyone that we’re “Arts, Arts, Arts!” with some gyrations, bumping and spinning thrown in. Again, I watched, laughed and smiled.
I was surprised to find that there weren’t very many “mature” (boy, have I got them fooled!) students attending, and I’m pretty sure that I was the only one actually down on the floor. That’s okay, although I did feel somewhat alone, and as so many of the youngsters did a “double-take” when they first saw me I could tell that I was not what they were expecting to see. This made me feel – what’s the word… “Outstanding!”
The dignitaries arrived. There were several speeches – Student Union President, Student Leader, President, Dean, and Connor Grennan, the author of the Common Reading Program book, Little Princes. Now, I enjoyed the book a great deal, but I must say that in my opinion Mr. Grennan lowered his communication standards a bit too much to try to accommodate the freshman students. Since when does an author of any accomplishment make a speech including dozens, even hundreds of instances of “he’s all like, she’s all like, and I’m like,” and so on and so forth? It was disappointing. I know – that’s my baggage and it’s probably true that everyone else in the room probably thought it was a great speech – but I can only bring my experience to bear, and that’s what I thought.
After the ceremony we were promised barbecue cuisine served up by the dignitaries, but that did not happen. At least, not while I was there. Perhaps they put in a five minute stint shortly after the breakout, but I didn’t see it. The burger was – frankly – not cooked with love: it was grey, with the barest, thinnest evidence of griddle marks that may have been drawn on in the factory. It was slapped on an uncooked bun, and we were to plop on ketchup, mustard and green relish as a dressing. No onions. No lettuce. No love.
I took in the “carnival”, which was a parade of tents and tables representing various campus organizations. That was interesting, but it only took about ten minutes.
I skipped the Reading Program book discussion.
So that was my day. My first day back in school. I think lessons will be easier – on me, at least.