Orientation: A Half Success

By: Ethan Woo ’16

Groton School proudly advertises itself as a small, intimate, and yet diverse community.  One of the first opportunities in the school year to demonstrate this was student orientation, a two-day event where new students familiarize themselves with the campus and each other.  However, there were mixed feelings about it among the students. Though I agree that orientation was a fun and useful experience, I don’t believe it went far enough in making students comfortable.

 

Orientation consisted mainly of one scavenger hunt on each day. The first scavenger hunt consisted of taking pictures with different people at varying locations across  campus, while the second hunt’s objective was to  complete certain challenges in order to acquire hints allowing you to advance, finally returning to the mall. All of the students were randomly grouped with people from different dorms for each hunt.

The SAC galvanized a massively recycled activity into something enjoyable through their efficiency and enthusiasm.”It was a very well executed icebreaker,” comments Will Robbins, a new Third Former.   “The scavenger hunt provided something to talk about and conversation was much easier. Several other students agree that some of their friends would not have been as easily made had the orientation never taken place. Meals and the atmosphere of the dormitories were less awkward.”

New Students attend orientation

However, that opinion is far from unanimous. Multiple students have complained that the events were lacking in variety, as well as being limited and confining.  When it was announced that the second SAC activity would be yet another scavenger hunt, a loud groan went up which was quickly covered by a senior exclaiming, “No, this one will be different!  It’ll be different!”

“The hunts were long and pointless, especially because there were two of them.  They should’ve been shorter and the tour much longer,” one critic says.  “We could’ve found our classes much more easily the next day if the tour was more in depth.  We could’ve gotten our textbooks and laptops on the first day. The scavenger hunt really didn’t add anything.”

It is clear that there are others who think along the same lines. A fifteen-minute school tour may not be sufficient for new students to find his classes without much difficulty.  And a brief explanation on how to use a brand new machine with foreign programs is not enough.  Perhaps orientation could’ve been more productive and the following school days smoother if the activities for fun (like the scavenger hunt) were shortened, and more productive events (like laptop orientation and school tours) were considerably lengthened.  Classes would’ve been found much more easily and homework could have potentially been completed more efficiently.

Orientation may have been a success, socially. But the productivity, evidently, was not quite up to par with what Groton’s many classes demand of its students.  And the level of entertainment was not up to par with what Groton’s new student body desired of the SAC.

Groton’s mission statement declares it to be a “diverse and intimate community,” and by no means whatsoever do I dispute this.  I believe it to be a tightly-knit, spirited school, and I know for a fact that I am nowhere close to alone in this opinion. But Groton School would be just as  diverse and intimate a community with a shortened scavenger hunt. And with that shortened scavenger hunt, a more productive orientation and a more smoothly run school year.

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