My version of orientation may have been slightly different than that of other “freshladies,” because I happened to arrive a few days earlier than everyone else to participate in the volleyball program. After exiting a grueling practice, however, I was surprised to see a number of SUVs stacked high with other students’ belongings and I was soon greeted by none other than a group of… cheerleaders? I thought that Mills was a haven for girls like me who couldn’t be more anti-cheerleader, jump-jump, happy-happy. I guess I was wrong. Yet there is something to be said for the level of enthusiasm and passion that women have for Mills, even if it is expressed through cheerleading.
The first asterisked activity on our program sheet began interestingly. By interestingly, I mean with chanting. Yes, chanting, of the tribal variety. “STRONG WOMEN, PROUD WOMEN, ALL WOMEN, MILLS WOMEN!” The varsity students just kept going and going, flexing their arms along with the words; I was waiting for them to whip out masks, cover our faces and whisk us off to meet their leader. Now, I understand that colleges have traditions, and that they want you to be involved in them. That’s nice. My first impression of college, however, should not be of mock cheerleaders, a mascot and fifteen people dressed entirely in white, stomping around and chanting. It just shouldn’t, because now I’m scared and want to go home.
The Mills orientation redeemed itself with a student excursion. Being a part of the leadership and social justice Learning Living Community, I was led around the streets of Oakland and asked in which ways our LLC could improve the unity of the community. Our solution – plants and new walkways … ? I’m more aggressive and believe wholly that Mills women have the capacity to help local schools and other community groups to improve the quality of education and after-school programs, so this first attempt at getting involved seemed a little weak, but you have to start somewhere.
After we planned our beautifying mission, went out to dim sum. I passionately dislike Chinese food. I was flat-out terrified when a series of small plates started to magically arrive at my table. There were lots of balls filled with gelatinous … goop. We also tried chicken feet, tofu and … well, to be honest, I had no idea what the other items on our table were. However my friend Bri managed to take many unflattering pictures of my attempt at using the chopsticks. The lunchtime discussion touched upon the agreement that our hall needed a community condom and lubricant box. We also found that there is in fact a genre of literature discussing kama sutra lesbian sex. I felt enlightened by the time I left the restaurant, to say the least.
Orientation has certainly had its whacky aspects but overall it was full of information and crucial in helping students to understand and appreciate the opportunities that are available on-campus. Let’s go on to be successful and inquisitive college women. Rock it out Class of 2014!