I wasn’t too excited for CalSO. I was very indifferent. I didn’t look forward to it, but I didn’t dread it.
I’ve always believed I have impeccably bad timing in everything, but I think CalSO actually came at the perfect time. It was weird visiting practice just the day before and then heading off to college the day after. It was such a sudden jump that I felt like I plie-d so hard before leaping that my trailing leg was stuck in the ground. On one hand I was feeling nostalgic…the team wass getting ready for elite camp, my favorite dt event. On the other hand, I wanted to let go because it’s time to move on. Then the nationals video came out and we were in it for at least a good 3-4 seconds. I watched it right before the meet your adviser workshop where we talked about moments and triumphs, fears and dreams and all of mine seemed to be about letting go at that moment in time. Then the team’s bus got stuck (again) and if that doesn’t spell nostalgia I don’t know what does. I missed dt a lot and I hoped that orientation would provide something new for me to look forward to. But for the first 10 hours, I wasn’t convinced at all.
I’ve heard these stories before, like how we thought we were admitted for the fall but then read a little further down the sentence after our celebration just to see the word “spring” instead.
I’ve experienced the awkwardness from these exact ice-breaker games before..at least once a year during auditions. I’ve become a pro at bunny-bunny. I haven’t messed up in a round of big booty. I know how dumb you feel when your death is more dramatic than your partner’s in a game of earth-people.
I’ve heard all about Cal’s prestige. I’ve done my share of research in prerequisites for my intended major. So by the end of the first 10 hours of orientation, I didn’t acquire anything new except for a couple of Cal cheers.
Then it was the stereotype discussion. Again, it started off very familiar. I’ve done one in lit every year and no one ever says anything new. It always starts with our personal experiences, then the “realization” that generalizations are inevitable, and of course ends in we realized we’re doomed with this human tendency but go find a solution anyway. I thought meeting people out of the cuptown bubble would bring in new perspectives, but nope. We all reached an agreement within 5 minutes and spent the next 55 circling around the same basic ideas that we came in with.
I didn’t feel intrigued until my CalSO leader called us out. He said “you’re wrong” and proceed to spew out his opinions like a machine gun. His thoughts came out so quickly, so coherently, and so meaningfully at the same time. He spun the conversation in a million different directions.
I had nothing to say because I was too busy thinking about what he was like before his time at Cal. Even though this was his 16th CalSO session this summer, I don’t think he was just reciting from his treasure chest of things previously said in similar discussions. More importantly, I’d like to think he was just like one of us at his CalSO, totally amateurish, unsophisticated, and unable to think outside of the box. So if this is how college will transform me, then I accept.