Thursday, June 30, 2016

Getting In, Part 13: Orientation

There is something about the whole college process that feels a bit like running headlong into a field of the unknown. You read pamphlets and websites. You talk things through based on all sorts of unknowns, and you make decisions based on knowledge that seems spotty at best. And then you just hope--that your judgment is good, or that your adaptation skills are first-rate, or that the unknowns were really more known than you thought.

And then, suddenly, there is a bridge of sorts, called Orientation. While you may still be entering the unknown, you can stroll a bit before running headlong. While you may not learn everything, you can get a clearer picture than any brochure or website can deliver. While you may still (as a parent or a student) not feel 100% ready for the changes to come, you feel at least 80% more prepared.

When I think of all the jobs I've begun with barely a word of orientation, I am even more grateful for these days that are beginning the transition for us all. With orientation, you not only feel better, you can perform better. With orientation, the field of the unknown suddenly becomes the space of the (at least partly) familiar. Turns out that "getting in" isn't just about arriving. In the best of worlds, it's also about knowing what to do--and feeling good about doing--when you get there.

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