Today I visited Tufts for the first time as a real student and was officially matriculated into my program.
…in other words, I attended my Graduate Orientation.
Graduate Orientation is a whole different species from its undergraduate cousin. Certainly you have the same trappings; the same high-powered individuals from the university standing up to give welcome speeches, the same awkward sitting in the auditorium wondering how everyone else there seems to know someone already, the same hall full of tables peddling pamphlets and various school swag (TUFTS SILLY PUTTY!), but there’s a certain level of grown-up-ness to the Graduate version. A definite amount of “well, you know the drill, we’re sure you’ll figure the rest out”. And for that, I am vastly appreciative. I didn’t want a campus tour, I didn’t want a lecture about how to manage my time well or deal with being away from home, I just wanted my ID and school swag and someone to point me the way to the bookstore and parking services.
The campus is somewhat idyllic; green fields and old brick buildings nestled into the
crevices of a bustling city. That’s how I like things really; a place to go see trees while simultaneously have the option to order Thai food at ten PM if I wanted (not at all hours maybe, this isn’t New York, after all). I went and said hi to the elephant (which, you may recall, is the Tufts mascot and one of my favorite animals). I scoped the library and a couple prime sitting locations upon which to read.
Overall, things were going pretty smoothly.
I was feeling pretty good about the situation when I exited orientation and poked my nose around for the aforepromised table where IDs were to be picked up. I had been responsible and everything, sending in my ID picture beforehand so that all I had to do today was grab it. After this, I had to run to the parking office and acquire my permit for the year (I needed my ID to do so). Last stop was the bookstore where I would grab my textbooks and maybe a token item of Tufts merchandise to prove that I’m a real graduate student.
I should have known things were going too smoothly.
When two passes over the resource fair proved that the ID table was nowhere in sight, I asked the all-too-eager-to-help student standing by where I might find it. “Oh.” She said, eyes downcast, “Well, in theory you should be able to pick them up here…. But the company which delivers the plastic that the IDs are printed on didn’t come through so we have nothing to print them on until tomorrow. They’re hopefully going to be arriving then at 9AM when we will print as many as possible and with any luck you should be able to get them after that.”
“Uh… okay.” I replied, blinking a few times, “You do realize that this provides a problem for those of us who need parking passes?” I failed to mention the fact that all of the Graduate Students were commuter students since Graduate Housing didn’t exist and, thereby, all of us would have a problem…
“Yeaaa… uhm… well the good news is that you can pick both up in the same building!”
Okay, so strike parking pass and ID off of my list. Perhaps I could at least deal with the bookstore…
I arrived at the cutest university bookstore I’ve ever been to with a surprisingly small amount of people considering it was orientation week. I managed to make my way down to the actual book section past the merchandising without spotting something I wanted yet (I have standards about my hoodies, darnit). They require personal book shoppers to assist you during busy season, which seemed fine to me since it meant someone else had to locate and carry all of my books for me. I handed my assistant my class list and his eyes went wide for a minute. “Yea, you’ll need a basket.” He said.
I smiled, “I’m a PhD student. I’ll need a cart.”
He took me over to the shelf where my department should have had all of its classes. He picked out four books for one class and, lo and behold, my second two classes weren’t there. “Maybe there are no books for them.” He suggested.
I looked dubious. “Uh… right… maybe we’re just going to read plays off the internet all semester.” I don’t think he thought it was as funny as I did.
Apparently, my other two professors have yet to turn in their book lists. Class starts next week. One of those professors is the chair of my program.
I paid for the books they did have for me (only four!? For Intro to Grad Lit Studies!? SCORE!) and returned to my car. I had to return to campus the next day anyway for a talk with aforementioned chair, so I could check back in on sundries (like my ID and parking pass… sigh) then.
The way the visitor garage works is that it costs one token to remove your car at the end of
the day. Tokens cost five dollars and may be purchased at machines on floor 3, 5, and 7 of the garage. I parked on floor 3 so that I wouldn’t forget to purchase a token on my way out.
As I approached the machine, moderate load of books in hand, I realized that its out of order light was on. I sighed and proceeded up the stairs to level five, deciding that I had eaten a lemon bar at the refreshments table during orientation and thereby hadn’t earned the right to be lazy today. Level five was also broken. I grumbled and marched myself up to level seven which, thankfully, was not broken.
ID, parking pass, textbooks, and even visitor parking fail. Beautiful.
On my way home, I realized I should have known this would have occurred. I have chosen life as an academic. The only rainbows and butterflies in that life are made of red tape and migraines.
Despite my whinging, I am very happy with the new digs. I can’t wait for school to start and I can’t wait to finally see my darned ID.
Also, for something completely different, this is Ben. Ben is a friend of mine who hates Christmas. Ben has probably forgotten that I have this picture of him from last Christmas. Ben has publicly denoted that my blog is much more interesting when he is mentioned. Ben should probably be careful what he asks for next time.