As a reader of The GW Patriot throughout the last few months of my senior year of high school, I have become considerably appreciative of the publication’s witty straightforwardness with respect to “Colonial Indoctrination.” While I didn’t expect a realistic social environment on campus or the honest enthusiasm of the student body, I quickly learned the purpose of attending CI was to hear students proselytizing a completely unrealistic experience at a university. Little did I know that what was in store for 500 enthralled freshmen was a copious amount of dancing by the Colonial Cabinet, a laser light show with the accompaniment of a fog machine, and skits meant to convey the typical college experience. Admittedly, I was confused as to whether such a presentation was intended to inform or impress parents as they embark on a four year collegiate spending spree for their child. Some parents, and students for that matter, questioned the need of such an extravagant welcome to GW. Others recognized this performance as expected entertainment at a university where everything is embellished and done so with a generous budget. After such a grandiose show, my subsequent experiences at small group, “small talk” meetings and Casino Night left me disoriented. Is it truly reasonable to assume that juniors and seniors are going to shepherd us through the next four years, let alone dance, bowl, and play poker with us at the Hippodrome? After attending class all day, studying, and working, are upperclassmen really going to care about assisting 2,500 freshmen with our various predicaments? Colonial Cabinet members appeared to think so. Call me irreverent, but I would have preferred to see a less buoyant glimpse of my future school, particularly because I know that the entire student body is not frolicking to GW-specific songs and is not unanimously absorbed in school spirit.
Despite certain nonessential elements to Colonial Inauguration, the three-day welcome was not without its beneficial and practical components. Allowing students to explore GW’s campuses and facilities, including our new residence halls, unquestionably gave freshmen the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the surrounding area. Small group advising sessions enabled me to inquire about certain classes, credits, and GCRs, all of which I was absolutely clueless about. I enjoyed discussing general topics with a representative from my major, and introducing myself to Dr. Barratt, Dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, was enlightening. Despite my evident cynicism regarding all of the stipulated “social” activities, it was nice to meet many affable students who are as equally passionate about attending GW. Lastly, the Colonial Cabinet members, in their infinite enthusiasm, exemplified concern for us credulous freshmen (at least temporarily).
As I speak with friends and peers from high school attending universities nationwide, I realize that a certain amount of idealism is endorsed at every school. Every college is going to promote diversity, exuberance, and school spirit, no matter how unconvincing that nonsense is. I have faith in every GW freshman that CI did not give them implausible impressions about overly helpful and excited upperclassmen or that handling financial and academic affairs would not require going through time-consuming bureaucratic practices. Hopefully, none of us will look completely ridiculous running up to our CI small group leader at the first opportunity, astonished as to why that person does not remember us. If all goes well on August 30th, no freshman will be too disenchanted when we are not all greeted by the dancing Colonial Cabinet singing the GW Fight Song. Notwithstanding such a fanciful concept of college, I hope we are all looking forward to the next four years of costly tuition, an abundance of student fees, and liberal academia. Optimistically, I think we can all put aside the swankiness, and instead hold in the highest regard that we will be attending an academically prestigious university in our nation’s political epicenter.