While the Class of 2015 was resilient to inclement weather, staring down Hurricane Irene in 2011, the freshly oriented Class of 2017 appears to be as resilient in a different kind of storm, one of negative criticism and turmoil at the administrative level. From the sampling of students that we asked, most appeared unfazed by both the presidential changes and the financial burdens the College is continuing to struggle with. When asked how she felt about coming to St. Mary’s during such a time of uncertainty and change at the administrative level, first-year Emily Wagner replied with a positive outlook.
“It’s a little bit unfortunate, but it was a mistake, it wasn’t on purpose, and it doesn’t reflect that much on the students, and it doesn’t change who the teachers are. I don’t think it makes that much of a difference. I know some people outside see it as a problem but I don’t.” Right or wrong, this sentiment seems to encompass the freshman mentality: less apprehension and more pride in the place they chose to call home for the next four years.
Layla Ibrahim, another first-year, thought that the strength of the student body is enough to keep the campus afloat. “People are obviously bonding together and you know the student body is active enough,” she said. It’s nice to have a steady leadership but we govern ourselves and we use the president and the administration as a resource rather than something that we need as something to thrive and survive.”
This should come as no surprise, since not only is the St. Mary’s community tight-knit and durable, but the orientees also had packed schedules to take their minds off administrative woes and fully transition them into the “Keep St. Mary’s Weird” atmosphere. From events like the Tour of the Seven Wonders of St. Mary’s, which has students exploring the Hidden Grave, the Garden of Remembrance and other often overlooked but beautiful and mysterious parts of this college’s campus. Following this walking tour the First Years were then asked to participate in the Luau & S’Mores, a night of lawn games, mocktails, dancing and of course desert.
Concluding the last full day of orientation was the always popular (and this year, effortlessly risqué) Airbands; a show where new students can watch their Orientation Leaders and Resident Assistants act, dance, sing to impress the crowd. As always orientation seemed to ignite a spark in new students and propel them to their first day of college, and even this semester, one marred with transitions and apprehension, did not rattle the first-years or their goals.