I’ve just read an article in The Star submitted by a ‘Worried parent’ regarding local universities’ orientation programmes.
With all due respect, I have to voice out my disagreement. Not that ‘worried parent’ didn’t have his/her valid reasons, but I do not think that prohibiting the orientation programmes will benefit the students. I, for one, believe that these orientations shape up the current crop of students into becoming better persons in their future lives.
Let’s face it; you and I both know how pampered youngsters nowadays are. Handphones when you turn 12, police reports when your kids got caned, etc etc. The list goes forever. But that’s not what I’m trying to stress. You can buy your son a new bungalow for his 10th birthday if you feel like it and I won’t be jealous. But I just can’t stand people younger than me showing me no respect because their parents never taught them about it.
That’s right. Respect.
I don’t deny most students who came into local universities are brilliant individuals. But sometimes it gets into their heads. They think they’re the best around and therefore need not respect others, and I’m not talking about just seniors. The staff in residential colleges, the aunties who work in the kitchen, the cleaning lady, and even the lecturers.
Don’t believe it? ‘Worried parent’, you ought to come into the campus and see with your own eyes.
Over two years that I’ve spent in the university, I have seen many rude juniors who think of no one else besides themselves. Coming for classes, go for meals, and lock themselves in their rooms. They don’t greet anyone who passes by, they wear shorts to public places (which is very rude when you’re staying together with people from various ethnics), insult the aunties who spend all day cooking their breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I don’t even want to talk about how they treat the cleaning lady who washes their dirty toilets. Is that what you want your son to be doing? Nothing but just a rude booksmart?
Being a junior once, I've experienced similar situations too, or perhaps even worse. If I can go through it, along with thousands of people who went through the local tertiary education every year, what makes your son so special that he is to be exempted? The way you put it makes your son sounds like a wimp.
We do not orientate juniors merely for fun and revenge. There is a meaning behind everything we do. We’re trying to create a bond between seniors and juniors so that in the future we can help each other when problems arise. And we try to teach them valuable knowledge on various aspects in becoming a better man, not just a top scorer who doesn’t care a squat.
Orientations bring all of us together. We want to treat everyone as family. That’s what we’re trying to instill to the juniors who has just stepped into our ‘second home’. I agree some parts of the orientation are unnecessary, but we mean no harm. Why in the world would we want to orientate a junior for no reason? Do you think we have nothing else better to do? I have my own final year project going on, enough that I’m already taking extra credit hours this semester, and I still go back to help out with the orientation programmes in my former residential college. Do you think I really enjoy that?
No, I don’t. But I’m doing it nonetheless. Just for the sake of bringing the juniors to see the outside world, to gain valuable experiences that you can never retrieve once you’ve missed it.
‘Worried parent’, try not to criticize the seniors in the university without knowing the entire truth. I don’t think your son told you the whole story in his uni life. I know a friend from the medical faculty who personally prepared soups for the juniors every day throughout their orientation. She said she’s afraid the juniors couldn’t cope with their new surrounding, more so as the weather’s getting nasty lately. She’s having her finals the following week, but she said she felt obliged to do that. I bet your son didn't tell you that.
Last year during my college orientation, I was in the middle of a lecture when a friend called me to help bring a junior to the hospital because she sprained her ankle. I spent the entire day with her in the hospital and missed a whole day’s lectures and lab. But I’m not complaining, because I’m doing what I’m supposed to do as a senior. That she understood why we want them to approach us during orientation is good enough, and I don’t regret to have done what I’ve done.
I hope that ‘Worried parent’ will change his/her perception on us seniors. We’re not power-crazy people who enjoy torturing juniors. Your son will understand why we’re doing all these when he enters his second year in uni.
And I hope by then he can proudly tell you he’s sacrificing a hell lot to help bring the juniors out to see the outside world, just like what we’re trying to do now. I'm sure your perspective on these orientations will change in the near future.