The Ateneo Freshmen Orientation Seminar (OrSem) flops

From a corny theme to postponement to bad weather, things just aren’t going well for this year’s OrSem, themed Est 1859.

This has been a long and tiring journey for the Organizing Committee of the Orientation Seminar (OrCore). OrSem was originally scheduled on June 10, 11, and 13. However a memorandum on large gatherings was issued by Vice President Assunta Cuyegkeng forbidding gatherings of over 500 people. OrSem was reduced to two days instead of the traditional three and was rescheduled to June 3 to 4.

The delay was just the first in a series of bad luck. Because the new dates were set in the middle of the school year, many of the volunteers had to quit because of academic and and other previous commitments. Due to the extremely volatile weather, many of the volunteers also got sick making them incapable of playing and touring the freshmen.

Kudos to them for making a back-up plan and creating their OrSem hype up program where they danced the traditional Pacific Ring of Fire, Banana, and Chuga. It would have been perfect if only deans and faculty didn’t complain of the noise they created.

During the first day of OrSem, 19 of the TnTs (Talks and Tours Committee) were unable to attend. This is partly due to, again, the weather that makes a cold, the flu, and swine flu barely distinguishable from one another, and the TnT strict attendance policy which disallows late people to tour the freshmen. 

It also rained for a chunk of the second day, postponing, and even cancelling part of the Council Tours. We also saw a TnT (who was my friend, so I felt really horrible) who fell flat on his face. I was glad he only got a major bruise since his head almost hit the pavement. As the day was ending, we saw a freshman being carried out in a stretcher and wearing a neck brace. An ambulance was waiting for her.

I heard that another TnT sprained an ankle.

The OrCore this year was very disorganized. When my staffer interviewed them, they weren’t even sure if classess and programs were going to be cancelled for OrSem. They just kept pointing fingers and they had the nerve to say we made an erratum? Well, fortunately for us, we have the tapes and transcripts to prove their lack of direction. 

Our organization was also taked with creating the OrSem map to be given to the freshmen. After much deliberation, OrCore and our org’s bosses agreed on the terms, style, and et cetera. Two days after their meeting, they asked if we still wanted to make the OrSem map. They kept asking us for photos and other things but the person who would contact us would direct us to another person, who in turn, would give a different person’s number. Is it just me or they really don’t seem to talk among themselves?

I was a former TnT. I know that to accomodate the changes and the dates, they changed the program. However, most of OrSem was just useless. They cancelled talks on Guidance Testing, Intact and the like so that they can tour the freshmen who have been roaming around the campus for three whole weeks. I’m sure by then they know where their classes are and throughout the semester they’ll get to know the other buildings. Fine, the talks inside those air-conditioned rooms can be quite boring but they are very helpful because they discuss the academic standards in Ateneo.

I got the impression that it wasn’t really about guiding the freshmen. It was more of upholding a tradition-one that was painful for the freshmen but fun for the committees in OrSem.

I can’t really blame them for the theme, after all the administration wanted it to be in line with the 150th anniversary but it really didn’t do the Sesquicentennial justice.


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