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Orientation did everything it was supposed to do. It introduced me to my program, the faculty, aspects of the school, and some fellow students. I got to fill out paperwork, see some of the facilities, listen to speakers, and take notes on a few things I should really be doing before school starts. It did all of this, but that isn't what made it great.

Orientation absolutely, positively, rocked my socks! After the mixer at the Press Club, I was nervous that the program was going to be all public relations (exactly what I did NOT want to study), that I was incompetent because I was only going to be working 10-15 hours a week in addition to taking 12 hours of graduate level courses (which is 3 more hours than full time), and that there was the distinct possibility I was one of the least experienced people around. However, when I heard about all the exciting lectures, outside projects, the alumni mentoring program, and available resources; the only thing I could think was: "I am not going to have an ounce of trouble filling my "spare" time.

The Play-by-Play
Breakfast and words from a few people. Most interesting thing is the description of the new faculty members. My two favorite from the list are actually teaching me too. How exciting! Dottie Lynch was the CBS Political Editor and signed on in May. She is an expert on the gender gap and polling. Matt Nisbet is a rather young but very accomplished guy who focuses on science and the media and how the more scientific policy issues can be put into greater focus on the political agenda. Loving the idea of taking classes from both of these people!

Scavenger hunt for people in the program "who have ..." I was excited to be able to fill the "Has lived on at least two continents" box in addition to some other more general things. Abbey blows everyone away by managing to meet basically half of the room. I am hoping we get to hang out more - I love her initiative!

Break-out groups into divisions of the School of Communication. Lenny Steinhorn, the Division Director talks to us about our division and introduces more faculty members. I am thrilled to have this former congressional speech writer and political consultant for my professor as well. My fourth professor is not there, but has an excellent resume as well. During the Q&A I ask a relatively silly question (as stupid questions do not exist), "Is there a dress code?". (My mother has been telling us every night at the dinner table about how the students in her grad program have to be sent to get more appropriate clothes before attending classes ... so I was a little nervous.) Prof. Steinhorn replies by making a joke of my question, which doesn't thrill me until he apeases his response by talking about the importance of choosing appropriate apparel before going places besides his classroom. Phew. Getting made fun of the first day would have been a serious bummer.

At the end of the break-out the woman next to me turns to me and says, "I think you are in my class." It is Dottie Lynch, who I have been psyched about taking a class from since May when I heard she was coming in. And she has recognized me from my name tag. She applauds my question about the dress code. I was thrilled, relieved, and super excited to talk to her. Afterwards, on the way out of the room, Prof. Nisbet calls me over. I figured he saw my name on his roster too. No such luck. Instead, he wanted to tell me I was his new Graduate Research Assistant. I get to study science, communication, and politics simultaneously under this man. It is seriously as if God has blessed me 100 times over in the period of five minutes. I cannot even begin to tell you how joyous I am about all of this.

Lunch was superb, and we got to sit with a different professor and talk to her about her specialties and ideas. She primarily works with non-profits, but has a PhD in Film from UCLA. Wow. Oh, and the mozzarella (from the water), tomato, italian spices sandwich was heavenly.

After lunch things were slightly less amusing with a very RA-training like introduction to campus resources, offices, and lists of things we were supposed to have already done but never knew existed because the communication school has surprisingly bad communication skills. One interesting fact is that over 80% of AU students do an internship. I wonder if I will fall into their crowd or not. Also, I can check out books from 8 colleges and universities - including Georgetown - in the DC area for free. How exciting!

I filled out the paperwork for my employment stuff (I had not received the email about bringing appropriate identification with me though, so lacking my passport or birth certificate, I now have to go and hunt down the HR office ... slack me not reading my email the NIGHT before orientation (it was sent at 6:17pm)). But the good news is I will be getting paid. Hooray.

I came home after that because I needed to kind of veg out from sitting in the rather uncomfortable folding chair right next to the bar from the folding table (inability to move legs = bad thing). I was bummy for about an hour and then all the amazing feelings of exhiliration hit me and I had to go do something. So I went back to school and watched the AU volleyball team play George Mason in the DC Metro Classic. They lost 16-14 in the 5th game after four pretty tight games before that. I won't regale you with all of the highlights, but I chose a great school to watch volleyball at as the Eagles have been Patriot League champs for 3 years running. And it is just one more FREE feature of having my university ID card. Marvelous.

And that was pretty much my day. Wasn't that exciting!?! I hope you think so too. Love always, ~Heather

Original Post
{I went to orientation today. It was incredibly cool and very fun. But after that and the AU volleyball game I went to tonight, and the lingering headache I have from not eating dinner until 10:30pm ... I am going to finish watching Monk and then I am going to sleep. I'll delete this tomorrow and fill in the exciting details of my day .... really going. Love always, ~Heather}