I was wandering the halls of Wisconsin Sociology today and someone asked if I was going to be going to the reception tomorrow to meet the new graduate students. Instead, my plane will be landing in Boston about then. Still, I feel like I know the new students already. The department invites the new students to invite blurbs about themselves that are circulated before the semester begins to the other incoming students. This seems like a good bond-facilitating activity. More strangely, though, the department also collects all of these blurbs and distributes them to all the faculty. I mean, it's kind of fun to read what the new students' favorite ice cream flavors and television shows are, but I'm not sure if they are told beforehand that their blurbs are more broadly distributed than just to their peers. If anyone who reads this knows, let me know.
I think anything that helps graduate students get to know each other early is commendable. My graduate program had their orientation a full week before classes started, and I remember going to orientation and then spending the next week alone, wandering around in extreme humidity and convincing myself that I had made a horrible mistake with my life.
26 new students this year, one for each letter of the alphabet. Indeed, one is named Jay and another is named Elizabeth but says that she prefers to be called Zee, so maybe the others can claim the remaining 24 letters and the bulletin board of their photos can use a Scrabble Tile theme. (BTW: I wonder if the name Zee is properly pronounced "Zed" in Commonwealth countries.)