I had orientation today and yesterday. It was, predictably, mostly boring and somewhat useful. We've been asked ten or more times if we're "overwhelmed" yet, which makes me think I'm missing something, like the lecture when they tell us that we have to write ten books to graduate.
During our tour today, one of the older grad students remarked that A&M is great, but it's kind of like a cult. Which, if you're from Texas, you understand. I've always seen A&M as a bit surreal. It is chock-full of "school spirit," a concept I find troubling and unappealing, since it, like "patriotism," encourages people to support every policy of an institution without thought or protest. This school spirit, of course, revolves around the many traditions of the school, most of which are absolutely bizarre. We learned during our tour today that the Corps has this dog, Reveille, who is their mascot. The student leading our tour told us that one of her students showed up in class ten minutes late because he was in the Corps and saw Reveille walking across campus. Apparently, Corps members, because Reveille outranks them, are supposed to take a roundabout way that doesn't interfere with Reveille's path when they see her. Or something. Further, if Reveille comes into your class (what the fuck is a dog doing in the building is what I want to know) and barks, you're supposed to dismiss class. If ever you wanted to make a point about how utterly inane it is to do stupid things solely on the grounds that those stupid things are tradition, you could simply list off some of A&M's traditions and let them speak for themselves.
Another surreal tradition here is that Aggies are not supposed to boo, because it's rude. Instead, they hiss. You can't make this shit up.