Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Leadership Training," Day One.

So today, the third day of orientation, focused on "leadership training." Instead of wearing business casual, like we've been instructed to do for orientation, we were all supposed to wear our matching teal "DVM 2014" shirts.

For those of you who know me, you can probably see where this is headed: a very unhappy Karin. To be fair, I know I'm starting a new program, and I know I need to not make a shitty first impression, so I did participate, but I definitely was pretty grouchy about the whole thing all day.

I showed up wearing business casual - just in case a decent sized minority decided not to wear their class t-shirts. Unfortunately, everybody did, so I quickly threw my shirt over what I was wearing. Usually, I wouldn't have a problem being the one sticking out like a sore thumb, but first impressions and all, I figured I should cave.

After a welcome speech from the Dean of the college, we were herded back into the same room as the previous days. We were then greeted by a guest speaker from WSU, who runs these "Veterinary Leadership Experience" camps. So yes, he's associated with a school, and he's a DVM, but he's also got that cheeseball professional "inspirational speaker" vibe to him.

So its not going too badly - cheezy powerpoint lectures with "funny" (yes, that's in quotes for a reason) pictures and videos, and lots of talks on personal responsibility, self actualization, how preconceived notions color your perceptions, and responsible leadership. Nothing too bad.

Untill he throws on some terrible music, makes everybody stand up, and start doing some coordinated line dance. It occurs to me at this point, that I can just leave, and go back to Colorado. If it had been at an undergrad college, I probably would have. However, since at this point, this is what I want more than anything, I decide that since I already made it this far, I might as well be a sheeple and join. Yes, I died a little inside.

Then we break up into small groups, and go outside. We form a circle, and have to play a "get to know you" game with a rope, and going around the circle answering questions about ourselves. I'm pretty burnt out on this whole thing by now, and its not even lunchtime.

For lunch, we're packed onto yellow school busses, and shipped to a hotel conference room, where we're fed banquet food provided by the California Veterinary Medical Association. After a free lunch, and a talk about the CVMA, and its insurance arm, we're given dog food scoops, and pens bearing the name of the insurance company.

We're shipped back to the school, more dancing insues, there's a speech about imposter syndrome (which is actually a pretty interesting subject I've read tons about) was touched on, then more leadership crap, and meyer's briggs personality tests were touched on.

Outside again to do a "teamwork exercise," that is just like this computer game, only with us standing on paper plates, and we had to use teamwork to solve it. Whee! Can you just hear the fun meters going off? Seriously, at this point, I'm wishing that cyanide capsules were part of the required school supplies.

Inside again more more pop psychology brainwashing. Out again for another game (where people have to form a circle, and play a bizarre form of tag where groups of three have to act out animals.) This was supposed to teach us empathy for the person who was "it." Apparently, we were supposed to feel bad they were "it." I didn't. I was insanely glad that somebody other than me was "it," and was using my best "fuck off and die" vibes to keep anybody from tagging me while yelling "ELEPHANT!"

Back inside one last time to hear the Hills rep say something to our class, and try to buy our loyalty with free backpacks and planners.

Ok, this is a bitchy and cynical post. Anytime something is billed to be "fun" when its not actually fun, I'm going to be annoyed. Especially if said activities are pretty much forced down your throat. Last time I checked, I was entering proffessional school, not elementary school. Enough with the juvinile games. And I get annoyed when information that could be delivered in a couple articles that could be read in less than an hour, is stretched out over 8 hours, then made worse by forced "fun."

And I've complained already about how we're given so much stuff from all these different companies (and I'm only 3 days in and haven't officially started classes). Its worth checking out the No Free Lunch website. Its geared towards how all the free stuff piled on med students influences their decisions as a physician, but there's no reason why the same wouldn't hold true for dogfood companies and vet students. Basically, when you're given something for free, like a pen, or lunch, or whatever, it makes you feel indebted towards x company. Then when you're practicing, instead of looking for the company or product that's most appropriate, you tend to lean towards the one you feel indebted to. No free lunch advocates turning down all freebies to avoid this. I figure, that just saves the companies money on students that won't be profitable for them later, since they're resisting the manipulation. My plan is to cost them money in freebies, then as a practitioner, ignore the hype and do the right thing. Maybe by taking their stuff from them (and then re-homing it,) it will raise the costs of "buying" students, and hit them in their wallets. Like that hills laptop backpack I got today? Its going to goodwill, or a school supply drive.

Anyway, tomorrow's another 10 hour day of leadership/teamwork bullshit, and then back to more informational, less "inspirational" stuff. After today, I really can't wait for classes to start - I'm done with orientation. And when classes get bad, I can always think "well, I'm completely overwhelmed with what I have to learn, and I always feel like I'm behind, but at least they're not coercing me into dancing again."

And just an image to sum up how I feel about today:


  1. orientation week is bull. but this isn't going to be the first or last time the faculty shoves crap down your throat. and don't bother trying to blend in with all the ditzies; you'll find your niche in the program.

  2. I didn't. I was insanely glad that somebody other than me was "it," and was using my best "fuck off and die" vibes to keep anybody from tagging me while yelling "ELEPHANT!"

    I'm actually laughing so hard I have tears. I really hope they decide to scratch this for my class. It kind of reminded me of Allie from Hyperbole and a Half... I can just see your day being summarized by her comic strips!