Johns Hopkins Gazette: September 6, 1994

By Sujata Massey

This week, as incoming undergraduates hurdle the frenzied
schedule that typically makes up freshman orientation,
seniors are going through the opposite process: Hopkins'
first-ever disorientation.
    Chris Drennen and Emilie Salama, student co-chairs of
"Disorientation '94," say the tongue-in-cheek title of their
two-and-a-half-day event refers to the good times of freshman
year, and the choices awaiting them as they leave Johns
Hopkins. Overall, the program is an ambitious attempt to
expand senior togetherness and get them mentally ready to
re-enter the outside world.
    "Before, Senior Week was just a week at the beach and a
walk across a stage in a black robe," said Salama, who is
secretary of the Homewood student council executive board.
"We are trying to reacquaint the senior class with each
other. After freshman orientation, classes split you up; then
it's the housing. This is a chance for the engineering majors
to reacquaint with biology majors."  
    Drennen, who serves as the faculty programs coordinator
for the student council, hopes the newly rebonded class will
be stimulated by Disorientation's dizzying array of seminars
on life and career choices. The seminars will be presented by
alumni and others whose careers range from novelist/lawyer to
music critic and restaurateur. 
    "A lot of people think there's just a single path, but
the alumni we are bringing in show there really is no
traditional path," Drennen said. "My single biggest dream is
that seniors realize there are a lot of options out there,
and they're not really limited in what they can do." 
    The idea for Disorientation was formed last spring
during meetings with former student council members and
administrators. The program will continue with more seminars
sprinkled throughout the year, and be capped off by the
traditional Senior Week, which includes a beach trip and
special campus activities.
    "This is the first time I've heard of a program like
this, and I'm hoping it becomes a Hopkins tradition," said
Larry Benedict, dean of Homewood student affairs. The program
will serve as an emotional boost and rallying point for the
senior class, he said.
    "All seniors share in both a sense of loss at graduation
and a sense of excitement at going on. There can be a letdown
senior year, because there is no formal rite of passage,"
Dean Benedict said. "We would like to offer a way to ease out
of school and address life issues."
    Seminars will cover the opportunities and pitfalls of
graduate school and specialized areas in the working world
such as law, health care, government, teaching and business.
Seminars of general interest will offer guidance on job
interviews, graduate school applications and resume
preparation. A financial planning seminar will cover
graduation's inevitabilities: paying for student loans and
health insurance.
    Social highlights of the week will be gatherings with
administrators and faculty for lunches and a barbecue dinner
in Decker Garden. On Thursday night students are invited to
the Baltimore Brewing Company, and Friday, the grand opening
of E-Level, the new student pub in Levering Hall, will be
    Dean Benedict said he is impressed because the
far-reaching program was entirely designed and organized by
    "At this point, it's shaping up to be a terrific event:
a way to explore alternative careers, alternative paths, and
learn how to deal with financial and other nitty-gritty
issues," he said.
    Seniors and other members of the Homewood community are
welcome to attend Disorientation events on a limited
reservation basis. For a schedule or to sign up, call

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