By the Time You Read This with Maude and Dory: Post-Pre-Orientation Programs

Design by Alexa Druyanoff

The Yale Fall 2022 semester began on Wednesday, September 7, kicking off another year for undergraduate students. Multiple administrative changes promise to make this academic year one of firsts. As was announced last January, Former Dean of Students Marvin Chun has stepped down from the position and has been replaced by Pericles Lewis, a former Yale professor of Comparative Literature and English.

Yet another new development comes in the form of first-year pre-orientation, now called Camp Yale (CY). As many upperclassmen experienced upon their own matriculation, Yale undergraduates are offered an array of Camp Yale Programs (CYPs) which allow them to form social connections before their traditional orientation program. Last year, it was announced that Camp Yale Programs (CYPs), which previously required a fee to attend, would be both free and mandatory. First years must now make a choice between six Camp Yale Programs (CYPs): BUILD, FOCUS, Cultural Connections (CC), FOOT, Harvest (H), and Orientation for International Students (OIS). 

“I had such a great time at FOCUS and orientation, and I’m so glad that they made it mandatory. I don’t think I would have done it otherwise. I really feel like I’ve met a good group of friends,” said Tammy Jones (ES ’26).

Following the close of Camp Yale (CY), Dean of Student Affairs Melanie Boyd—purportedly euphoric over the success of the six pre-orientation programs—announced that the start of the Fall 2022 semester would be immediately pushed back a week in favor of new mandatory post-pre-orientation programs. Students must now choose between two week-long programs (spanning from August 31 to September 6) which will deepen the connections that first year students began to form at Camp Yale (CY). 

The first, SHIFT (Scavenger Hunt in Fowntown Tew-haven), encourages students to explore the city where they will live for the next four years. 

SHIFT students were divided into teams and given a list of historic New Haven sights, notable Yale social hubs, and important nearby community centers. Students were encouraged to visit new places and get to know members of the greater New Haven community, while competing to see who could find every item on the list in the shortest amount of time. The winning group, captained by Ryan Liu (TD ’26), was lauded in a celebration ceremony on September 6.

The second post-pre-orientation program option, SGABJTTWTFTMSOEIAAMNF (Salovey’s Great and Big Journey Through the Wilderness to Find the Mythical Source of Emotional Intelligence and also Make New Friends) sends students on a quest through the Lovecraftian hills of Connecticut to capture the Orb. In preparation, students first spend two days studying the blade and learning to dodge earthly snares of the flesh. First years participating in SGABJTTWTFTMSOEIAAMNF were given Yale-branded water bottles, navy blue PopSockets, and an Orb-identifying amulet. Students then boarded coach buses which dropped them in cohorts at strategically significant locations in the nearby foothills.

Following a breakneck race to capture the Orb, SGABJTTWTFTMSOEIAAMNF participants were encouraged to engage It in battle within a nightmarish mindscape, composed of non-Euclidean geometric shapes and what could only be described as hellfire. Those who survived the ordeal were permitted to exit this mindscape and were given an edible, compacted cube of emotional intelligence as a reward. Upon their return to campus, each student was allowed to choose one Yale administrator with whom they returned to the dream realm and conducted an Empath-Off (EO). The two participants then attempted to best each other using pure thought and melee weapons.

Upon their return to campus, first-year students and upper-classmen alike lauded the  post-pre-orientation programs (P2OP), with more than 85% of surviving students rating their P2OP four stars or above when asked to review their experience in a Herald survey. 

Despite the success of the programs, scattered complaints have criticized SGABJTTWTFTMSOEIAAMNF for an unusually high death toll and a lack of gluten-free snacks.

We asked Charlotte Ramsey (MY ’26) about her experience participating in the program: “I really enjoyed learning precise battle formations exactly calculated to confuse and overcome enemies both mortal and otherwise. It was definitely more exciting than FOOT. I guess it could have been a little safer, is my only issue. When we entered the Orb’s clearing, I accidentally stabbed my friend Enzo through the heart with a dagger meant for Pelonius the Many-Hooved. It was honestly pretty brutal. And they never had gluten-free snacks.” 

Needless to say, the Fall 2022 semester has begun on a high note. First years, energized and enriched by their Camp Yale (CY) and P2OP experience, have begun to breathe new life into the hallowed halls of Yale University. 

The Herald would like to add one important postscript. The morning of this issue’s publication, it was announced that Peter Salovey would also be stepping down to be replaced by Tony Thompson (BK ’26), who—using the Orb—effectively outmaneuvered him in the empath battle phase of SGABJTTWTFTMSOEIAAMNF. Effective October 1, Mr. Thompson will be the new head of Yale University. Mr. Thompson released a statement on Friday in which he said, “I haven’t written a paper or taken an exam yet, but I’m excited to be the new President of one of the most esteemed colleges in the world.” The Herald would like to wish Mr. Thompson the best of luck in his new position.

But of course, by the time you read this, everything might be different.

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