Last week we sort of left off towards the end of orientation week, and this week marks the third installment of a general description of how things are going to go down once you’re at Colby. After you’ve gotten all your fun orientation shenanigans over, you have two things left before classes actually start: First Class, and COOT. First Class isn’t really too big of a deal, you go with the other freshmen from your dorm and basically go to a model class at Colby. Generally, this goes along the lines of talking with your professor, getting a sense of the college lecture hall or classroom atmosphere, and kind of seeing the polarity between high school and college. (And believe me, you’ll see a ton of these differences – very, very quickly) Additionally you usually get an assignment to do, which I would highly recommend doing (pretty much everyone does, and it’s pretty embarrassing if you don’t – not to mention not a great way to start off college!) – but it isn’t graded or anything and isn’t too big of a deal. If anything, the First Class program really just sobers you up for the first week of classes and kind of gets your mind in the right setting.
Well, I guess that isn’t completely true – if First Class gets you in the right mind set, it certainly doesn’t last for long. COOT takes place that weekend and sweeps all those academic worries away. Colby is pretty well known for it’s COOT program, and as I remember as a perspective student I knew all about it way before I ever even knew I was going to come to Colby. But, for the sake of any of you out there who are unfamiliar with it, I’ll give you a quick rundown. COOT is an outdoor wilderness program that is designed to bring your incoming class closer together and create as tight as possible of an atmosphere for the next four years – and believe me when I say it does this very, very well. Being thrown into different parts of Maine for three days with ten to fifteen other freshmen you barely know allows for very tight bonding experiences that last for a long time. It depends on the person and the COOT, of course, but for most students if you don’t find new friends from your COOT experience, you at least have a group of people that you’re comfortable talking with. And, most of the time COOTs continue to hang out over the course of the year. (And even into the next year)
In terms of what actually goes on in COOT, I think that’s something that you should be left to find out. Pretty much all I’m going to say is that it’s awesome and a ton of fun – generally you have a “cross COOT” that you meet up with halfway throughout the trip so you have another group of people with which to do various activities. (Usually taking the form of sabotaging each others groups) There are a variety of different kinds of COOTs, which you sign up for over the summer – these include rock climbing, whitewater rafting, canoeing, and many, many more. I remember for my trip, it was in the middle of a hurricane and it was pouring rain most of the time – but that only brought us closer together.