On-boarding, kool-aid, and my hippy daughter

I’ve both alluded and blatantly talked about the fact that my daughter is heading off into to that scary place we call the real world to pursue post-secondary education. 

I am both excited and nervous for her, but at least she’s heading to a place that had the decency to put together a solid on-boarding package, even if it’s a bit whacked.

Lately, I’ve taken to saying that she’s not really going to school, but joining a cult.

Okay, that may seem like an exaggeration, but if you had to sit through meal time after meal time listening to detail after frickin detail about the school, the classroom, the curriculum, the reading material, Ina May, the other students, the Facebook page the students have put together, the potluck they are already planning for Orientation week outside of classroom….well, then the word “brainwashed” and zealot come to mind.

In fact, the absolutely reverence with which my daughter informed me that one of her fellow students has actually visited The Farm made me stop and think about where the hell we were sending her. 

Now, anyone who knows me or who has read at least two of my blog posts will know that communal farms are not my thing.  In fact, communal anything that potentially threatens my personal space is not my thing. I certainly didn’t put this idea into her head.  

To clarify, she isn’t going to The Farm, she’s going to a midwifery school attended by people who have gone to The Farm.  We are supportive, but not THAT supportive.

But this isn’t about me.  This is about how my daughter, already passionate about a career that she hopes to do, is being welcomed in by an institution and by people that share this.  For a kid who has never been away from home longer than two weeks and who is making the gargantuan leap of moving from Canada to the US to live and study on her own this welcome is so important.

She will be the youngest student in the class, she will be living away from home, and she will be adjusting to not having teachers and parents nudging her along.  She is nervous and scared (as she should be), but at the same time, she has been reassured by the fact that the school has been sending out information regularly (when they said they would), providing clear expectations, and helping her connect with her fellow students.  In fact, she has already been Facebook-ing, emailing, and even had a call from people that were complete strangers, but within minutes they found their common ground.

I know there are a lot of programs out there that people and businesses find onerous and of little value.  It is a pain in the ass to put together packages and contacting with people who you aren’t yet working with – I mean, we all have work to do, right.  But if you stop and consider what it means to the new person – what impact it will make and how much easier and more reassuring their first few days will be.  Then you might think differently.

I’m not suggesting that you treat your organization and its on-boarding like a cult, but you may want to consider serving a little kool-aid when you meet the new guy or gal.

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