Orientation Week the Freshman Perspective

By Zach Backas ‘16

My freshman orientation week was an absolute whirlwind of activity.  I got my first tastes of the exhaustion and excitement in a typical Webb day after the trips to New York and Six Flags and, especially, Dean Emeritus Compton’s drawing class.  My class and I were kept busy with the packed orientation schedule, and the scarcity of free time placed an immediate value upon it.  In the few unencumbered moments we had, I strove to recognize my newfound situation.  

I found that the first week at Webb is the best time to appreciate what everyone here eventually takes for granted.  Alongside the aches and pains associated with climbing three stories of creaking wooden stairs at least four times a day, I often awoke with a neck sore from craning top-to-bottom of each high-ceilinged hall.  The priceless half-hulls, portraits, models, and memorabilia that adorn nearly every wall are often brushed off by the harried upperclassmen, but as a first-week-freshman, I found it simply respectful to read the inscriptions and admire the dimensions of these Webb relics.  I took time to bask in the reception room’s full wainscoted and wood-paneled glory, close my eyes and imagine the young Pratt children playing on the carpet as they would have a hundred years before.

Webb Institute has one of the most beautiful campuses and colorful histories of any college; it truly is one of the best kept secrets in academia.  The breathtaking views and meticulously tended grounds can be a sanctuary amidst the curricular rigor, however, as the upperclassmen have warned me, it doesn’t matter what the place looks like at 3:30 AM when you’re stuck on a thermo problem.