Everyone has had to go to many boring, supposedly helpful, seminars or workshops. I thought that once I graduated from high school I would be free of infuriating workshops that were not only underprepared but also useless. I thought going to college meant that I would find myself in the “harsh real world” my teachers always warned me about. Instead of being treated like the adult I now officially am, I feel like a middle school student. The University seems to assume I have no knowledge as to how the world works.
I knew that as a freshman the University would try to ease my transition into my new life. College is an extreme adjustment, and I don’t fault the University for trying to educate me about new experiences and situations I could be exposed to. While I hated taking the alcohol education lesson online, and while the acting in the show was terrible, it was at least well executed and did give me a few bits of information I did not already know. This cannot be said about the Relationship Remix workshop — a new workshop implemented by SAPAC to discuss sexual consent — I was required to attend as a freshman.
This workshop was not interesting, useful, funny or engaging. The leaders of the workshop read off pieces of paper. The questions were obvious and basic about relationships — things that anyone smart enough to get into the University would already know. The leaders proposed questions like “What is consent?” and “How could you keep a friend from being pressured to have sex?” After the leaders read these questions word for word, they looked for raised hands, but because no one in the group of 50 bored freshmen was Hermione Granger, hands remained at people’s sides. After a minute of silence one of two things would happen: One nice freshman, who could not stand the silence, usually me, would give the obvious answer, or one of the leaders would read their response off the papers.
Worse than that is the role-playing we were forced to do with complete strangers. We had to practice asking for consent, saying no and graciously accepting it. When we were given the three situations, most people took it as a joke or did not do the activity at all. And who can blame them? Sitting in a lounge pretending to hit on a complete stranger is not only uncomfortable, but unrealistic and purposeless.
Most high school students have had the experiences of being pursued by an unwanted pursuer, and most have learned to deal with it. They did not need a workshop then, and I am sure they don’t need one now. This workshop also comes almost three months into school. Three months of parties have surely taught students how to give and receive rejections. And I’m sure most students have had “relationships” before coming to college.
If the University is going to make these events mandatory it should at least put in the time to make them something that could at least be somewhat helpful. The University prides itself on being leaders, and as freshmen we have been told that we are now part of that group, so why does it continue to treat us like naïve children?
Jesse Klein is an LSA freshman.