By Paulina Tejada ’25
There were many aspects of freshmen orientation that made it a memorable time for all of us first years. There was a mixed bag of fun activities, information, and new friendships. Even though many people could say that through orientation they forged new bonds with their peers, there seemed to be a disconnect between the time that we as first years were afforded to go about personal activities, there was no time for anything outside of orientation. This was the biggest downfall and ended up impacting the experience that most first-years had. It turned an experience from an enjoyable, light-hearted experience, to one that pushed people to dread having so many activities in one day.
Beginning with the first time you step on campus, the anxiety-ridden first year is only given about an hour to unpack their room, and then it was off to the first activity to meet with your designated group. While some students believed that they were given enough time to get their spaces situated, others believed that more time was necessary to properly unpack. While the time to unpack varies from person to person, it can be overwhelming to rush through your unpacking to be able to arrive on time for your activity. The experience of interacting with the peers on your floor through your OM group was a positive one for most. The one complaint that seemed to be the same across the board was that there should have been more of a variety of people first-year’s had around them. Some students wished they had the opportunity to make their friends outside of the group they had been placed in, while others found the consistency useful in making new friends.
By the time that we finished the first day, some people looked back at the day to see that it was parentless. While it is necessary to create the aura of independence on the “first day of college”, some students wished they had been afforded more time with their family members. Instead of having a rushed goodbye at the end of the opening ceremony, there would have been at least an hour where parents could properly process their emotions with their child. The day for parents and students looked completely different, so after unpacking their child’s dorm they had to spend the day without them. Yet, students worked around this issue by going on a small dinner with their parents to spend some quality time with them.
After the first day, orientation took the same route by staying pretty consistent on one aspect; always having an activity to do. While some students did say that this impeded on time that they wished they had to partake in personal activities, others enjoyed having the schedule to distract them from the drastic change that they were going through. Always having the option to go out and partake in a fun activity was ideal for students who felt homesick after the first couple of days on campus.
There were many options for nightly activities that were thoroughly enjoyed by the student body. Students’ favorite night seemed to be tied between the hot air balloon and the food trucks. They were exhilarated by the opportunity to soar above the clouds, and it helped that it gave you the best view of our beautiful campus. The food trucks allowed for some choice when it came to what you wanted to eat. According to one of the students I interviewed, the PB and J truck was immaculate. On top of having options at night, there were small activities in between the bigger ones that were uplifting during times when the schedule would pile up. Snow cones after a long presentation are a great example of a small touch.
While orientation fostered many different emotions for each student, we can all agree that the best part was the amazing performance of “Let it Go” by our school’s president.