Who Will You Be at Orientation?

At many institutions of higher education summer orientation is in full swing. Transfer students and new first year students are roaming around campus wondering if they are near their destination, how they will ever figure out all these buildings and classrooms, and are anxiously anticipating if they might meet the student who will be their roommate or new best friend!

Yesterday, I started training student leaders for a pre-orientation special event we host for students and their guests in our program. One part of the training included brainstorming the types of students we are going to meet at these events. The list includes:
* anxious and fearful
* shy and uncomfortable
* overwhelmed and stressed
* know-it-all’s who are too cool for this
and a few other adjectives.

Then we brainstormed how they, individually as as student leaders, and we, as a team, will manage the emotions these students and guests (i.e. parents) share with us. We recognize these are emotions you are facing going into this event, those adjectives might not describe you in “regular” life.

Students, and family member(s), as you prepare for orientation, think about how you want to present yourself.¬†Are you going to be the ‘know-it-all’ who has two siblings who already graduated from here, and you don’t understand why you need to attend orientation since you already know everything, and already have a course schedule prepared? Are you going to be so antsy from spending the past five hours in the car on the drive to the campus, that you can’t sit still and be respectful to the presenters? Are you going to be so overwhelmed that each time someone asks you a question, you say ‘I don’t know, this is all new to me.’ and not attempt to listen attentively enough to make your own, informed decision?

We recommend you go into orientation with an open mind and listening ears. Please don’t be pompous and demeaning to the student leaders and professional staff. Please don’t be frustrated and angry toward the people who don’t have your transcript. (FYI: you sent your transcript and exam scores to the Admissions office, not directly to your orientation leader!) Be friendly to new students. Ask them why they chose to apply here, and what made them say “yes” to this school, and which residence hall or apartment, they are planning to live in, and have they decided on a major and why they are choosing it? These interactions will make your orientation experience a positive one. Most importantly, have fun!!

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