College Success & Survival @ UNI


Orientation by alcdanielle
June 3, 2010, 11:00 am
Filed under: Freshmen | Tags: ,

From a Former Freshman

Whether you’re anticipating orientation or you’ve just finished it, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed. Don’t worry this happens to everyone. During orientation, you will most likely experience information overload. The best advice I can give you is to grab flyers and information sheets. While carrying a bunch of paper may not look all that attractive, these seemingly insignificant sheets will become life savers later on. During orientation, it is likely that you will only remember little bits of information. It is also likely that these bits of information will begin to combine until they no longer make any sense. This is where those handy flyers come in.

I would not look at them during the same week that orientation occurred. I would also not look at all of them at once. The best thing to do is to look at one or two of them every few days. By this time you will be able to comprehend all of the information and make a reasonable decision about it. If you don’t think it applies to you, then you can set it aside. However, if there is even the slightest part of you that thinks that the service or group may be of interest to you in the future, then KEEP the flyer! Put all of the important flyers in a folder and put this folder in a visible spot. You will want to take this folder with you to your residence hall! Then, when you think to yourself, “I know I’ve heard about this somewhere,” you can go back to the folder and consult these flyers. Believe me, there is a lot of valuable information there!

Since orientation might not prove to be as helpful as you had hoped, it will be a good idea to at least try to get familiar with campus while you are there. While the information from different services can be found on flyers and other various forms of media, how to navigate the campus is not. Sure, there are maps, but are those really that helpful when you probably don’t know North from South? Nothing can replace a guided tour when it comes to learning where everything is on campus. This tour may seem to go fast, and it might be confusing, but it will be helpful. Try to really concentrate on where buildings are in relationship to each other. This will dramatically help you when it comes to your first day of classes.

With all of that said, I wish you good luck!

From an Upper Classman

I can’t say I remember much about my orientation experience except that it went by in a blur of excitement and confusion. They’ll cover a lot of valuable information at orientation, but it’s all going to come at you like an information freight train, so don’t feel guilty if you can’t instantly recite the operating hours of the WRC on recall. Rather than trying to absorb everything at once (trust me, you can’t), here are a couple tips for getting the most out of your orientation experience:

Connect with your orientation group! I’m still good friends with many of the people I met on my orientation date; you’re sharing all these new experiences at once, so don’t be afraid to get to know your future classmates! They can be an excellent resource for you during and after orientation, and it always helps to recognize a few friendly faces on campus once classes start. So talk to the people in your session, participate in the planned evening activities if you’re staying overnight in the dorms, and, above all, don’t sit alone in your room all night playing Space Invaders. Force yourself to go out and connect with your fellow Panthers—you don’t have to become instant best friends, but beginning college with a network of your peers will make the whole process much easier and enjoyable for you.

When it comes to signing up for classes, start planning for graduation now. I know, I know, you’re just starting college; you don’t even want to think about what your life’s going to be like four years from now. But in order to stay on track for graduation, you’ve got to start planning your very first semester. And for most people, this means taking more
than the bare minimum of credit hours a semester. Know your major already? Grab the degree requirements, combine this with the hours needed to complete the liberal arts core, and work with your academic advisor to figure out exactly how many credit hours you’ll need to take a semester to stay on track. Rule of thumb: it’s always better to sign up for more credit hours than you think you might want, giving yourself the freedom to drop a class if you need to. And it never hurts to try to finish your degree requirements early: as you take more classes, you might want to pick up a minor or take a class in something you never knew interested you!

Lastly, pick a focal point to guide you through the orientation process. Like I said before, you’re not going to remember everything you learn at orientation. So go in with just one or two topics in mind that you really want to know more about and focus on these to keep from getting overwhelmed. Interested in extracurricular activities? Talk to a rep from your club or student organization of choice. Want to know more about residence life? Meet an RA or RLC from your residence hall. Just want to focus on academics? Work with your advisor and come up with a plan of study for your freshman year. And remember, you don’t have to pick a major right away! Take a few classes in a variety of disciplines, and you may just discover something new that you love. With that said, good luck, and have a great time during orientation!

From a Professor

Orientation is meant to give you all the information you need to transition smoothly to college life. However, you will soon come to realize that Academic Advising is your best friend. You will not remember everything from orientation. We know that. That is when Academic Advising becomes such a valuable resource. Go there first with any questions you have about your schedule or major. They also train PAIRS to guide you and answer questions for you in your residence hall. Professors can also help you and direct you to find the answers you need. Even if we don’t have the answers, we can help you find the person who does have the answers. And, don’t be afraid to ask questions. In fact, be prepared to feel somewhat lost and confused for the first few weeks on campus. That is very normal—but, you should also know that the fastest way to feel comfortable is to ask questions, make connections, and get involved. This is where all of those flyers come in handy. They will point you to places to meet people and find the resources you need. So, visit the tables at the Student Services Fair. Sign up for workshops in the Reading & Learning Center. They are designed to help you transition from high school to college-level courses. And the best part—they are already included in your tuition and do not require outside of class work and preparation. They are designed to help you with the readings, papers, and assignments you already have. Stay connected through this blog and our Facebook page. If you remember that being a student is now your full-time job, you are sure to succeed!

From a Parent

As a parent, I am thinking about ALL the things my children will need in college. Orientation was VERY informative. We’re getting all the supplies they need to succeed in college: the laptop, the books, etc.   But I’m really nervous that even if I give them all the supplies they need to succeed, they’ll have questions at some point in the semester and be too afraid, shy, or clueless to ask.  I remember when I was in college; I wish I would have thought to go to my advisor or admissions to ask for direction when I had a sticky situation.  I hope my children will inquire if they have questions about their financial assistance. I hope they will call advising when they have questions about their major. I hope they will go to the tutoring centers when they have to write their papers, need to prepare for a math test, or when they need help understanding the reading in science.  I hope they ask for help when they need to get their grade up a few points.  Yes, we went on the tours and talked to various people on campus and got a lot of literature, which was helpful, but I’m hoping that my college students will remember that there is someplace to go on campus for help, assistance, or encouragement.  I’m really happy that there are so many resources available on campus to help my college students, and they’re at my children’s finger tips, right there on the school website. As a parent, I paid a lot of attention in Orientation and kept the materials handy.  So, if I notice that my children have concerns or if they ask for my advice, I can step in and guide them to the right service on campus.

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