Finding yOur hOme: What tO expect during OrientatiOn

When you think of the phrase “freshman orientation” what do you think of? Maybe your initial reaction is excitement thinking of all the fun “get to know you” games that are played? Or, for some of you, even the thought of orientation is enough to make you want to crawl under a rock. Everyone has a different feeling about orientation, but I promise you it isn’t as intimidating or scary as it may seem! For me, orientation changed my life- and I am so, so excited to share with y’all why I’m so passionate about it. 

Coming into freshman year there are a lot of unknowns. You may be in a new city, a new state, even a brand new country– away from everything you know and love. Everyone craves the feeling of belonging or feeling like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. Whether this is joining a club or organization, making friends with your hall mates, or even creating a bond with your professors, we all actively search for this sense of belonging. Luckily, Furman does an exceptional job of making this feeling a reality very early on in the freshman experience– during orientation. 

Orientation is seriously so, so fun!

At Furman, we have a summer orientation experience that the freshmen attend before the fall semester. During a typical summer orientation (pre-Covid), there would be several sessions the freshmen could pick from spread out through the month of June. During their designated session, they would travel to Greenville and spend the night on Furman’s campus while learning about all facets of campus life, meeting with their advisor, and most importantly, forming those initial connections with their classmates!  I met my very best friend in my summer orientation group and a sorority sister of mine met her fiancee in her group– you just never know! 

I love summer orientation for a multitude of reasons. First, you’re able to be on campus in a much less overwhelming environment, as only about 150 freshmen attend each orientation session. Second, you’re more confident coming to campus in the fall knowing you’ve already spent the night in the dorms, you know where the cereal is in the DH, and have a general idea of where the academic buildings are. Third, you have an in person meeting with your advisor to chat about scheduling, questions, and a general overview of what you are wanting to get out of your four years both academically and personally. I loved being able to sit with my advisor in person because I just know I would’ve felt so lost if I had to pick my classes myself for my first semester.

Side note: I was a summer orientation leader the summer after my freshman year and Y’ALL. O staff is truly and honestly some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my entire life. I wish I could properly verbalize just how special my experience was, but it was everything I could’ve ever hoped for. I was able to connect with so many incoming freshmen– even two years later I’m still close with many of them! As O leaders it is our job to make sure all of our incoming students feel welcomed, appreciated, and valued, and I think we were able to do just that. I’m smiling as I’m writing this blog- I would do anything to go back and relive Summer 2019. 

Madison was my orientation leader at summer o! She is one of the reasons I really wanted to be a leader myself

After summer orientation, you’ll go home until August when you will attend fall orientation. Similar to summer orientation, this experience kicks off on your move in day and goes throughout the first week of class. Fall orientation is definitely different than summer o- mostly because the groups are bigger and there’s more to do. I encourage you to not let yourself get too overwhelmed- I know it is SO easy to do, but stressing yourself out isn’t going to do any good. If you start to feel this happening, reach out to your o leaders- I pinky promise we will do anything to help you out to the best of our ability!

I hope that this blog post has eased your nerves about orientation! I just know you will have the best time- I am so looking forward to this next season of orientation. I simply cannot believe after three great orientations this will be my fourth and final one!

I hope you have a happy week full of everything that makes you happy!

Alex

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