New Student Orientation began this week and for those of you that have not gone yet, I just wanted to share some tips and things I learned during my Orientation last year.
1. Be prepared! This doesn't just mean making sure you have the right clothing for the weather and plenty of water to keep you hydrated while you're walking around in the hot sun all day, it also means be prepared as in knowing what classes you want to take or at least have some idea. Everyone has a personal appointment with an advisor and while most of them are pretty helpful, some of them are not, however they are very busy with lots of students so they will definitely appreciate it if you come prepared! Everyone has to take the same General-Education requirements no matter your major is, so you could keep those in mind when planning your schedule. The advisor will make you do a mock schedule and then once you're done with that, you go to the library and can register for classes. If you have a good idea of which classes you want to take then the shorter the process will be with the advisor and then you can register sooner. Also it's a good idea to have a lot of different options because the classes you might want could fill up. Also you might have to compromise on bad start times or location of your classes, but you can always keep tweaking your schedule throughout the summer. This link below was very helpful for me in learning about what the Gen-Ed requirements where and what classes would count for them. Even though there are specific requirements, there's a lot of different class choices and some of them can be pretty interesting.
2. Be friendly! Maybe you will meet your best friend at Orientation or maybe you won't, but there's no harm in being friendly right? You will meet a lot of people at Orientation and who knows you could meet people that will be eventually living in your dorm or that you have a class with. At the least, its someone to hang out with during the day and to do the optional activities with. When you go to Orientation, you have the option of staying the night in a dorm room. You can sign up to room with a friend, or they will just assign you a random roomie for the night. I stayed in a hotel with my parents, but I participated in all of the optional late night activites they had like a tour of the SRSC (the rec center) and the late night campus walk.
3. Get a feel for campus! Orientation is a good time to walk around campus and Kirkwood and get a feel for campus. Sure, it will feel different when there's over 40,000 students walking around, but you will experience all that during Welcome Week. For Orientation though, campus is pretty much dead so it's a good time to explore the union, walk through the arboretum and go shopping on Kirkwood. There's coupons for a lot of the shops in your orientation packet so stock up on lots of IU spirit wear! Also many of the dorms will be open for tours so if you have free time you can stop by and check out your dorm. (Your orientation packet will tell you which dorms do this). You will get to see a sample room and get some insider facts about your new home away from home. They also give you coupons (for you and your parents) to eat free in the Wright Quad so that's a good way to experience how the dining halls work and what kind of food they serve.
4. Be aware of the the ID picture! You will get an official Indiana University ID card on the second day of Orientation which is where they take your picture. Be aware of this so you can look good. Honestly no one really looks at your ID, but kids love to compare each other's pics so you want to have a good one right? That picture will be on your ID card forever unless you lose it or want a replacement and a bad picture can ruin your college experience before it even starts (JK, not really!). Also just a hint wearing your ID card on a lanyard around your neck is a total freshmen move, wisened older students can spot a freshmen a mile away just based on if their wearing a lanyard or not. But, your first year your ID is like your life, it has your meal points and Campus Access money and for some dorms it's your key to your building and room. After you get it, put it in a safe place and try not to lose it!
While some parts of Orientation maybe be boring and possibly a waste of time, just remember that it is an integral part of beginning your college experience at IU. This program has been going on since the dark ages so it has to work, right? Go with the flow and take advantage of the opportunities to learn about your new college. I hope these tips help you have the best Orientation experience possible and one last thing: Sign up for Basketball season tickets, you won't regret it!