So now that you've been accepted to one of the best universities out there ( CONGRATULATIONS!!), and you've probably finished your housing applications, the next thing on your college to do list is to sign up for orientation!
I remember having so many questions about what orientation would be like and not being able to find any really solid explanation. So I'm going to try to help you guys out.
Orientation is a two day experience. Once you get to Bloomington, in all of your bubbling excitement and nervousness, you check in and are split into small orientation groups. My roommate and I signed up for the same orientation, and we were a little disappointed when we learned that we wouldn't be together, but it's okay! After the day's information sessions are over, you're able to do pretty much whatever you want (within reason of course).
^Me and Megan being typical freshmen and taking a picture
whenever something remotely exciting happens
Once you're split into groups, you start the day with some ice breakers, and then you spend all day going to different info sessions. You learn a lot of stuff the first day and are overwhelmed with a lot of information, so you're pretty brain dead by the time that it's over. Your parents/guardians spend the day the same way, but you're separated from them until the last session. They will be brain dead too. Once your group has gone to every info session, you head back to Union Street Center (an on campus apartment complex and also where I'll be living next year with my best friend, who is transferring!) and you're free to do whatever, like I said.
My favorite part of the day was the sexual consent musical skit, which is kept heavily under wraps so I won't really elaborate, but you'll know exactly what I'm talking about once it begins. Not only is it really funny, it's also a great way to inform students about consent and the importance of it. The songs will be stuck in your head for the next few days, fair warning!
After our long, long day, Megan and I ended up settling into our apartment for a little bit, then we wandered around and got some Red Mango. There was a night tour of the campus that we ended up going on, and that was pretty cool. After the tour was over, we enjoyed some free Pizza X bread sticks and hung around with all of the other future students until we went back inside to call it a night.
So we're on the night tour, and we're feeling all cool and college kid like, and I realize that my dad has been trailing my tour group! It was actually pretty funny; I saw him and immediately said "oh my gosh, there's my dad!" All of the other students thought it was funny and kind of endearing, and my tour leader (who was incredibly attractive, adding to my slight embarrassment) asked me what his name was and then said that he would invite him along and make him feel cool. I of course said hi to my dad and then told him to stop following us hahah. It was a really funny moment, and it's one thing I always think of when I think about orientation.
^Me shaking Herman B. Wells' hand (part of the night tour),
an IU tradition that is said to bring good luck!
The next day goes by pretty quickly. After getting breakfast on your own, you first go to have your ID picture taken, and then you meet with an advisor to talk about which classes you're going to take (this happened in Teter for me; I'm not sure if they change the locations though). Once you've done that and have a pretty clear course plan, you head to a computer lab (this was in Gresh for me) and you schedule your classes online. This was really incredibly hard/confusing for me because it's completely different from high school (you're scheduling your classes -- what time you want them to be, where you want them to be, and with which professor you choose) and it was hard because you aren't familiar enough with campus enough to know where the buildings are and how much time it takes to get from one building to another. I definitely recommend having a campus map handy while picking class times. There are also older students there to help you and answer any questions that you have.
After you've done these two things, that's the end of orientation! Before we left Bloomington, my dad and I, along with Megan and her dad, met up at Mother Bear's for some lunch. This is a little bit of a digression but MOTHER BEARS IS THE BEST PIZZA YOU WILL EVER CONSUME. Seriously, they're rated 4th in the nation for their pizza. You have to eat here. All the time. Really. The Big Cheese, the Comet, and Paulie's Pesto Pie are my favorite. There are so many pizzas that I have yet to try though!
^Me writing "Alyssa and Dad's booth, 6/27/14"
^The flying Pop Tart cat I spotted a few weeks ago
when my friend Lauren and I went to Mother Bear's
We left for home after that!
What I found was that I was thinking that orientation was going to be a blast and a huge bonding/friend making experience, and it really wasn't. The bulk of the time is spent listening to information sessions and scheduling classes. I'm not saying that it wasn't fun though, not at all! It was a good first time on campus experience for me, and it really helped me get more familiar with the layout of campus.
If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to leave a comment! I'll be happy to answer.