So you’ve just made one of the biggest decisions of your life; in the fall you’ll be a Hoosier at Indiana University! Congratulations! Now that you’ve said YesToIU, you can power through your finals, celebrate High School graduation and look forward to your orientation as an incoming freshman.
For me, my orientation was only two days after my graduation. I had only been to the IU campus twice (even though I live in Indy) and I remember being nervous/excited/anxious to see what I was getting myself into. Would I get lost on the huge campus? Would I make friends? What if I look terrible in my Student ID picture and the camera man doesn’t tell me and I have to live with it for the rest of my IU career? (Okay that one really did happen…)
Anyway, orientation at IU is a great experience that will ease some of the nerves you may be feeling, while at the same time getting you pumped to become an IU student!
Orientation consists of group tours, staying overnight in the Union Street Apartments, free food, academic advising and time to hang out with other future IU students. This is a great opportunity to make new friends, and learn about some of IU’s history and traditions that make our campus so unique. However, you shouldn’t feel super pressured to become best friends with your orientation group. I didn’t become close with anyone in my group – and I ended up making a ton of new friends during my freshman year! It will also be interesting to see just how diverse your orientation group is. I remember students coming from California and Florida as well as coming from oversees for their orientation.
The most popular questions you will be asked by others at orientation are these three – what is your name, where are you from, and what is your major. These are pretty basic and you will get these three questions all the time from people you meet here at IU! Don’t be afraid if you aren’t exactly sure what you want to major in yet! Being undecided is NOT a bad thing at all. I came to IU as an undecided major and I would find myself answering “I’m undecided but I’m interested in this and this…” just so people got an idea of my academic interests without me having to commit to a defined major.
Speaking of majors, you will be making your first semester schedule of classes during your academic advising appointment. Also remember to complete your Academic Planning Worksheet before meeting your advisor! It can also be helpful to search for the current list of course descriptions on IU’s FYE (First Year Experience) page to see what courses interest you.
When scheduling classes, it is important to keep a few things in mind. There are some General Education courses that everyone at IU has to take. These include W131, a math class, four semesters of a foreign language or two culture classes (depending on your major), and two courses from the A&H, S&H, N&M categories. After you plan around some of the basic requirements you should start to look for similarities between your major plans. You notice that intro Psychology class is required for your major AND counts for an N&M credit? That’s awesome! Make some more connections like that and you are well on your way to becoming an expert schedule planner.
Another huge thing to remember about planning classes is the time and location of the class as well as the professor. It’s helpful to have a tab open of map of campus and ratemyprofessor.com while scheduling classes. However take some comments with a grain of salt and know that it can be hard to tell a bad professor from a bitter student.
You should also keep in mind your habits while scheduling. If you aren’t an early riser you might not want an 8am that meets three times a week. If you don’t like walking up intense stairs you may want to carefully contemplate your Ballantine class on the third floor.
Be careful – people may tell you that “you can get anywhere from one building to another in 15 minutes!” this is NOT TRUE! You will regret it once you see you planned a class from Union Street to Swain West in a 15 minute walk. IU’s campus is beautiful but it is HUGE! Don’t be upset if you have to wait to take a class or two because the timing/location didn’t work out with the rest of your schedule.
Remember, orientation is a new experience and nobody expects you to know everything about college life. Have fun and take it easy – you only have one college orientation!
All in all, orientation is going to be a learning experience that is all about making the transition from high school to college a little easier. Get excited and I wish you fellow Hoosiers the best of luck!