New Student Orientation: the day it all begins!
Okay, that may sound cheesy and maybe it’s not the day it all begins but, it is certainly a big step towards the new adventure that is college. During this two day span, you meet new classmates, try new dining hall food, learn new Rutgers cheers, get new Rutgers gear and, most importantly, begin to shape who you will be for the next four years and ever after. My NSO (New Student Orientation) was a week ago and I’m still beaming with excitement for what lies ahead. To anyone who is feeling nervous, excited or anywhere in between about college or orientation, this post is for you. Maybe you have a lot of questions about what goes on at NSO, or maybe you just want to learn a little bit more about what that schedule you saw online entails. To anyone who hasn’t yet started college or attended an orientation session, the information below will hopefully give you a better idea of what is to come during your two days of orientation.
First things first, you check in. But, if you’re anything like me and have a tendency to arrive unnecessarily early to every event, you’ll have some spare time before check-in begins. During this time, I was able to get my RUID photo taken and the ID printed. I was lucky enough to meet my roommate for the school year, whom I had only priorly talked to on messaging apps, on my way to get my photo taken. While on the topic of photos, now would be a good time to explain why mine is extra cringe-worthy. The day before orientation I went to get my eyebrows waxed and, unfortunately, it ended in way too small eyebrows and comically large scabs on my face but, if I can get through orientation with that, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
Anyway, after getting my ID then walking back to the apartment buildings, I was able to check in. Although long lines can be dreadful, waiting in the line that had formed for check-in turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to socialize and meet new friends. And once you reach the end of the line, more new friends await to be met in your apartment!
After checking in, the day goes pretty quickly. I met my orientation group, watched a few videos, learned some new things about Rutgers and ate at the dining hall. During the first day of my orientation, we took a tour of the College Avenue campus and rode the bus to get there. On the bus, the orientation leaders led us in a Rutgers chant and I highly suggest that if you are given the opportunity to take part in it, you do so. If you aren’t excited at that point in your orientation, the chant will definitely get you feeling some Scarlet Pride! Here are some pictures of my orientation group during our tour of the College Avenue campus:
After the tour, we ate dinner in the dining hall where there were tons of delicious options. I tend to be a very picky eater and I was able to find quite a few things I liked so, that helped to settle some of my nerves about the upcoming school year. Another thing I noticed was that the dining hall staff is very friendly. My orientation leader told us that it’s always good to try to make friends with a dining hall staff member so I will certainly try to do so once the school year rolls around.
Following dinner, there is more to learn about Rutgers and the many ways to get involved at the school. There is also time allotted for meal packaging, in which orientation groups individually package lunches for children who may otherwise go without. It was definitely a great way to kick off the community service that I and many students I met hope to be a part of at Rutgers.
As day turns to night, the most fun part of orientation begins: social! During social, followed by late night programing, I met so many new people, got to better know my roommate for the school year whom I had met earlier in the day and danced the night away. If I can offer any advice, it would be to go to social. At least walk around for a bit and give it a try. I can’t imagine my orientation experience without it and it made me even more excited for the school year to begin.
After social, comes late night programming. There’s a lot of options for how to spend this time period and I opted for karaoke. After singing “Superbass” by Nicki Minaj with my new girl friends, I had so much fun cheering on others and singing along until the programming ended. After the programming came to and end, my roommates for the night, a few other girls who came in our apartment to hang out and I were able to get to know each other better over some card games. It was a great ending to an awesome day and as I laid in my sleeping bag (which, from what I heard from others, turned out to be a much comfier choice than sheets and a blanket because of the added padding) I couldn’t wait for the next morning!
Just as the first had, the second day of orientation flew by! After breakfast in the dining hall, there’s a few presentations about life at Rutgers, campus security and other Rutgers related topics. The one that stood out the most to me was “Language Matters”, a presentation all about how the words you use effect people around you and, therefore, your campus and the whole Rutgers community. Important areas, such as pronouns and micro-aggressions, are discussed in the presentation and, after, there is the opportunity to discuss any related matters with your orientation group. After that comes lunch in the dining hall, followed by an important play put on by SCREAM theatre about sexual violence. The rest of the day is filled with smaller sessions and, lastly, there is a closing ceremony with the opportunity to win Rutgers gear. After the closing ceremony, you return to your apartment to get your luggage and, after some goodbyes and lots of “See you in the fall!”s, you’re on your way home.
I find it hard to believe how quickly orientation went by. I met so many new, friendly people and made so many great memories. There was never a dull moment because, even in the downtime between activities, someone in the group would have a new game to play or my orientation leader would have a fun fact about Rutgers to share with us to generate discussion. Maybe you’re thinking “sure, you had a great experience but what if I don’t have as great of an orientation group, as fun of an orientation leader or make new friends?” Trust me, you will. Yes, I was lucky to have an amazing orientation leader and group but, looking around throughout the two days, I didn’t see a single person who didn’t look like they were having fun. It would be impossible to leave orientation without making at least one new friend. It would be even more difficult to leave orientation without fun memories and excitement for the new school year.
As I sat in my chair watching the Rutgers videos, as I danced in the circle during social, as I joined in Rutgers cheers and as I learned more and more about Rutgers, I realized something: I made the right choice. One of the toughest choices during senior year is what you’ll do after high school but, feeling such certainty after orientation is a beautiful thing and I hope that you will feel the same. At orientation, I made memories I will never forget with people I am so excited to spend the next four years with. I’m going to be honest, I was nervous for orientation (especially having had my eyebrow mishap the day before) and I’m sure I’ll be nervous for the start of the school year but, I know there are great things coming and I can’t wait for them to begin!