I Survived Freshman Orientation!!

On August 14, I attended Rutgers Freshman Orientation. The orientation I went to was a one-day program; unfortunately, because I was working at a sleepaway camp all summer, the overnight programs available did not fit with my schedule. I honestly didn’t know what I expected going in, but I definitely learned a lot about Rutgers by the time I left. And the free t-shirt certainly didn’t hurt 🙂

At the beginning of orientation, I got my ID Card (and my picture wasn’t totally awful!!) and walked around the Resource Fair, where I got brochures, pamphlets, and free stuff from booths about everything from the campus libraries to RUPA to mail services. It was a great opportunity to get information and ask questions. Then, we went outside and met our Orientation Leaders and the other people in our groups. My OL was really cool and funny, and I loved getting to know the other people in my group. One of the people was even from the town right next to mine, so it was nice to have that connection.

Afterwards, we went inside and were officially welcomed to Rutgers University!! I was actually surprised by how many people were there; I thought that maybe the orientations would be smaller because of how many orientation sessions there were, but nope, it was still a huge group. That just shows how huge the Class of 2021 is. Yikes. I can’t wait to finally get started and make that huge group feel smaller.During the first session of the day, I learned all about Rutgers and felt really welcomed into the community and the school that will be my home for the next four years. Our n

During the first session of the day, I learned all about Rutgers and felt really welcomed into the community and the school that will be my home for the next four years. The next session was about money and how to save money while in college. It was presented in a game show format, and while I wasn’t one of the people participating, it was still a lot of fun to watch. I could really feel the OLs’ energy while sitting in the crowd of people, and that helped a lot. Our final session before lunch was about either living on campus or commuting, depending on what each person planned to do during their freshman year. I personally am living on campus (Brett Hall!!), so that was the session I went to. I learned a lot of important information about moving in, about what to bring and what not to bring, and what to do if something in the room is broken or breaks. I also learned to prepare for fire drills, because it’s extremely important that we all know what to do in case of an emergency.

After a wonderful lunch in the dining hall with my group and my OL, we jumped right back in with more sessions. After all, we only had one day together, so we had to fit as much into that day as we possibly could. I learned how to get involved on campus and that this website called getINVOLVED is an essential part of that process. Next, we heard from Parking and Uniformed Services, and they told us about how to stay safe on campus. This was definitely one of the most important sessions out of the entire day. They told us to write down all of the serial numbers of our electronics so that if they’re ever stolen, it will help them get our stuff back to us. They also gave us the phone number to call when it’s not an emergency, but we still need help; for example, if we want an escort to walk back to the dorm with us at night so we’re not alone. I learned about the bus system, the rules about parking and keeping a car on campus (not that I have one now, but hey, it could come in handy later), and how to sign up for emergency text message alerts (which of course I did as soon as I got home). That session was extremely informative and very helpful.

The next few sessions were less logistical and more personal. We broke out into smaller groups to discuss why our language matters and how what we casually say can hurt others without us realizing it. Not only was the presentation done really well, but the discussion we had in our group was incredible. Hearing other people’s personal stories about how they were affected by some of the words discussed only cemented the effect of the presentation and emphasized its importance. Next, we returned to the large room to see a performance from SCREAM Theater, which informed us about sexual assault and how we can see the signs and take action to prevent it from happening to us and people who matter to us. We also learned about how to get help if it ever does happen to us or people we care about. Our last full session of the day was about health and wellness, and I learned about what health services are available on campus and how to use them.

We split into our orientation groups one last time to learn the Rutgers Fight Song, and then we returned to the large group to close orientation by singing that song (and learning another) together. Overall, orientation was an incredible experience, and it only made me more excited for my college experience to begin!!

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