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Class of 2011 Orientation Week: What to Expect

(August 09 2007) Written by: Tiffani Williams

So, the end of summer is nearing. You are beginning to consider packing...when in all reality you will not pack until the night before. Your friends are all starting to pack their bags too - maybe they have orientation this week or next, or maybe school starts early for them. You are dreading goodbyes and hoping that everyone will stay in touch like they promised.

Overall, this is a very STRESSFUL  time for you, your family and your friends. And no matter what you are feeling right now, believe me...we have all been though it. I am even going through it right now preparing to move 6 hours away to complete a 6 month co-op and I have no idea what to expect. So, just a little bit of advice - that's life...but in this blog I thought I would give you a little bit of a "head's up" about what to expect your first week on campus and offer you some advice about how to get through it.

The Move in:
At this point, you should already have your room assignment. You and your roomate should definately have a chat before you get on campus. This way you guys can break the ice early and there's no awkward silence when your parents ask if they can take a picture of the two of you standing in your room for the first time. Good times....
Also, do not worry too much about speed during move in. Take your time, get settled. This is so that you are not unpacking boxes during Orientation Week...which will be next to impossible because your OA (Orientation Assistant) will keep you VERY busy - it's all a part of the process.
Once you have moved all of your stuff in, you want to head to the Field House. This is where you will get all of your information about being an RIT student and about what is going to happen in the following weeks. You will also register a vehicle if you have one, get you're Student ID, and get a Student Employment Card if you plan to work on campus.


What to Bring:
http://finweb.rit.edu/housing/docs/whattobring.pdf
In addition to that list, I suggest a good pair of Rain Boots, lots of Movies to watch with your friends, and an outgoing attitude. As for that last part, just make sure that your open to meeting new people and getting ripped out of your shell. I know it sounds painful...it is a little at first but in the end, you'll be a happier and more well-rounded individual Laughing. Just go with it.

Events
Meeting your RA (Resident Advisor)
          Your RA will be your best friend and your worst enemy. This is the person that you will come to know as a hip mom or dad on the floor. They will organize fun events for you to do, be there to listen to any problems/concerns you might have, and tell you to pipe down when you and your new friends are getting a little rowdy.This is the same person that will engage your floor in activities so that all of you can get to know each other. This will include floor dinners and ice breakers.
Meeting your OA (Orientation Assistant)
          This is the person that will drag you out of bed at 9am every morning during Orientation week and ask you to join them and the rest of your group (all people within your academic college) on the Quarter Mile to have discussions and do group activities. My group sat in the Field House and talked about how we were all dealing with the transition. Then the next day we went out to the volleyball courts and played for a while. It is a great way to bond with people. The friends you make in your OA group will be your friends the rest of the time you are on campus.
Convocation
          Big words...I know. Convocation is basically a formal welcome to the RIT Community by the President of RIT, Administration, faculty, and staff. You have one as a freshman (as a welcome) and another as a senior during graduation (as a farewell). There are a number of speeches, performancees, etc. Overall, it is a very inspiring experience.
Week of WOW Events
          The entire week of Orientation is basically everything about college, without the classes. The week will be jam packed with events such as a mentalist/psychic/hypnotist, movies, DJ Dance Party outside, comedians, rock climbing...the list goes on and on. The week presents a lot of opportunity for you to get to know the other freshman and have a good time. So, enjoy this week while you can because come Sunday night, you are going to need to think about finding your way to class and being perpared to learn.

Advice:
Don't look at your feet when you are walking on the quarter mile - you will just run into things
Go to as many WOW events as possible & take your roomate with you
Bond with the poeple on your floor - they will be your allies the entire 1st year and beyond
Don't be afraid to try new things
If your friendships from back home aren't as close as they used to be, work on it over breaks
Buy lots and lots of socks...somehow the dryer monster will get 75% of them...strange.
Learn how to do your own laundry
Bring a camera and use it often
Be bold/take risks
Don't fall into the wrong crowds/situations - if you are feeling uncomfortable, leave
Learn how to do your own laundry (Did I say that already?)
Be yourself always
If you have a car, be nice to your friends & give them rides but don't become the floor shuttle
Bundle up for those winter months...layers are good.

Last but not least:
ENJOY freshman year. It will be the best in all of your college career. Document it well so you can look back on it and remember all the great friends you made and the things you did. The older you get, the more you will wish that you had experienced all that you could.

GOOD LUCK!!

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