Navigating Orientation Week and the First Day of Class at RIT

Orientation Week: A Week of Discovery and Connection

An Orientation Group walking together at orientation, wearing RIT shirts

After the excitement of move-in day fades, the real adventure begins with Orientation Week at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). This week-long journey is not just about navigating campus and learning the ropes — it's about forging connections, discovering opportunities, and embracing the vibrant community that awaits.

As I stepped onto campus for orientation week, I was greeted by a whirlwind of activities, from icebreaker sessions and campus tours to informational workshops and social events. My orientation leader (OL) took our group all around the campus. We played fun games. We had lunch and dinner together. Amidst the buzz of excitement, I found myself surrounded by fellow first-year students, each embarking on their own journey of exploration and growth.

Orientation week wasn't just about learning the layout of campus or memorizing my class schedule — it was about immersing myself in the RIT community, building friendships, and discovering the myriad of resources available to support my academic and personal success.

Meeting your College: Professors, Academic Advisor, and Dean

A group of first-year students sitting around a table together and talking

With orientation week in full swing, one of the most crucial events was getting to know your college. RIT’s academic majors are offered through our nine colleges and two degree-granting units. Within your college, you will meet with your professors, your academic advisor and the dean.

You are already enrolled into classes for your first semester. However, if you need any changes to your schedule, this is the right time to meet your advisor and talk with them. Usually during orientation week, colleges have open hours where you can just show up without any appointment. But after orientation week, you will need to schedule appointments via StartFish — a platform that facilitates communication. When I met my advisor, I was able to craft a class schedule that aligned with my academic goals and interests. From core courses in mechanical engineering to elective courses in Italian language and culture, I found myself embarking on a journey of academic exploration that would shape my college experience.

Add/Drop Period: Navigating Changes and Embracing Flexibility

Three students walking together on campus

As the first day of class approached, I found myself grappling with doubts and uncertainties. What if I had chosen the wrong courses? What if the workload was too overwhelming? Fortunately, RIT's add/drop period provided a safety net, allowing me to make adjustments to my class schedule and embrace the flexibility to explore new opportunities.

Even though in the first semester you don't have much control over your schedule, you can take advantage of the Add/Drop period. This lasts for a week, starting on the first day of class and usually ends at the end of the first week. Make sure you talk to your advisor about it and make the best possible decision. Whether it was swapping out a challenging course for a more manageable alternative or adding a last-minute elective that piqued my curiosity, the drop/add period empowered me to take ownership of my academic journey and adapt to the evolving demands of college life.

The First Day of Class: Navigating Nerves and Finding Confidence

As the first day of class dawned, I felt a mix of nerves and excitement coursing through my veins. Would I be able to keep up with the coursework? Would I make friends in my classes? As I stepped into the lecture hall, surrounded by classmates and professors, I realized that I was not alone.

Anika holding a "First Day of Classes" sign

On my first day, my dorm building lobby had free breakfast for all of us. As I was walking to my classes I took part in the first day's photo. The day before, my friend and I played scavenger hunt and located all our classes, which really helped on my first day navigating around the campus. Navigating the first day of class was a whirlwind of introductions, syllabus reviews, and icebreaker activities. But amidst the chaos, I found moments of connection and camaraderie, as fellow classmates bonded over shared interests and academic aspirations.

Final Thoughts: Embracing the Journey Ahead

Three students during orientation, posing for the camera while wearing "Welcome Tigers" shirts

As I reflect on my experience navigating Orientation Week and the first day of class at RIT, I'm reminded of the importance of embracing the journey ahead with courage and resilience. From forging connections and discovering new opportunities to navigating academic challenges and embracing flexibility, each step of the journey is a testament to the transformative power of higher education.

As I embark on the next chapter of my college adventure, I carry with me the lessons learned and the friendships forged, knowing that with perseverance and determination, anything is possible. And as I navigate the twists and turns of the road ahead, I'm grateful for the support of the RIT community, a beacon of light guiding me towards a brighter future.

About the author

Mechanical Engineering Technology

As a first-year student in Mechanical Engineering Technology, I seamlessly merge my technical proficiency with a fervent love for writing and editing. Fueled by a creative spark ignited through years of crafting poetry and journaling, I embark on a journey to explore diverse writing styles such as blog writing.