Cultivating New Beginnings: The Vital Role of Orientation Days at RIT Croatia

Starting university can be a thrilling yet uneasy time in a student's life. The transition to higher education comes with a whirlwind of emotions and uncertainties. To bridge this gap between anticipation and adaptation, RIT Croatia's Orientation Day emerges as a pivotal event for over 220 first-year students embarking on their academic journey in 2023/2024. This year, the Orientation was envisioned as a two-part event providing students with a well-rounded introduction to their new academic environment, and establishing meaningful peer connections in order to set the stage for a successful academic year.

Day 1: Welcome and Orientation Day

The first day of Orientation at RIT Croatia was a cornerstone for newcomers. It served as a platform to ensure students start their academic journey on the right foot. Students were greeted by Dr. Irena Guszak, President and Dean, Dr. Milivoj Marković, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Dr. Jakob Patekar, Associate Dean for Research and General Education, Tamara Lipnjak, Ombudsperson, as well as representatives of Student Government and peer mentors.  One of the most significant advantages of Orientation is surely the opportunity for students to meet their professors which brings them closer to their academic experience. With this series of interactions RIT Croatia encourages open communication and establishes a comfortable rapport, which can be immensely beneficial in the months ahead.

During Orientation, students also receive an abundance of vital information. They get insights into the academic calendar, course schedule, grading systems, tips and tricks on how to survive the first year, and access to invaluable campus resources. This knowledge empowers them to navigate their academic path with confidence and clarity.

Day 2: Peer Mentorship and Engaging Activities

The second day of Orientation Day at RIT Croatia was equally significant, with a focus on building social connections and creating a supportive community. First-year students were introduced to their assigned peer mentors. These mentors are students from upper-year levels who play a pivotal role in helping newcomers acclimatize to their new surroundings. The mentors offered a warm welcome, emphasizing that this day is dedicated to connecting with both mentors and fellow freshmen. This fosters a sense of belonging and familiarity among the incoming students.

Students were engaged in a series of fun activities, such as Human Bingo, an engaging ice-breaker activity, that encourages students to interact and get to know each other, and Concentric Circles, which is a series of timed conversations where participants get to know each other better, build connections and expand their social networks. In the final segment of the day, mentors and mentees worked together in small groups, either in a classroom or a relaxed setting like a campus café. Here, they delved into the details of the mentoring program while getting to know each other informally. This informal interaction helped mentees feel more comfortable and supported, knowing they have a trusted resource for guidance and advice.

Overall, the Orientation Days at RIT Croatia embody the commitment to facilitating a smooth transition into higher education. By combining essential academic information with engaging activities and mentorship, this event equips first-year students with the tools and connections needed to thrive in the academic year 2023/24. It fosters a sense of community and belonging that will endure throughout their university journey, ensuring that every student feels prepared and confident as they embark on this exciting chapter of their lives.

Go Tigers, we are looking forward to witnessing your success in months to come!


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