By Victor Porcelli
Orientation was full of different events with varying levels of fun and importance, but all of the events were meant to prepare the freshman class for the year ahead.
Provided with freedom, as none of the events were mandatory, freshmen had their first taste of what it means to be an independent person. It was up to them to decide which events were important to them, and which events were not. For some it may have felt odd being able to make these choices for oneself, it may have even felt rebellious to skip an event, just as it may have felt rebellious to sleep in or stay up late. However, as much as it may feel like rebellion, it is not. In college more choices are left to the individual.
The difficulty of this transition was immediately recognized in the Orientation events. The first keynote speaker talked about the “Red Zone” which refers to the increased danger of sexual assault and other crimes that occur during a student’s first six weeks. Possible causes of this increased danger include a freshman’s tendency to try extra hard to fit in as a way to not feel alone.
Not only are freshmen “free” from their families, they are also missing them, causing them to look towards others for support. So although starting out with something so serious may seem rough, it provided important information and addressed a topic that needed to be addressed.
Once orientation got rolling, the possible feeling of loneliness was addressed not with a speaker, but instead with Character U. Constant activities with opportunities to get to know fellow freshmen, to socialize and simply enjoy time with each other. The pod mentors specifically carried an extra bit of enthusiasm, care and energy that made it impossible to not feel at home. With friendships made, Dog Bowls won and Dave Binders sung, it truly was an event full of energy.
Mixed in, of course, were some presentations that were more focused on different opportunities on the DeSales campus. As they were mainly informational, these presentations were sometimes less than thrilling (this is where some students took advantage of the freedom provided).
In the end, orientation was all about opportunity. The opportunity to make friends, to learn about DeSales, and to get to know the community. Even when you try, it does not always go as planned.
Along with newfound freedom comes newfound responsibility. It may take some trial and error. Perhaps it will take some freshmen two weeks of reusing clothes to realize that doing laundry is important. Others may need to skip a few classes before figuring whether or not that works for them. It may take some a few fall-outs with friends to find the group they fit in with. Either way, experience is the only way to learn.