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Starting college can be intimidating. It is an entirely new experience, granting you more independence and responsibility—more than you probably had before. If you’re anything like me, a first-generation college student, you may not have background knowledge of what the college experience is truly like. To combat these feelings of doubt and fear, we all participate in fall orientation.
The goal of orientation is bigger than any of us can truly fathom before our first days on campus. The main focus is you, the incoming student. You are going to spend the next few years here at Arcadia—why not sit back, relax, and get comfortable?
During orientation, you’ll be introduced to other students joining the Arcadia family. This experience offers you the chance to make friends, get to know the campus and what it has to offer, get acclimated to the community atmosphere before classes start, and adjust to what it’s like to live away from home (or commute between campus and home).
I’ll be honest: I was terrified to live away from home. The most I’d stayed away from my family was a weekend with friends, and even that was anxiety-provoking. I was scared I wouldn’t make friends, and I was scared that I wasn’t ready. However, after orientation, that all changed.
I was able to make friends by jumping in to conversations with people who had similar interests to mine (and who I would not have met if I had not chosen Arcadia). I had fun doing different ice breakers, going to events featuring hypnotists and comedians, eating an enormous amount of good (FREE) food, traveling into my hometown of Philly, and building a community that would remain way beyond the final days of my fall orientation. After, I felt like I knew the university and what to expect from my first year.
If you’re wondering why I consider myself somewhat of an expert on orientation, it’s because I’m an orientation leader (OL). Basically, it’s my job to help my orientation group—and any other students who need guidance—feel comfortable and excited about this new milestone in their lives. There are a bunch of OLs who are so excited to meet you, as we’ve been training for months to make your first week the best it can be!
My best advice: It’s okay to be nervous. It’s alright to feel homesick, confused, or overwhelmed. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Orientation allows you to feel those feelings, get the support you need, gain reassurance that everything is going to be okay, and have fun!