First Year [Freshman] Orientation

Welcome Class of 2016!

Sometime before the beginning of June Mod Squad Pete registered himself and both parents for summer orientation for first year students. At his college, the University of Virginia, one doesn’t say “Freshman Orientation” because one doesn’t ever say “freshman.”

[Expect a post on terms used and not-used at UVa.]

Pete registered for this week, traded a shift at his job, packed his bags, and was ready to go.

Actually, there was a bit more to it than that.

Instructions from UVa provided a deadline to upload a photo (with specific size, background, etc.) for his ID, requirements to familiarize himself with the Student Information System (which can be a real bear to deal with), and recommendations, such as to load up his course planner with possible selections in preparation for registration when visiting grounds. (One doesn’t say “campus” at UVa, either.)

Parents awaiting four hours of discussion panels.

Come orientation day, we showed up during the specified half-hour to find a very well-organized and cheerful team ready to process the five or six hundred students and their parents through the two days. “Students to the right; parents to the left.”

While many of us regrouped to drop off overnight gear at the dorm, the orientation team was clear:  many of the student activities were “parent-free zones.”

The student activities included:

  • Placement exams, if needed, for Russian, Latin, and German
  • Welcome and other speeches
  • Small group orientation ice-breakers
  • Scheduling workshop
  • Student life panel discussion
  • Activities at the fitness center
  • Course registration

Parent activities included:

Pete’s new address: top floor, corner room.

  • Welcome speech by the Orientation Director
  • ‘Parents as Partners’ discussion by the Dean of Students
  • Student Norms discussion (aka “Is Everybody Drinking?”) by the Student Health Center representative
  • Move in Day and beyond panel by Housing & Student Life representatives

Additional tours, open houses, resource fairs, and information sessions were available to all. We looked at a room similar to the type in Pete’s dorm.

Indeed, in an experience reminiscent of multiple dorm room visits on college tours,  we waited outside the room while multiple parents chatted away inside, squeezed in to take a look, stepped outside again after a parent elbowed us aside so she could measure the inside of the armoire, and then stepped back in just so we could see the darn room.

End result: we’re oriented. Pete is sort of registered — out of six courses in his planner, he is registered for two, awaiting professor approval for two, and wait-listed for two. Not bad.

M.S. Dad and Pete check out the view.

For the parents, and I’ll speak for both of us until M.S. Dad decides to guest-post:  every day of this post-high school summer brings us one step closer to the very exciting next step of Pete’s life [College! Wow! Moving Out!] and one step closer to the dreary next step of our life [Where did Pete go?].

Orientation reinforced that for all of us. We are so very excited for him and, oh man, we will miss him so.

Typical for this blog, I’ve got a few links on preparing for orientation. I’ll save those for another day.

If you’re a student — enjoy every moment of moving on, even the scary bits. If you’re a parent — well, we’ll learn how to deal with this just as we’ve learned how to deal with all the other bits of parenting (even the scary bits), right?

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3 Comments

Filed under At College

3 responses to “First Year [Freshman] Orientation

  1. Pingback: What we learned at college orientation (and why we’re glad we went) | Dr. StrangeCollege or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Journey

  2. Pingback: College Moving-In Week: the packing list. | Dr. StrangeCollege or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Journey

  3. Pingback: Coming to a University near you: 5 stories of higher ed disruption. | Dr. StrangeCollege or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Journey

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