Taste test the Wildcat experience during orientation

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Alex McIntyre | The Daily Wildcat

A window near the top of the Marley building provides a view across the sprawling UA campus on March 7.

Orientation—that sounds like a scary word. Not only are you thrown on campus with hundreds of other students; you are also expected to start memorizing the campus as you tour it for the first time.

But orientation is not a stressful process at all once you look back at it. The main idea behind orientation is to help students get acclimated to how the next four years of their lives are going to play out.

Orientation is when you get your very first glimpse of the little details of your new college and you get your first hands-on experience of your future college life. It all sounds so exciting, and truly, it is.

You get to meet your adviser, and if you stick to the same major you originally picked, they will be with you throughout your college life up until you graduate or change major. They are your go-to person on campus, and you quickly learn that they are here for you no matter the problem.

I changed my major and therefore I was assigned a new adviser. It does take some time getting used to a new adviser and getting to trust them with your class schedule, but you quickly grow to like them and go to them whenever you are in doubt. 

By meeting them on your very first days, you are given a sense of relief and realize that, unlike your initial feeling, you are not alone and people will be with you throughout your studies.

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During orientation, to me, the most exciting thing is making your schedule.

You pick the classes that interest you most out of the hundreds of general education choices, and if you’re lucky enough, you’ll get to pick classes that will allow you to start your major from the very first day of classes.

Picking classes is stressful, especially if you’re an incoming freshman because they are always the last ones to get the opportunity to choose their classes.

So, if a class you really wanted to take is now full because the sophomores, juniors and seniors already enrolled in it, this might come through as harsh, but tough luck, welcome to the real world! But it’s OK because you can always take it the following semester, which is great because you get so many opportunities, and your adviser is here to guide you when things like this happen.

What is really great about the international student orientation is that we are walked through all processes linked to our student visa: the dos and don’ts.

You quickly learn you’re not as free as you perhaps thought you’d be, but at least you’re told on your very first day, which makes the whole future process so much easier. You also get introduced to the International Student Services team and they help you with anything that is international or travel related.

By talking to current and incoming students, it came to my attention that there are a couple of aspects of orientation that, in some opinions, could be refined or modified.

Incoming freshmen who have yet to attend their orientation each have specific things they wish to obtain from orientation. Some of their first thoughts are to get to know their way around campus and to make new friends during the process.

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“Orientation is like a taste test or a food sample from Costco,” Kira Barnhart, a UA incoming freshman in international business marketing, said. 

Students expect to come out of orientation with a solid knowledge of campus and how things around the college life works.

Barnhart mentioned she would like it if there was a program in which you can keep connected with a mentor for the first couple of weeks in case you have any campus related issues or questions, which I believe would give students another experienced connection.

Orientation is purely nothing more than a taste of your new school. It should be an enjoyable time, and especially a memorable one, where you learn about college life, make new friends and step out of your comfort zone and into the next chapter of your life.


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