Freshmen Disorientation

September 5, 2013 Op-Eds, Opinion

New surroundings can often be intimidating, as is the case when a freshman steps foot on their college campus for the first time. The architecture is beautiful, but which buildings are what? Why are all of the people in yellow shirts so cheerful? Mills lawn is a familiar landmark, but where to go from there? Starting life out in a completely new home for the next four years can be a bit confusing, and that is why Freshmen Orientation exists. Five days that are dedicated to getting to know the ins and outs of Rollins College.

Rollins starts new students off easy on their first day. There were signs everywhere pointing them to where the different residence halls are, as well as the campus center to check in. Upperclassmen cheered and welcomed new students as they walked onto campus.

Wednesday afternoon was very chill, with nothing scheduled until dinner. This gave students some leeway with their time, letting them settle in a bit. Then, there was the President’s Welcome. Personally, I was surprised that the speakers prayed over the entering student body, but I appreciated the sentiment and felt welcomed and cared about. Following that came the mess of finding your correct RCC peer mentor who was holding up a sign. Students and parents were everywhere, and the peer mentors were scattered inside and outside the Alfond Sports Center, with no clear organization, and I probably completed a full loop before I spotted one of my peer mentors.

I was excited about meeting the other students in my RCC class; I’d be hanging out with them the next four days and, if all went well, the rest of the year. I instantly belonged to a group that I would soon become familiar with.

Convocation was a lovely ordeal that, prior to starting college, I didn’t know existed. It was an additional step that made me feel wanted and welcomed in my new home. Coming from a pretty large high school, I was surprised that the entire entering class fit snugly in the gym.
The remainder of Orientation was extremely busy, providing information and reviewing standards with the new student body, as well as mandatory socialization, which included a hypnotist, an a cappella group, and a small student talent show.

An event that I found off putting, however, was the Sex Signals performance. Yes, it drew upon stereotypes and sent a message of being careful and respectful, all the while succeeding in making the freshmen laugh. However, the subject of rape is a very sensitive one, and when talking about the dangers of sex, many freshmen were riled up over the way that the improv performers presented it. Differing opinions were not respected when the floor was opened to discussion: one point was raised about the view of sex in different cultures, but it was taken completely out of context and somehow progressed to the subject of “blue balls.” Although uncomfortable subjects like rape are necessary to talk about, I think it could have been handled better. Everyone, it seemed, walked back to their dorms at least a little upset.

Straying away from that unpleasant note, SPARC day was successful as well. Multiple RCCs were working on each project, so the opportunity to meet other incoming students was there, as well as working on the skills of teamwork and communication. I think it’s wonderful that Rollins heavily promotes community involvement and helping others.

Overall, as extensive as Fall Orientation was, it definitely drove home the point that Rollins is an amiable community where anyone can belong.

 

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The opinions articles on this website do not necessarily reflect those of The Sandspur, its staff or Rollins College.

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