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Orientation: What does it really do?

Before Concordia freshmen enter their first classes and their college years beyond, they must undergo three activity-packed days of orientation. Though many students feel orientation properly introduced them to Concordia, they have mixed feelings about how things were handled. 

Greg Fensom, a freshman, claimed orientation did not correctly describe the true college lifestyle.

“The image of college to me is being on my own,” Fensom said. “Nobody is taking me to class and nobody is taking me to DS.”

According to sophomore Kalli Bowser, the busy orientation schedule wore out some students, especially after an unstructured summer.

“It would have been nice to breathe,” Bowser said.

Conversely, sophomore Taylor McMillin liked the heavy structure.

“I enjoyed saying I knew exactly where I would be all day,” McMillin said. She felt the schedule did not allow her to be stressed.

Sophomore Jade Haseltine agrees, and said, “optional activities would have been a great way to get to others or to go rest if we needed to take a break.”

Other students felt their clubs did not have enough opportunity to branch out and talk to other clubs.

“The clubs feel so isolated from each other,” Jadin Heidrich said.

Heidrich, a sophomore, lead a 2014 club as an orientation leader.

Ciara Gideon, a fellow OL, agrees and said the number one thing she wished would change about orientation is the fact that clubs don’t intermingle. She said she would’ve liked to “mix things up.”

“It is easy to see the faults in orientation as a freshman going through it, but as an orientation leader I was able to see that they will appreciate it in the future,” Gideon said.

“Orientation guides you at the beginning and then lets you go,” Gideon said. After going through orientation as a freshman and as an orientation leader she can see that the tight schedule is necessary to familiarize with the campus and to build those first friendships.

Orientation leaders play a huge role in how a student’s orientation experience goes. Many incoming freshmen find their club so helpful, they hope to pay it forward.

Heidrich said the reason she was inspired to be an orientation leader was because her orientation leaders made her feel so welcome.

“I was so excited to come to Concordia and orientation was a great way to be welcomed into this community. After the first night I knew I was at the right place,” Heidrich said.

Haseltine liked having OLs because they have first hand experience with going to Concordia and they did not “skim over any details.”

“The OLs were able to tell me a lot of the unwritten rules,” Fensom said. “For example, calling Dining Services ‘DS.’” According to him, the orientation leaders are there for the incoming freshmen and will answer questions with confidence and first-hand experience.

Gideon’s reasoning behind becoming an orientation leader was when she was a freshman she was the quiet introvert in the back of the crowd, and she wanted to make those kinds of people feel as included as the outgoing ones. She thinks different personalities are what makes orientation so hard to put together.

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