Freshmen Reflect on Orientation Experience
By Emily Harris
Elm Staff Writer
I bet every freshman class before the Class of 2015 was nervous about the beginning of the school year. Having to talk to strangers, not knowing where you’re going—it can be overwhelming. This year’s new group of students however, had many other worries that had nothing to do with college.
Our school year started with a bang, earthquakes and hurricanes and craziness. Every natural disaster that almost never happens on the Eastern Shore happened before or during what was supposed to be our freshman orientation. Some students hurried home with their parents after moving in; others had to stay on campus while Hurricane Irene wreaked (minimal) havoc on Chestertown.
Fast forward a few days to Wednesday Aug. 31st, and suddenly we were all expected to go to class and act like college students. Easier said than done when you’re still surrounded by a sea of unfamiliar faces. On such a small campus it wasn’t hard to find my way around, but without an orientation it was hard to know who everyone was. We didn’t have orientation moments to look back on and talk about. No awkward, forced lectures or fun field trips. Our orientation was non-existent.
After a few more weeks had passed almost everyone had found their group of friends, meal times were less awkward, and college began to feel like a familiar, comfortable place. I joined clubs, dance team, and I knew everyone living on my hall. It took a little longer to work through the awkward moments, but it could definitely be done.
The trouble is not everyone was so lucky. What if some people needed those orientation moments to feel comfortable, and now they still feel out of place? Their impression of Washington College is probably very different than that of someone who had no problem meeting people and settling in.
While some people may feel like they missed out by not having orientation, I know many people were glad. First of all, not everyone was completely ready to leave home and start a new life here in Chestertown.
The few days that Irene came to town gave a lot of people a chance to go back home, say goodbye (again), and actually know what they were getting themselves into when they returned. Not to mention it gave everyone a chance to bring items they forgot or realized they needed (rain boots, check).
Knowing what I was coming back to made me less nervous. I knew my roommates, and I had more time to adjust to the idea of living away from home. A lot of the orientation events were rescheduled, so that wasn’t a total loss. In the end, it worked out.
Now over halfway through the semester,WC feels like a second home. All of the freshmen are getting ready to embark on another delayed orientation experience: the field trip to Mt. Vernon. This seems like the most important thing we’ve missed out on, since it’s a first here at WC The great thing is, our orientation experience was completely unique. We even have commemorative T-Shirts detailing all of the excitement. Not everything ran smoothly the first time around, but in the end, we’ll always be the class that survived the craziest move-in day in the history of Washington College.