First Year Orientation

First+Year+Orientation

Constance Wright, Contributing Writer

After driving 1,000 miles over two days, I was finally ready to settle into my new home at Clark University. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know for a fact I was nervous when I stepped foot on campus this August. Not only did I have to redefine home, but I also had to adapt to a whole new culture, especially coming from Kentucky. Starting college seemed scary enough, but being so far away from home added another layer of stress. Since I live so far away from campus, I was able to move in a day earlier than other first years. This was extremely helpful because it gave me time to go buy the supplies that I couldn’t fit in the three small suitcases I packed my life into. I was able to spend some more time with my family too, who I wouldn’t be seeing until Christmas. I woke up the next morning to the hustle of the campus. Various PAs were getting ready for the exciting weekend ahead, and as the day slowly began you could hear cheers welcoming students home. Before I knew it, the campus sprung alive and the orientation process began. I said my goodbyes to my parents (who of course left early to see a Beatles cover band), and sat down in a sea of unfamiliar faces. I was nervous and not looking forward to the next few days of cheesy ice breakers and lectures. The following days were such a blur. It was PA group meeting after mandatory lecture after more group meetings. Each day was full of activities and whatever free time I had was spent unpacking or sleeping. By Sunday, I was just ready to be on my own schedule. That being said, I appreciate how busy Clark kept us. As an introvert, it pushed me to get out and make connections and friendships I wouldn’t have made otherwise. It also helped with the homesickness I’m sure many of you are familiar with. There simply wasn’t enough time for me to be homesick during those first few days. As much as people complain about first year orientation, it personally really helped me feel less alone. I was fortunate enough to have an amazing PA group and still talk to many of them regularly. The multiple meetings I had with them daily throughout my transition process not only validated my fears about starting college but also supported me, and they checked in on me even after orientation ended. They also helped me with the culture shock that came along with moving so far away. Most of what I learned that week was through and with them and I am forever grateful (shoutout to the Compost Conspiracies, you guys are the best). Would I ever go through orientation again? Hell no. You can only participate in so many icebreakers. It was exhausting and pushed me to my social limits. But I know it was exactly what I needed to help me transition to where I am now. When I visited campus as a senior in high school, Clark always felt like home; first year orientation only validated that feeling. As Clarkies, we strive for an inclusive campus community and as a freshman moving from as far away a place such as Kentucky I have only felt love and support since day one.