Getting Settled in Part 1: Orientation Week

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If you’re like me, the excitement and anticipation of starting at a new school can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re coming back after being away for a while.  Without knowing what to expect, you feel like a fish out of water. Southwestern has had a long time to figure out the best way to put your feet on the ground—we are the oldest university in Texas, after all. Orientation Week here is a massive event, and it pretty much forces you into the SU community (which is awesome).

The first day of orientation for me started as a bit of a whirlwind—all I knew was that I had lunches to attend, and I had to get an ID, and there were a million optional meetings and panels. I received a letter in the mail giving me all the details, which turned out to be the best thing in the world. But before that I realized that everyone on campus was also new. This beginning week is only for new students and the people committed to helping to get settled in, so you’re not alone, and you’ll probably connect with either a peer mentor or another student pretty quickly.

It’s alright if you don’t, though! Honestly, I’m kind of a loner in new situations, so I just went to all the events and watched, and met people. Every event listed on that letter (other than the First-Year Registration) is open to all students, so if it interests you—DO IT! Campus tours are sort of essential, and a really good way to meet people, but I especially enjoyed all the committee meetings and club fairs. There are more than ninety student clubs on campus, and Orientation Week is the best way to figure out which ones are for you.

Also, going to the Resource Fair will be a revelation—that’s where you get to meet almost everyone in the administration that you’ll every need. Here I found out that SU offers really comprehensive physical and mental health services (SU Insurance pays for basically everything), and that getting involved in volunteer or civic engagement services is a lot more fun than I expected. Plus, if you want to get a job or internship, this is the place to figure it out—I just went from table to table and took everyone’s card. I’ve used nearly everyone of them.

So, this is a lot of info to take in, but take it to heart—there are going to be a lot of ways for you to find your niche and get acclimated. In the next advise blog I’ll talk about Advanced-Entry Seminar and how it works with Orientation week. That’ll be a big part of your intro in Southwestern, and I promise it’s gonna be one of the most interesting…

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