As the start of school gets closer, we start heading out to orientation. Schedules, CatCards, New Friends, YAY! It’s all so exciting and a bit overwhelming, but never fear. I just got back from my orientation at the University of Arizona, and I’m here to make sure you know exactly what you”re getting yourself into! Here’s what happens at Freshman Orientation at UofA.
1. Getting Your CatCard
Whether you chose to spend the night partying it up in Tucson or getting hours of beauty rest, EVERYONE takes their CatCard ID photo before 9 AM, no exceptions. (I mean, maybe there are exceptions, I’m just being dramatic.) So make sure you get up early enough to be ready, because you’ll be flashing this photo for the next 4 years.
2. Welcome Speech
And so begins a day of presentations. This first one is the basic “Welcome Wildcats!”, with a lot of bragging about the achievements of past alums, the current projects (like the UA’s work with NASA), and random statistics that your parents will “ooh” and “aah” over, and you will immediately forget. That’s okay though, your mind is going to be receiving boatloads of information today, and nobody will blame you for not remembering what percentage of graduates went on to be stars in their fields. None of them will compare to the work you’ll be doing, anyways. The Orientation Leaders end the initiation with the singing of the Wildcat Fight Song, which is a lot of fun (even more so if you know the lyrics, which I’d suggest looking up here. The first song is the one we sing, but it doesn’t hurt to know them all!)
3. College Tours/Info
So this next part is different for everyone. Students are separated into different sections determined by major and college (ex. Agriculture, Fine Arts, Liberal Studies, etc.) Advisors from your college will take you to a building associated with your major and give you the basic rundown of what classes you’ll be required to take in the next four years, different programs available in each major, and what differentiates similar majors and programs from each other. If you’re looking to switch your major, or if you’re undecided, but have a major in mind, you’re free to attend the session of your college of choice instead, EXCLUDING certain colleges, such as Fine Arts and Nursing, that required extra applications. You’ll have an opportunity to apply to those programs later in the day, but will be sent to the college you’ve been selected into for now. This is a cool opportunity to see what you’re actually getting yourself into, and meet other people in the same boat as you.
4. Club/Interest Fair/Lunch
Now you can take a quick breather. The next 1 1/2 hours are really up to you to spend eating lunch (they give you a $10 meal card), looking into cool organizations and groups on campus with booths up (like Student Union Jobs, LGBTQ+ Community representatives, and the VERY crowded ZonaZoo pass table), and taking any makeup placement tests you may have *forgotten* to complete before orientation.
5. Class Registration
Now for the fun stuff! Class Registration! You’ll meet back with your advisors at the assigned time and place (this is somewhere between 2:30 and 4 pm) to get your schedules. MOST (not all) majors receive a pre-made schedule, which you can then change in a computer lab on campus (some majors, such as Film, made their schedules from scratch.) Whether you get stuck with 8am’s all week, magically get all your classes on Tuesday and Thursday, or don’t have to roll out of bed before noon, you will leave orientation with a plan for your Fall Semester, and if you’re anything like me, those happy/nervous butterflies will start turning into happy/nervous dragons.
6. Getting Your CatCard Back
And absolutely hating it, no matter how hard you tried that morning. At this point you’re completely exhausted, and that’s okay! It’s been a long day, especially of you partied the night before (of course, some of you will find it within you to party again.) Most of the dorms are open to view at 5, so I’d definitely recommend taking your parents and roommate, if you ,managed to coordinate orientations, and check out where you’ll be living next year! If not, then you can spend the rest of the day taking the fattest nap of your life. Welcome to college.
Anything happen at orientation that I missed? Any questions I didn’t answer? And don’t forget to check out the Fashion section for outfit inspo! Orientation is a first impression hotspot, after all.