Orientation Week: A Freshman’s Perspective

By Ray Perry

Orientation week is supposed to teach you all about college…right? Well, it sort of did the job. 

While some parts were helpful, I did create 120 origami cranes throughout the week due to boredom. Here’s a rundown of what worked and what didn’t. 

The departmental information sessions were really useful, and I wish there had been enough time for us to go to three information sessions instead of just two. I’m a neuroscience major with a strong interest in theater, and I was only able to attend the psychology and theater sessions, but I would have liked to attend the biology session as well. Academic advising was also great: it helped me figure out how I was going to meet various major and group requirements this semester.

On the flip side, the orientation sessions in the auditorium on various campus policies were very similar to parts of the summer orientation packet. While I recognize that information on campus policy is necessary, it got repetitive. I would have preferred shorter sessions, or even eliminating those sections of summer orientation entirely — if we watch a video in June, it’s unlikely that we’ll remember all the details in August. Lastly, the OWL group meetings were somewhat useful, but they were scheduled to take more time than actually they did. 

There were several areas of information that were not covered during orientation week, despite them being necessary to student life. I still don’t know how to view my meal plan points, and while I read in the Quest about some way of trading them if you have too many, I’m unsure how that works. The student work fair gave me a good sense of what on-campus jobs were available, but navigating Handshake was still difficult, and the link to the student work job catalog led me to what can only be described as coding hell.

A student work catalog on Reed’s website appears to output a raw txt file.

We also got zero information about the Health and Counseling Center, which is a huge oversight. I’ve been having health issues for the past few weeks, and navigating insurance has been incredibly challenging, especially since I still don’t really know what the HCC covers. A session on how the HCC works and how it interacts with any health insurance you might already have would have been incredibly useful.

Overall, the academic parts of orientation week were useful — the other parts less so. And as a self-proclaimed nerd, I spent most of the week just wanting classes to start already.

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