The University of Rochester. Ever Better. Right? I mean, you'd think so. And it totally is in some aspects. But meeting all your hall mates on the first day, that's a bit terrifying, a bit crazy, a bit hectic and a bit exciting. But that doesn't define the entire first week of college, because it can get ten times worse, or better. Just ask my sleep schedule.
The University of Rochester does something unique compared to other schools, it has it's orientation week a week before classes start. As far as my friends go, they had their orientation "days" during the summer. So they meet some cool people and don't see each other for weeks. That sounds unappealing. See, I got to meet all these cool people a week before classes, which means that I live with them, eat with them, play card games and at the end of the day, we go back to the residence hall together. There is no such thing as time apart from them. For example, my residence hall (go Tiernan 2 Crew!) goes to breakfast as a group every morning. Whether it's three of us or fourteen, we're there together as a group. None of my other friends have that experience because they have to meet a whole new group that they didn't have at their orientation. That's super lucky.
Something really special about the U of R is that they also have constant events going on for six days. Yes, six days. While some are required, like celebrating the diversity of our school or learning about how to handle abuse on campus, there are others that aren't required but help those who need it. Yes, we have mandatory events on campus. And yes, they are all great. From a 50 minute session on how to manage time when juggling five events in a day to a poster sale going on at the Commons, there's something for everyone. They even had a job fair on campus to help underclassmen and graduate students with work study get a job. One of the best parts of orientation week that I witnessed was the Improv Show, where my hall got to meet different comedy troupes and watch them perform.
Something else that makes Orientation Week crazy here at the greatest university in the world (that's totally an opinion, but if I didn't say it in terms of how I feel, I'd be lying), this is the time that the residence hall gets really close. I wouldn't be able to get through the week of mandatory talks and early morning workouts (which is also, as I said, optional) without the card games that go until four a.m. in the morning. The best part about the card games though, is that every night, or morning in this case, we collectively learn a new game from someone else in the hall. And to top it off, we have installed a quote wall on our floor. This allows us to write down anything someone on the hall (or visiting us) says that we find memorable. It's those types of first week memories that make going to class on Monday a little bit better to help me through the semester.
Sure, there are parts that are a little hectic and yes, you will be tired when you have to get on a real schedule. But working into a new routine anywhere is hard. The U of R really helped me realize that it's okay to not have it figured out, that it's okay to talk to literally anyone, and I mean anyone on campus and that it's fine to not know everyone in your class by the first week. Honestly, you shouldn't even try. It's impossible. But while most schools will say that orientation over the summer is better, we do it a little differently in Rochester.
And if we're being totally honest, it made adjusting to college life just a little bit easier.
Lead Image Credit: The University of Rochester, Student Orientation