Picture it: Florida State University campus. Any year during May and June. Two months of mental gymnastics with constant doses of parental posturing and new student precociousness.
What does that equal? FSU’s Orientation!
Now, don’t get me wrong, one may think by the mere nature of my sardonic quips that 2 months of anything that requires such ardent emotional tenacity and meticulous careful planning would lead one to run for the hills….no not necessarily. Believe it or not, this is my favorite time of the year!
Read this blog and actually be enlightened, entertained and educated (at least you can appreciate my awesome alliteration if everything fails).
Take it from someone who has lived and breathed FSU’s orientation for the past decade (or longer). This is what I like to call the “fun part” of our jobs!
There are 4 keys to conquering Orientation and making it into a “walk in the park”
Yes, this sounds like every other “how to” article, but you can’t conquer something challenging without being prepared. If you are more a seat of your pants type of person expect to fall on your face a couple times during the experience…
TRUST ME, being prepared is the key here.
- Print out/Save your downloads go to my.fsu.edu log in and click on BI and from there I won’t bore you with the details but download your lists either once a week on Monday or at the start or end of each day.
- If you do the “get to know your college” meetings I would suggest you use this time to get information from your students (AP’s, IB’s, Dual Enrollment)
- I write out trial schedules for everyone or you can choose to do them on the fly for a more exciting and less predictable session.
- Sticking with the Plan
Orientation is setting a routine and sticking with it. Find your plan of action and stick with it and ride it out until the end.
For those doing “get to know your college” plus orientation advising and the computer help sessions you can plan on basically living outside of your office from early morning to late afternoon. You can kiss office hours good bye for 2 months.
- Put yourself in their shoes (empathy)
This may sound like another touchy feely type of hyper higher education mumbo jumbo jargon, but trust me empathy helps you and it helps your students.
Take a walk down memory lane to 10-15 maybe more years to when you were a noob and starting this whole college/university process. I imagine the process was different but the feelings and emotions were similar:
“How is it going to be?”;
“Are the classes really that much harder?”;
“Will I fit in?”;
“Who am I going to live with?” etc.
It puts things into perspective and believe it or not helps you come across as quite wise in the whole process.
- SMILE and ENJOY THE RIDE (have fun with it)
This is essential because Orientation can get monotonous and Lord knows repeating the same things in a presentation 60 times over with the same questions and punch lines can get old pretty quickly.
Remember who your clientele is—17-19 yr old wide eyes soon to be College student newbies. This demographic is bound to shake things up a little bit.
You haven’t lived until you have done a “Get to know your college” presentation session while using ONLY an Australian accent and then getting a parent handing you their business card for free speech therapy.
Don’t be afraid to let your guard down around the kids—maybe even the parental units too!:)
Good luck out there!
This Ultimate Orientation Guide was written by Willy Leparulo, advisor in the College of Engineering.