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SCU's Newest Students Get Their First Taste of College at Summer Orientation

Thursday, Jul. 14, 2011

By Akshay Vyas '14

Excitement and anxiety sparkle in the eyes of the incoming freshmen as they sit in rows, and wait to be introduced to their orientation leaders. In the back, orientation leaders are frantically rehearsing chants, getting ready to properly welcome the kids —— no, sorry, students. The orientation leaders are not shy about correcting anyone who refers to the new freshmen as kids. “They are students, not kids,” they say.

A few minutes later, breaking up what had previously been endless chatter and nervous chair shifting, the orientation leaders are introduced and charge up the aisles chanting to represent each different RLC.

“X is gonna give it to you, we gonna give it to you, X is gonna give it to you.”

“A-L-P-H-A. You all wish that you could say, Alpha, what what what, Alpha.”

“U, U, U, U wish you were a Unity.”

“Who’s the best RLC? DaVinci. DaVinci.”

On any other day these chants would sound abnormal ringing throughout the Mission Church. During new student orientation, however, it is typical morning and is perfectly normal to hear around campus the whole day.

Excitement does not just last during the first morning however. Students said orientation was both exciting and exhausting because of two long, “action-packed days.” According to these students, the fun-filled schedule allowed for time to cover not only academics, but also social information and students were able to bond with their future classmates and RLC. In fact, when asked if students were excited for their RLC, responses such as “hell yeah” were common.

Bonding with RLCs ranged from icebreaker activities to a dance social at the Locatelli Center, all led by upbeat orientation leaders. It wasn’t abnormal to see students playing games of “Ninja” in large circles around campus, nor was it a surprise that students and orientation leaders would break out into RLC chant competitions, each group attempting to be louder than the last. Several students mentioned that their favorite part of orientation were dance battles that broke out in the middle of the social. Students showed off their talent through various dances including fist pumping, cat daddying, doing the stanky leg, and teaching each other how to dougie (ask a student if you don’t know what that means.)

A large part of the excitement students had at orientation was due to their orientation leaders. Aside from the energetic and interesting attitudes these older students displayed, incoming freshmen commented on how easy it was to be able to relate to them.

“The orientation leaders are awesome. They aren’t the sticklers of the school like I thought they’d be. They are just like us. They have fun when we have fun. Most of them are just one or two years older,” said Rohit Kulkarni, ’15.

Students also said that talking to orientation leaders was as easy as communicating with friends. As a result, they were able to ask questions ranging from where to hang out to what meal plan one should get to which classes students should sign up for.

According to orientation leader Nick Camilleri, ’13, some of the most interesting questions that students ask relate to social life.

“A student asked me, ‘What’s the easiest way to sneak out of the dorms?’” Camilleri said. “I laughed and told them ‘out the front door, you’re an individual now.’  But most of the questions we get are about social life, varying from stuff to do around campus to questions about RLCs.”

Aside from student social life questions, several students were nervous about classes for the fall quarter. These nerves were a result of either not enough time to decide what classes they wanted, or simply fear of classes filling up before their registration times.

Veronica Solorio, ’15, expressed her fear saying, “I’m nervous about my classes for next year. My schedule got all messed up because the classes I wanted were already full.”

In addition, while time was allotted to discuss the required reading, some students had hoped to go into more depth on the text, Reaching Out, by Santa Clara University’s very own, Professor Francisco Jimenez. In fact, Ramsey Fisher, ’15, stated that he read the book twice in order to understand it better.

“It was comforting because it reiterated all the reasons I came to Santa Clara, ranging from small class sizes to professors actually caring about their students,” he said.           

So, do I have any advice or helpful tips in order to comfort incoming students who have yet to attend orientation? Yes. Learn from the experiences of your fellow classmates. 

Echoing the class of 2015, do some research on what classes you want to take so you’ll be prepared when it comes time to register. Bring a towel. Sleep as much as you can so you’ll have energy. Trust me, you’ll need it. Bring snacks. Have fun meeting new people. Don’t be shy or waste time being nervous. It’s only awkward for the first ten minutes.

Lastly, in direct words of your future classmate Kulkarni, “Don’t freak out about orientation. If you come in with a chill attitude, then everything else will just fall into place.”

And if you’ve already attended orientation, fret not. Welcome weekend is just around the corner.

Akshay Vyas '14 is from Corte Madera, Calif., and is planning to major in communication.

Orientation Leader Nick Camilleri, '13, represents his RLC with the newest members of Alpha, the class of 2015.

Tags: class of 2015, Santa Clara University, summer orientation

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