Each year in the beginning of June, accepted students venture up to Marist College to experience Freshman Orientation. The day is a mix of emotions for the future students, of anxiety and excitement. They are greeted by their Orientation Leaders (OL’s) and spend a majority of the day getting to know the other students in their group. By the end of the day, they walk away with a feeling of what Marist is going to be like to live here, and new friends from their Orientation group.
“My favorite part about being an OL is seeing students that I gave tours to, or that did an Ambassador Shadow day on campus,” said Kelsey Donohue, a senior OL. “As an upperclassman, I like getting to know the freshman. I also explain to my Orientation group about becoming an Ambassador,” she said.
A typical orientation day begins for Orientation Leaders at 5:30 a.m. yelling, “It’s a great day to be a Red Fox!” Donohue said.
The families begin to arrive on campus at 8:00 a.m. and they are greeted enthusiastically by the OL’s. Each OL gives their special, creative introduction to the group that fills the auditorium. Once in groups, the OL’s lead the students in ice breaker games.
Donohue’s number one goal of being an OL is, “to make students less nervous and more excited about coming to Marist!”
Later in the chapel, a professor leads the session “Keys to Success,” where students learn tricks about being a successful student while studying at Marist. Each major then gets to split for an info session explaining the courses and what their major is like.
“My first impression of Orientation was that it is well organized, and I saw people jumping around to greet me as we pulled in,” Kaitlyn Ruark, Class of 2016, said. “It is more detailed than a tour. And I found people that I can be friends with right away.”
After the major info session, the groups play “Marist Myths” a myth busters game to educate the incoming students about what Marist is really like. After a much needed break for lunch, the groups get to talk with their OL’s one on one about social and academic life on campus. Then, the students get a tour inside each residence hall so that they can fill out their housing and roommate preference surveys.
Incoming freshmen AJ Grigolo, Ryan Plunkett, and Emily Storck had similar feelings of Orientation. They all agreed about being “nervous at first, but the activities helped.” Overall, Orientation improved their feelings about coming to Marist this fall. Their emotional journeys went from “tired, nervous, to excited.” Grigolo, Plunkett and Storck all enjoyed the ice breakers and meeting new people right away.
Another senior OL leader, Lindsay Marinelli, shared her passion of being an OL. “I applied because after my Orientation, I wanted to have the same impact to future students. I want to give them that first impression of Marist,” she said. “I love when my group asks questions, and I can give them honest answers. I enjoy bonding with the other OL’s as well as with the students.”
Marinelli told me about her goal of being an OL leader. “I hope they feel more comfortable about approaching people and us from Orientation. I want them to make a few friends and to not be scared.” she said.
Maria Gironas is an incoming freshman from California who arrived late to campus the morning of Orientation. “I was scared not seeing anyone, but someone was always there to guide me. This showed me how close a community there is at Marist. In high school, the upperclassman usually tended to look down upon lower classmen. Not here (at Marist); I will have upperclassmen I know in the fall,” she said.
Another successful day at Orientation means there are incoming students who can not wait to be Red Foxes!
“I am more anxious to attend Marist. It will be a new experience that I can’t wait to be a part of.” Tyler Troppmann, Class of 2016, said.
From all of us at Marist, Welcome Class of 2016!
Written by: Gina Sirico, @GinaRoseSirico