Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Orientation {Day 1}

I attended New Student Orientation (also known as NSO) a few weeks ago at Penn State. Let me start off by saying I was so not excited even in the slightest bit to be going to orientation. In fact, I was dreading it. The idea of knowing no one made me feel extremely nervous. To sum up my whole experience it was nerve wracking, but it actually did turn out to be all right in the end.

My mom and I flew out the day before orientation. It consisted of a four hour flight to Chicago, and then a two hour flight to State College, Pennsylvania. The airport is only about a ten minute drive away from campus. The day did not start off on the right foot because our first flight (We were originally going to fly into D.C.) got cancelled. After many calls, my mom was able to get us on a different flight. We got to Chicago safely and bumped into one of my softball teammates coincidentally. We got a bite to eat and watched the World Cup at a Chili's in the airport. Once we boarded the second, and rather small airplane I might add, they were having complications. So, we ended up just sitting in the plane and not taking off for about an hour. Finally, we took off and landed at our destination way later than we had originally anticipated. We had planned to have a car from our hotel to pick us up, but it was too late for that. When we called our hotel for the car, they called a taxi for us instead. We got to our hotel, ordered a Hawaiian pizza for dinner and called it a night.

The next morning we walked from our hotel to campus, making a quick brunch stop along the way at Irving's where I scarfed down a sesame seed bagel with cream cheese, a cup of strawberries, and a bottle of cranberry juice.

Our first NSO task was to check in and get our room assignments at South Halls. I was assigned to room 410 in Lyons Hall, where the sororities usually stay. The room was not bad at all. In fact, it probably gave all us rising freshmen a false expectation of what our dorm is going to be like in the fall.

So, after making my bed and dropping off my overnight bag, my mom and I headed to the Hub to get my ID card. Next, I set up my e-mail and PNC Bank account. We then headed over to the book store to pick up a complimentary copy of Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which is a summer reading assignment. Apparently, this only the second year of the summer Penn State Reads program. So, at this point I was super jealous of the juniors and seniors free summers before their freshman year.

Then we headed back to the Alumni Hall at the Hub as one big huge group of new students and parents. We were sitting there "listening" for quite some time in the freezing cold room. When this was over it was time for the parents to leave their kids for the day. I was so not looking forward to the next part.

Our name tag had a number of our small group on it. So, we followed our student leader to a classroom. Once, we got there we sat in a circle of chairs and introduced ourselves. For our first activity, we counted off into pairs to go on a "date" to "network." We were to ask and answer three questions that our leader chose and then share our partner's answers to the group later. The questions we were to talk about were: 1) What are you most excited about for college? 2) Who is your celebrity crush? 3) If you could have any animal as a pet what would it be? I answered: 1) Independence 2) Channing Tatum 3) None. I was paired up with a nice girl from Scranton, Pennsylvania where the TV show, The Office, takes place. I really liked her and we hung out the rest of the day.

And, the ice breakers continued in our small groups. Next, we played a game called Connection. One person starts off saying a statement describing himself. Then, someone else, who the statement also describes, links arms with the first person in a chain. The second person then goes on to say something new about herself. The game continues until a closed circle is formed. I linked up with a girl who grew up playing soccer and then another who enjoys baking.

Later, we went around and shared what we were planning on doing with our social lives. I mentioned rushing a sorority, participating in intramurals, and joining a few clubs.

After that, our leader had to lead a discussion with stories about mental health, alcohol, and then assault. This was probably the most boring, but I guess informative part of our small groups.

Lastly, we had to create an I am statement and write it on a whiteboard to have a picture taken. Apparently, every freshman does this and they make it into something. Our group guessed that they would spell out We Are... Penn State with all the tiny pictures.

We were then led to dinner where we sat with our group. I am already not a fan of dining hall food. I went to the salad bar and got some whole wheat penne with red sauce on top. Let's just say it didn't even compare to a home cooked meal or a dinner out. 

An RA (Resident Advisor) came and talked to us while we were eating dinner. We were then led into Freeman Auditorium where movies are shown back in the Hub. A few group leaders talked about involvement and we watched a few videos. We also did a Stand By Me activity where we stood if the statement read pertained to us.

At this point, we were released to late night. We had the options of going to The Creamery, going on a night tour of the campus, or heading back to South Halls to play board games. We decided to go to The Creamery and then go play games.

If you didn't know this already The Creamery has the best ice cream on the planet! I played it safe and got a cup of cookies and cream. They only have one size, and it is enormous! But, so good that you have to finish it. It is extremely creamy. Apparently, it has something to do with the ingredients coming straight from a cow only like four days or so prior.

As we were walking back to the dorms, we decided to walk downtown instead. A guy who lives only ten minutes away from campus gave us a little tour of College Avenue. Of course we had to take off our name tags so we wouldn't be taunted for our freshman status. By the time we got back it was just about time to start going to bed, so we called it a night. I'd say it wasn't so bad after all.

Here was our NSO student schedule for Day 1:
And, here is the Parents & Families NSO Schedule for Day 1:

In the next few days, I will post about Day 2 of my NSO experience!

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