I’ve lived in the same county, town, and house my entire life. I’ve never had to experience a drastic move ever, and I am extremely grateful for that. This, however, has caused me to be very nervous about leaving home. 

Lucky for me, Purdue University is practically in my backyard, being only twenty minutes from my house, so obviously I was set on attending. After all, my mom, older sister, and older brother have all attended, and my other older brother works there currently. DePauw was always my first choice, but Purdue would prevent the change that I was so scared of. 

Less than a week before decision day I thought of my options one last time, and dove head first into the biggest change of my life. I was going to DePauw. 

So three months later on August 19 I found myself packing my belongings into my family's minivan and hitting the road. I remember feeling anxious about the days to come and thinking I would probably be a complete mess.

After a long car ride of debating if I made the right decision, I opened the car door and stepped out to see smiling faces greeting me. This is what began my week-long journey through “First-Year Orientation.”

The very first time I met my mentor group, I knew that DePauw was where I belonged. My group consisted of people from different countries, states, races, and genders. Despite these differences, everyone was extremely welcoming and kind to each other. My mentor was hilarious and was able to calm my nerves very fast. 

The first activities with her were mainly team building exercises. We had to create a human knot and try to unfold ourselves, then we had to work together to bring a hula hoop to the ground with just our fingers. Doing team building exercises with strangers was a bit weird, but everyone was able to quickly learn each other's names with a name game we played later that day. 

Following the first day, we played several other games–some with other mentor groups. By the end of the week, I felt more at home. I was able to befriend people in my mentor group and not feel so nervous about being alone. Although I thought the games we played were very weird and quite honestly stupid, they were a way for me to make friends and feel more comfortable at DePauw.

As for the several assemblies, I did not care for them at all. I was extremely bored the entire time, but they were an excuse to get out of the heat, which I appreciated. 

Many of the assemblies felt repetitive, and after the first one I lost interest in paying attention entirely. I can still picture seeing at least half the class looking at their phones throughout the assemblies, and the number increased the more assemblies there were. The information being offered was very important, so I don’t think ditching the assemblies entirely is a great solution. Perhaps in the future some of the assemblies could be shortened, or the information could be given to us by our mentor groups. This way students will be more likely to stay engaged since they won’t be sitting for hours at a time.

Another complaint that myself and others had was that we were outside a lot when it was extremely hot. No matter what time of day we were out, someone was complaining about the heat. This issue couldn’t exactly be solved by the faculty, but many students were talking about how indoor activities should’ve taken place instead. 

I personally think this could’ve been the perfect opportunity to show students where their classes are, or even tour a building on campus. Even something as simple as playing a movie inside for everyone to sit and watch together could’ve been a very nice break from the heat.

Overall, I believe that orientation had its ups and downs. I enjoyed socializing with my peers, many of whom I am still friends with a week later. I was able to adjust to campus life pretty fast. I do think orientation would’ve been better with less assemblies and more air conditioning, but that doesn’t mean it was useless. Ultimately, I felt very content yet tired about orientation.