First-year orientation changes; same old feeling

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DePauw University’s class of 2018 chose their first-semester schedule the Sunday after they arrived on campus, unlike in years past when first-years’ schedules were determined before they arrived on campus.

The first-year students met with their academic advisors on Sunday to figure out their interests and what classes they should take.

“I think [for first-year students] it was hard trying to get books two days before class," said Ashley Wong, a first-year mentor. "But it was still nice being able to talk to your professor and choose your classes one-on-one."

Administrators also added more scholastic activities to the orientations schedule this year.

“It was less of the group activities and more of going to talk to your [advisor] and learning what classes to take and scheduling,” said Wong.

Although there were a few changes to the orientation program for first-years, overall, the class of 2018 felt the same way about the experience as previous classes.

“I think the first day [my mentors] helped me adjust,” said first-year Kate Ryan. “It was a good welcome into the school. They help make you feel less nervous about meeting your faculty advisor, and the mentor group helps you meet new people, which is nice.”

The students first met with their mentor groups on Saturday night, just after arriving on campus. They played games to get to know each other. After the opening day, however, students just wanted some of their own time.

 “After a few days, kids tend to get a little tired of it because we want to get ready for our classes, we want to buy our books, we kind of just want some space for a while,” Ryan said. “But that’s not the mentors’ fault; it’s a scheduling problem.”

Cara Setchell, dean of students, acknowledged that this complaint has been a problem in years past as well. She said administrators tried to change the schedule to give the new students more free time.

First-years were supposed to have all of Tuesday afternoon to themselves, Setchell explained.

Overall, Setchell thought the weekend went smoothly for everyone.

“There were so many people and so many students that really helped welcome our incoming students on opening day or move-in day,” Setchell said. “It took a lot of people to create this welcoming environment.”