OPINION: Despite good intentions, new student orientation bores


Elise Johns is a first-year
undecided major
from Carmel, Indiana.

Although generously allotted the recommended eight hours of sleep, the class of 2018 had approximately two hours and fifteen minutes of unscheduled time during their first 24 hours on campus.

Assuming that the student took one or more placement tests along with advising sessions and mentor group meetings, it felt as if there was even less free time during the second 24 hours. 

As a first year student at DePauw University myself, it was overwhelming with a side of overkill. 

A large chunk of the activities were quite helpful (and perfectly aligned with my expectations of college move-in day): the faculty advising dinner, convocation and floor meeting, just to name a few. 

The first events of the weekend and orientation process were also necessary, such as scheduling classes. This included the guidance required for that process, as it was helpful and informative.

As the orientation process began to drag on, the redundancies in activities, events and lectures became increasingly glaring. Morale and enthusiasm for the events gradually decreased. Seminars and meetings repeatedly spoke about the Lilly Center, Marvin’s and DePauw’s nightlife yet left little time to actually work out, grab a burger or go out. 

The good intentions behind the process could clearly be seen in the ways the faculty, upperclassmen and leaders of DePauw want us, the first-years, to succeed. Yet the agonizingly high-structured schedule and redundancies were overzealous to the point that many first-years lost sight of key points and ideas they were supposed to take away from the orientation.

Despite the monotony and redundancy of this year’s orientation, being thrown right in to the college experience with no guidance would have been a far worse plan of action. I have an awesome mentor and faculty advisor, and I know they will both be valuable resources and will live up to their titles as “mentor” and “advisor.” Thus, the minds behind the new student orientation have succeeded in putting the proper mechanisms in place.

Yet the process has its obvious flaws. 

Since many changes were made to the orientation process this year and some aspects were entirely new, the flaws and complaints could be far worse than an exhausting and redundant few days.

There is always room for improvement. In this case, the areas for improvement need to be brought to the attention of those who have the power to spearhead such changes.

Orientation is the opening scene for every first-year class. I think it should be fine-tuned to make the process as painless, helpful and efficient as possible for every one involved.