Attending college as an incoming freshman can be quite daunting. In addition to making a house-full of belongings fit in a small room and finding where new classes are, students must meet an entirely new circle of friends as well. To help ease this transition, the Get Oriented (GO) Team leads icebreakers and activities that invite participation and encourage interaction with other students. The four day orientation which included ice breakers, a student run skit abou–t life on campus, a hypnotist and a dance. The enthusiastic GO Team members clad in green T-shirts sought to encourage participation in activities to “help ease the freshmen’s transition,” said GO Team Leader, Ramsey Hanna.
After moving into residence halls Saturday, freshmen were welcomed by USF President Fr. Stephen Privett, S.J. at the St. Ignatius Church. A lunch with faculty and administrators preceded, orientation that night. The GO Team began with Playfair, an ice breaker that Hanna said urged students to “take [their] guard down and have fun.” This is possibly the greatest challenge GO Team faces during orientation—the reluctance of freshmen to participate in activities and meet new people. The GO Team also performed a skit that explained the resources available to students on campus and what daily life is like for a student at USF. To help ease their nerves and inhibitions, hypnotist Chuck Mulligan was brought in on Monday night to perform a show. After gathering 10-15 volunteers, Mulligan took them on stage, hypnotized them and made the audience laugh by causing the volunteers to think that they were freezing in a room with a temperature of only 5 degrees. Kyle Livingston, a senior and second-year resident advisor at Gillson Hall said the hypnotist night “went really well, we were able to get a lot of residents back.” The night before they lost people who left Playfair early. Livingston said that move-in was “easier and smoother than last year,” because he knew what to expect and what he needed to get done. He said that GO Team did an excellent job of energizing students and encouraging them to participate in the activities. He credits their participation to a great GO Team member.
In addition to easing the transition to college life, GO Team was responsible for helping the freshmen unwind after a tough academic day on Tuesday of exploring the different majors and minors available and speaking with faculty advisors. The final event, Club 1855, named after the date of the school’s foundation, which was a dance complete with a disc jockey and the band Not Your Average Super Girls. Music and dancing would seem to be a good way to mingle, but freshman Joelle Buscher said,“It wasn’t a good way to meet people, unless you already had a group of friends that you went with.”
Now that orientation is over, the next step of getting oriented to campus and enriching the college experience is becoming involved on campus. Hanna said, “The most important thing is to meet people and get involved.” Getting involved with clubs and organizations on campus is a good way to boost a resume, but is also a place to have fun and meet people with common interests. Livingston’s advice to freshmen was, “Don’t be afraid to get involved and meet people that you share interests with that you don’t-have a class with or live with. You can always join something; it is easier to join something and have it not fit, then to not do anything at all.” After a week of orientation and a full day of class on Thursday, freshman Tessa Simon is most excited about the freedom she now has, and Buscher said she is excited to get started and adjust to her new schedule.