I am very pleased to FINALLY announce the OLs that will be attending the WOW trip in a few weeks. Here they are!
Kelly Bedro: Kelly is a sophmore from Canton majoring in industrial systems engineering. She has a quiet confidence about her, but that can be decieving as she is not always so quiet! She is a great leader who is not afraid to take risks. One fun fact about her, she is a dedicated Irish dancer! Earlier this summer, her group even went to a national competition! Go Kelly!
Brad Ewert: Brad is a sophomore majoring in political science. He is super involved on campus, with orgs like Student Government and the Political Science Association. He is vey outgoing and enthusiastic, and attended the WOW trip when he was a freshman, so he will be able to provide great insight to the freshman attending this year.
Liala Sobh: Liala is a junior double majoring in psychology and sociology. Liala is an amazing OL and great friend who genuinely cares about helping everyone succeed. Her own WOW experience was challenging and eye opening, so she is very excited to go do it again!
Alex Estes: Alex is a sophmore majoring in math. He is a member of Phi Sigma Phi fraternity on campus. He is a very outdoorsy guy, so he is very excited to attend the WOW trip again!
If you have any questions about WOW or want to know more, these OLs are the ones to ask! We hope you are as excited as we are for the trip!
Can you believe it is AUGUST already?? Summer is almost over and school will be starting in just about a month. Today marks our last freshman orientation for students in all academic units. Our last 2 which happen in the next couple of weeks are for CASL students, so they will be very small.
The really exciting thing is that the WOW trip is fast approaching! The pre-trip meeting for participants and their parents is Monday evening, from 6-8pm in the University Center. Here campers can get to know one another and find out more details about the trip.
Orientation Leaders accompanying freshman on the trip will be announced soon.
There is still time to sign up if you want to go! Just use the link below =)
One of the reasons I love my job so much is that I get to see people change right in front of my eyes. We are smack dab in the middle of a freshman session as I write, and already today two cool things have happened.
The first happened during check in this morning. A girl came in by herself and had recieved her materials, but was waiting for the Financial Aid table to get set up to talk to them. We asked her if she was excited for the day ahead and she confessed that she was really worried and nervous. Immediately we all started reassuring her that her experience would be great. I even shared my embarrasing moment from my freshman orientation (see The difference an OL can make). She loosened up and went on to the presentation. I saw her at lunch a few moments ago and she told me she was having a blast! I was really glad that we could make her feel comfortable and follow through with our promise of a great time.
The other cool thing happened during lunch. First thing in the morning, Vice Chancellor Henderson greets the students with a short speech. He talks about how we are a community and that if anyone sees him on campus, they should wave hello and greet him. Well he walked through the UC during lunch, and one of the students waved at him and shouted "Hello Vice Chancellor Henderson!" and the Vice Chancellor waved and said hello back! It made everyone around us chuckle and smile.
It is the little things like these that make me proud to be a community member here at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. I am glad that we as OLs can help make these things happen =) They sure made my day!
Orientation is an important part of starting your career at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. It is the best way to find out about campus services, your degree program and the campus, as well as an opportunity to make new friends. Thats why it is imperative that you come prepared and enthusiastic! As a seasoned OL, I have seen students have great orientations and I've seen them sabotage themselves from the get go, and end up hating their experience needlessly. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your Orientation, so that you leave excited and ready to take on college.
1. BE EXCITED! Or at the very least pretend to be. I can't tell you how many students I spoken to who try to get out of coming to Orientation. It is a University requirement that EVERY SINGLE STUDENT has gone through, and there is no getting around it. You have to be here, so you might as well make the most of it right? If you come in with the right attitude and expect the best, that is what you will get! We as Orientation staff feed off good energy, and it is so much easier to be pleasant and engaging when that is what we get back! And if you would rather not be here, don't let us know; it'll just bum us out and you don't want that. When all else fails, fake it till you make it.
2. Come prepared, do your research! Just the other day, I had a student come to orientation, sit through the entire advising session, and tell me that it turns out we didn't have the degree he wanted to pursue. That is a bit of an extreme case, but it is a starting point. Before you pay your enrollment deposit and earn an Orientation fee, make sure we have your major! Spend a few minutes on our website and make sure you understand the basic tennants of your degree. If you know what is confusing coming in, you'll have more opportunities to have your questions answered. I'm not saying know every little detail, but reading the summaries on the website will only help you in the long run.
3. Take advantage of your captive audience of current student leaders. OLs at UM-D are the leaders of the pack! We are all involved in one thing or another on campus and have diverse experiences and attitudes. On top of that, we LOVE answering questions; we all love to talk and to help people, so anwsering questions is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. There is no such thing as a stupid question, and we are here to address all of your concerns. We can help you find out more about activities on campus, help dispell some of the rumors you have heard and can help ease your fears about the transition. We are always honest and usually quite frank with our answers and won't withold anything that you need to know! I always challenge the other OLs to try and stump me; I've been around the block so many times that I know almost all answers, and if I don't know, I know where to find them. So c'mon, just you try to stump me!
4. Be on time. This one is pretty simple. We know that life happens, and that even sometimes the best plans get fouled up. Even so, we beg that you do your absolute best to arrive during the scheduled check in time; not earlier and not after. Our programs always start right on time, and all the information you will receive is vital, so you don't want to miss a second of it! When students come in more than a few minutes late, check in becomes more difficult and they miss even more of the presentation, and it can mess up your whole day. If you come too early, you'll be sitting around waiting for us to finish setting up. It is in everyone's interest if you can arrive in the 30 mins before the program begins.
5. Step out of your comfort zone and push your own boundaries! Orientation is a new beginning, a fresh start, a second chance to shape yourself and your education. Nothing will be new for you if you don't try anything new! I really encourage new students to get to know one another if they can. Starting a new shcool is scary, but if you have a familar face in your classes it won't be so bad. For freshman, make sure you talk to the student organizations during the activity fair. It can be intimidating, but I promise they are dying to get to know you! They love new members and can tell you anything you want to know. For transfers, talk to your OLs and classmates about opportunities to get involved around campus. All students, new and returning, should check out the org fair held during welcome week in September. It is never too late to get involved! Basically, its never fun to try something new and as scary as Orientation can be. But we have all been there, and we survived. Your goal should be to thrive!
I hope you find these tips helpful! If you can think of anything else that would help you out, let me know!
This is something I have to share, since I eat, breathe, sleep and live orientation =) June 19th marked my four year anniversary at the University of Michigan- Dearborn. On that day in 2008, I started my journey to where I am now with my own freshman orientation. I remember being really nervous on that morning. It was way too early for me, since I had gotten used to sleeping in really late (sometimes until three pm!). I didn't have a car of my own so my mom had to drop me off on her way to work, and I was really embarrased about that. For the same reason, I was also pretty early. When we pulled up, the Orientation Leaders were all standing outside the door in a circle and I was totally intimidated by them in their matching navy blue polos. I was afraid to walk by them! They told me to go inside and have a seat, since I was early. I remember sitting upstairs in the IAVS not talking to anyone, scared out of my mind.
The main thing that has stuck with me over the years is my OL. All the honors program students were in one group together, and we paired up with another group for the morning. That was how I met the two girls who were my constant companions my first few years in school. We took as many classes together as we could and became really good friends. My OL's name was Marc and he was a history major, which was my favorite subject in high school. He also happened to live right by the ice cream store I was working at, so we had a lot to talk about. He ended up becoming one of my first friends on campus and we remained close for a quite a while.
When I started as a freshman I had major reservations about attending here. I wanted to transfer ASAP to somewhere else. During the tour, Marc asked us if anyone planned to transer to another school and at least 3/4 of my group raised their hands. Marc just chuckled, shook his head, and said "I would be surprised if even 2 of you actually do." And he was right. That was the first time I had considered that I might earn my degree from UM-D.
Coming here, and more importantly staying here, were not what I expected from my college career. But I am so ridiculously glad that is how it happened. I owe a huge debt to Marc and the other Orientation Leaders, for helping me to see what our school could be. It is because of them that I had a great orientation experience, which made me want to be an OL to return the favor. Being an OL has opened countless doors for me academically, personally, professionally...it is the experience that has led me to choose my career path. If my OLs had been different, I don't know that I would have had the same experience. I don't know that I would be the same person. It is because of them that I am who I am. And for that, I must thank the LOTP 2008 team. Thank you for helping to make me who I am today.
Last week, I finally was able to explain to my loyal readership what freshman orientation is about. Now I'd like to take a few minutes to talk about transfer orientation =)
We have hundreds of new transfers every semester, and the most important way to start any student's success is with orientation. Transfer orientations only take half a day, as opposed to the full day session for FTIACs (freshmen). They start with checking in, half an hour before the program is scheduled to start. They recieve their Maize and Blue Preview from Kevin before going off to their respective academic units.
At academic advising, students hear a general presentation about policies and procedures, as well as general degree requirements. Most importantly, they get their Transfer Equivalency Worksheet, which shows all their previous coursework and what transfers to the University of Michigan-Dearborn. This one little piece of paper is the key to finishing their degree!
After advising and registering for their classes, OLs will take the new students to have their photo id made. From there, they are free to go home =)
So you can see that the program for transfer students is succinct compared to what freshman go through. We do this for a variety of reasons; one, transfer students tend to be older, many working full time, so their available time is much more limited. In addition, they have all spent at least one semester as a college student previously, so even if their coursework was entirely different, they still have something of an idea of what they are getting into. I have always liked transfer sessions; many of them feel somewhat overwhelmed when it comes time to register and I love being able to explain everything to them and help them get off to a good start =) These type of programs certainly come with a different set of challenges, but they can also be really rewarding for everyone involved!
Freshman Orientation is a huge part of what we as OLs do; in the words of Orienation Leader Kelly Conen, "It's important because not only do you meet new people, you learn the dynamics of the campus! Orientation allows you to explore yourself and start finding your niche." It can be a long day but is very rewarding. I want to give you an outline of what that day is like for all participants, so we are all on the same page!
The morning starts with Orientation Leaders and staff reporting for work bright and early at 7:30am. We head to the Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems to set everything up for when new students arrive at 8:30. After checking in and being assigned a color-coded group, freshmen enter the Borg Warner Auditorium. At promptly 9am, they are greeted by the Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management and Student Life, Mr. Stanley Henderson. Afterwards, they are presented the Maize and Blue Preview by one of the Counselors from the Admissions Office. At around 9:40am, students are introduced to the OL Team, and are broken up into their color-coded groups (usually about 10 students to an Orientation Leader) to spend the morning with their OLs!
While the sequence of events varies slightly for each group, they all eventually get to do the same things. Each group will get a tour of campus, featuring an in-depth tour of the University Center, take the picture for their photo IDs and participate in some fun ice breaker activities to get to know their classmates within their group. Thie games are my favorite part of the morning! One of our goals for our new students is that they leave Orientation feeling connected to our campus community. Often, students will form friendships in the morning, and end up scheduling classes together in the afternoon! I love when this happens; it makes me feel like students are leaving Orienation excited and confident about starting school in the fall. =)
Around 11:30am, we all head to the University Center for lunch. Students sit as a group with their leader, so they have a final chance to ask any lingering questions. This year, we have a buffet lunch provided by Campus Dining. We rotate between 3 lunch options: Lasanga, Sloppy Joes and Black Bean Burgers, or sandwiches (they are all ridiculously delicious, no lie!). After lunch, students are broken up by academic unit to attend advising and register for their classes.
As if that wasn't enough information for our freshman to take in, after they are registered for classes, students attend the Wolves' Den Browsing Fair. Here, our office collarborates with the Student Activities Office to help introduce new students to the plethora of student orgs on campus. Usually around 30 orgs will set up tables and booths in Kochoff Hall to meet new students and give them info about what their club does. It is always a lot of fun; the SAO provides yummy sweets like chocolate fondue or ice cream sundaes, and orgs will be playing music and handing out SWAG. I always encourage my students to talk to at least 3 orgs they think they might be interesting. It can certainly be intimidating, but the current students are always really friendly and eager! After picking up their ID from the fair, students are free to go for the day.
While freshman orientation sounds like a lot to do in a day (and it is) we believe that it is really the best way for Freshmen to start the career in the University of Michigan- Dearborn community off on the right foot. We make sure they are familiar with th campus, their academic expectations, and that they have the opportunity to make connections with their peers.
Eventually I'll give you a rundown of Transfer Orientation sessions as well; I'd like to say soon but I have just been so busy! We are in the thick of the Orientation season, on number 3 of 4 in a row Freshman sessions. (whew!) I will try to update this as soon as I can, but it may not be until next week...Stay tuned!
Part of my job as Orientation Program Assistant is to update the social media outlets for U of M-Dearborn's Orientation Program. In addition to this blog (which I hope you are enjoying!), I have created a Facebook fan page and a Twitter feed! My hope is that I can keep these useful and entertaining throughout the summer and that they will continue to be active far into the future. I just wanted to share the links to those here, so that everything is available in one place!
Facebook Fan Page, University of Michigan- Dearborn Orientation: http://www.facebook.com/#!/UMDearbornOrientation
Twitter Page, UMDOrientation: https://twitter.com/#!/UMDOrientation
So like us, follow us, and keep up to the minute with all the awesome Orientation happenings! If I was more techno savy, those links would be those cools clicky, bubbly buttons, but simply copying and pasting the link is difficult enough for me...sadly. (Any tips would be cool! I am only a mere student of History, not a computer programmer) If you have any suggestions for what you'd like to see on any of these platforms, please let me know!
Big Orientation tomorrow! I promise I will try to get the post about Freshman sessions up soon...maybe if I have some downtime while working (hahahhaha just kidding! That will never happen =])
Today is our second freshman orientation session and already there is a very special moment I just had to share with everyone.
Before lunch, Kevin and I set up tables according to teams and how many students are in each group. We thought that we had a proper count, but this is real life, so the groups got a bit skewed in the course of the morning. Gori's group, the Maize Team, was supposed to be smaller than it ended up being, so her table was too small. Kevin and I were not around, otherwise we would have moved over another table for them. Instead, two of her freshman went and moved a table over on their own. Kevin and I saw and apologized profusely that we didn't see the problem beforehand and that they had to move the table themselves. Their response? "Don't worry about it, we are all a community!" Be still my heart! I am so glad that they already feel like a part of the UM-Dearborn Community! I am so proud of those two young men and all of our OLs and the staff here who made them feel like that this morning. I am over the moon that they are so comfortable here after just a few hours. I am sure that they will go on to make a huge difference here!
Anyway, I just wanted to quickly update everyone about our freshman programs so far. We are in the middle of one right now, actually =) Our program last Thursday went really well; we had about 94 students attend to start their careers at the University of Michigan-Dearborn off on the right foot! Our rare Wednesday program today is also going very well; we have over 90 students in attendance again!
Being our first two Freshman sessions of the year, there has been a bit of a learning curve, but I think we have all the little kinks worked out for our next session on Tuesday. When I have more time, (maybe Thursday morning?) I will break down what a typical orientation is like.
Hope you had a great long weekend! The bad news about being back at work is that it is a short week...at least for people who love their job, like me =) Until next time!