First Impressions and Orientation

Andy Brown Class of 2017

Orientation may actually be a bit of a misnomer; it’s probably more accurately of a reorientation to university than anything else. We had our famous day at Thompson Island, and then it was down to learning, relearning, and working. But when orientation was over, what I remembered most was making 42 new friends.

The day of orientation was what you might imagine: Bruce talked to all of us, gave us the requirements, and made a few jokes. We laughed, we ate together, we made as many friends as we could. The second day of orientation was our annual trip to Thompson Island. A clear, hot day in August, we all boarded a ferry and were treated to a different view of Boston and Cambridge than we had previously seen. Filled with leadership and team-building exercises, the day on the island was spent getting to know new people and trying your best to remember everyone’s name. Of course Maine Lobster was served afterwards, and we all laughed at everyone who had never had a lobster before struggle to understand how to eat it. By the end of it, tired out from activities and well-fed from the dinner afterwards, most people knew each other’s names and at least a little bit about them.

The following Monday, we were thrown into the deep end. Team work and individual homework assignments on both new and old subjects were assigned regularly; by the end of orientation, I had worked (or at least visited) with almost everyone else in the class. We had exercises on how to speak and write, and ultimately get the best job. We shaped our stories, got comfortable with each other and groups, and really spent time just learning the right way to speak to potential employers.

Even now, I don’t remember the exact assignments. I remember that some were harder than others, and that sometimes I felt short on time. I remember studying for the final test and realizing that I had to remember how to actually study. But what I remember was working with my new friends for the next year, procrastinating about the work while pretending to do it, instead getting to know each other better. I remember getting hot pot for the first time with a few experts. We made time to do some exploring in Boston, like walking the freedom trail.

Ultimately, orientation is about working together as a class. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and everyone had assignments in both columns. Teamwork made everything achievable and friendship made it fun and worth it.

First Impressions and Orientation

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