Overcoming the Orientation ‘scaries’: What to expect, students’ advice

The Shalala Student Center is home to some of the best study spots on campus and features many popular food options including Starbucks and the Rathskeller.
The Shalala Student Center is home to some of the best study spots on campus and features many popular food options including Starbucks and the Rathskeller. Photo credit: Dan Snitzer

Orientation can be an overwhelming week for incoming freshmen. It is the first time most students are away from their hometowns; trying to juggle the move-in process and orientation events, while adjusting to a life with limited parental guidance.

To make this transition a little easier, the Department of Orientation and Commuter Student Involvement (OCSI) puts together a week-long agenda of social gatherings, academic dean’s meetings and required orientation sessions. These events aim to help students connect with their incoming class, teach them how to safely and respectfully excel in college and extend to them the University of Miami spirit.

The schedule, which can be viewed using the UMiami app throughout orientation, may appear daunting, but it is important to note that there are only a few mandatory events. However, students are encouraged to attend a few events each day to help familiarize themselves with campus, learn about opportunities at UM and meet faculty. This is also a prime time to get to know the Residential Advisor, First Year Fellow and fellow students on your floor as many of the events are attended in floor groups.

“I went to every freshman orientation event possible,” said Regina Potenza, a sophomore studying broadcast journalism. “It was the best way to get to know The U.”

Two exciting events to be sure not to miss are ‘Cane Kickoff LIVE and ‘Canefest. ‘Cane Kickoff LIVE features university president, Julio Frenk, mascot Sebastian the Ibis and the full UM spirit team to show students what it means to be a Hurricane. ‘Canefest is a great opportunity to get involved on campus. Nearly every student organization sets up information booths to recruit new members.

Be sure to stop by the social events as well, many of which give away UM merchandise or free food. Be sure to get there early and be at the start of the line as giveaways run out quickly.

Orientation week is designed to help students overcome the nerves of adjusting to life at UM and making new friends. Fortunately, these feelings of worry and discomfort are shared among most incoming freshman, said Trevor Lynn, a sophomore at the University of Miami majoring in finance and business law

“Everyone was in the same position as me and just trying to make friends,” Lynn said. “Personally, I tried meeting as many people on my floor as possible so I’d have people I knew around me.”

Lynn, like many other sophomores, stressed the importance of meeting new people especially in their housing. While communal showers and tiny bedrooms may seem unappealing, it was on those floors where true friendships were created, Lynn said.

“Living in the dorms during orientation helped me branch out,” said Michael Gianetta, a sophomore majoring in sports administration. “It helped me keep my options open socially and was the best time to meet people around me.”

Making connections with students in your dorm can be a great way to adapt to life at UM. While making friendships on campus is important, some students say that it is just as necessary to branch out and explore Miami, finding new ways to meet and connect with people.

“Orientation week was the best time to go out to the beach and Brickell,” said Celia Lynn, a sophomore majoring in public relations. “I had no schoolwork and got to meet my closest friends.”