Orientation: Tradition and Time Consuming Meetings

Olivia Caime ’23

Contributing Writer

On Aug. 29, 2019, Trinity College welcomed the class of 2023 with open arms. Students hit the ground running with a multitude of activities scheduled for each day. While this was welcoming, there was a certain point where the activities got to be a bit too much. As a freshman myself, it was overwhelming having a busy schedule from the moment we arrived. Some of the activities were enjoyable: for example, the night time activities. Each night there was a different activity taking place for students to go too: Cave Karaoke, Carnival, Laser Tag, Bingo, and Rollerblading are among some of them. For many, these activities served as a great way to branch out and meet your classmates and provided new students with a reason to leave their dorm room and explore.
The convocation and matriculation ceremonies were also a pleasure to go to, as they served as both a way to meet people as well and a great way to feel at home at Trinity by honoring tradition. Signing the Book of Matriculation made students feel as though they are officially students here as the book will now be kept to commemorate our class and will be kept with all the books of previous classes. The Lemon Squeezer tradition, which is when the president of the college squeezes a lemon to toast to the new class and after which everyone drinks Brisk Lemonade, was a funny and unexpected tradition to carry on. The Class of 2023 also got extremely lucky with the weather, making it a nice tradition to carry on.
This started to go south with the Orientation Groups meeting too often and leaders being forced to foster unnatural conversations. The orientation groups were an effective way for new students to meet other people in their first-year seminar and make what could be their first few friends here. However, the Orientation Group meetings were a bit too often and they were held at very awkward times. Orientation leaders were also given a list of questions to help stimulate conversation that oftentimes did the opposite of what it was intended to; people spoke less and were less engaged when they were asked questions from a list instead of what came naturally.
The worst part of the orientation programming were the required sessions that took hours. The session on drugs and alcohol repeated the material covered in the course we all took online over the summer. The session on sexual assault was also a review of the summer course and the performance that took place was extremely uncomfortable and it caused a lot of students to tune it out or leave altogether. It dragged on for much longer than was necessary. The online courses were a better way to get across the necessary information because students were able to do it on their own time and actually take in the information.
Overall the orientation programming was a success as long as next year, they cut down the mandatory sessions to be more concise or, if possible, only keep the online courses.