What incoming freshmen need to consider about orientation

Brooke Sjoberg

Heading off to college is the subject of Hollywood films, Broadway musicals and even a song or two. This week, however, it’s real life for incoming UT freshmen at their orientation. 

For parents, as much as students, this is a once in a lifetime event with absolutely no room for do-overs. As much room as there is for variety, there isn’t room for missing out on the rites of passage necessary to make a freshman a Longhorn. With these tips, tricks and words of advice, there won’t be a problem on the radar. 

1. Getting lost

It’s no secret that the streets around the University are narrow, twisty and generally difficult to navigate. Throw in a disoriented and overexcited parent driver, and the chances of getting lost are pretty high. Getting lost on the way to campus is a rite of passage. Let it happen. It takes getting lost a few times to learn how to get around in Austin.

2. Mom will cry

For incoming freshmen, orientation is the first taste of freedom away from home. For the parents of freshmen, it’s one of the first times they will be confronted by the fact that their child is grown. Some parents will be joyful and turn their kid’s room into a recreation room, office or home gym. Others will shed tears and keep their child’s bedroom immaculate until their return. One thing is always true: happy or not, mom will cry. 

3. Coursicle

Years ago, the University used Blackboard as its online portal for classes, but Canvas is the current platform. One feature, which Blackboard had and Canvas does not, is a planner for potential course schedules. However, the online resource Coursicle is a helpful intermediary for schedule planning, an inevitable pain of orientation. The service can connect to Facebook, so users can see if any of their friends have also added their selected courses. This is a good way to have a study buddy on standby — or to avoid people. 

4. UT Twitter

Social media shapes the lives of its users in both tangible and intangible ways. For UT students, it provides an easy way to connect with each other and make a campus of over 50,000 faculty, staff and students feel small. Follow other students, professors — even @thedailytexan. Whether it’s a new meme or a new best friend, UT Twitter has many offerings for new students. 

5. Evening events

Take advantage of evening programming at orientation. These are the social aspects of college life where friend-making is the only goal. Snap up some phone numbers and Instagram handles because this is an opportunity to build a community to return to once the fall semester starts. 

6. Do what feels best

Despite all of this advice, each student’s college experience is tailored to the individual. Have a look at the turtle pond, take a stroll through the Perry-Castañeda Library or watch the sunset from the tower steps. If you’re not interested in making friends the first night or the academic aspects of undergrad are more appealing, have a look around. UT is home to endless learning opportunities.