Orientation: What to expect & how to make the most of it

In August of last year, I was both looking forward to and a little scared of orientation. You spend one week in a room with all of your classmates learning about the two year commitment that you just paid a lot of money for. I had just returned from being out of the country for two weeks and was not only jet lagged, but also trying to get re-acclimated to this new city that I had only been in for a few weeks before my travels. So what to expect, expect a whirlwind. You meet a lot of people, you get a lot of information, and you can try to start figuring out where you will fit into this wonderful world that is B-school. Now I didn’t attend the summer session, so I walked into orientation a day late (my flight was delayed) and was trying to figure out how so many people were so friendly all ready, and how I had missed that boat. Come to find out it was really only a small group of students who attended the summer session that knew each other and I still had time to make friends, which I promptly did. The people who I chatted with and ate lunch with during orientation are still my closet friends at the end of the year. Orientation is an intense week where everyone is trying to be on their best behavior, so don’t judge too many books by their covers. During orientation you’ll get information on everything from curriculum, the global leadership modules, how to register, and what classes you’ll be taking, to the ultra important team assignments. We also did a team building activity at City Park and did a community service project. You’ll be introduced to the career services staff, learn how to work with people from different cultures, and learn about all of the institutes that Tulane has to offer. Like I said, a lot of information, but it’s a great time to make a solid first impression on the faculty and staff and of course this is New Orleans so there are lots of social events that take place after hours. A word of caution, during orientation everything is easy, you get to campus and there’s breakfast waiting for you, the Dean comes in and gives an uplifting speech, you eat lunch with your classmates, and everything is pretty peachy. Then day one of classes start, there’s no more breakfast, the professors are no longer speaking in hypotheticals, and the Dean has left you to fend for yourself. My advice….. think of orientation as a one week vacation, enjoy it. Your life over the next two years will not be that sweet again. Meet everyone that you can, read your student handbook (there’s a lot of useful information in there), and most importantly take the time to sit back and reflect on the two year journey that you are about to embark on. Not only is it an amazing experience, but you are at one of the best schools, in one of the best cities, and you are about to learn more in two years than some people learn in their entire careers.