Classes are rarely the priority during the first week of university. Instead, new students are bustling about to get to know the campus, meet new people, and settle into the next phase of their academic career. This whirlwind of activity can be as disorientating as it is dazzling, so it is very important to keep a steady head through the events.
Normally, universities hold an Orientation Week, where clubs and classes hold presentations and activities to get “freshies” involved. While this is normally a real-time event, most campuses have gone digital this year for obvious reasons.
In celebration of the start of the Academic Year, we have
prepared a guide to making the most of your O-week. Get yourself properly oriented,
and have a blast!
Register early to avoid missing out on important dates and information. Most universities have an “onboarding” programme that walks you through the orientation week, which you would do well to read before anything else.
Registration is doubly important in the current digital environment, as almost all activities require registration to enter. It’s a good idea to get your university email and particulars set up early so that you can apply for whatever you’re interested in.
2. Plan your
A lot of stuff is happening during orientation. A LOT. So if you don’t prioritise what you want to do, or plan your days properly, there’s a high chance you’ll miss out on that seminar you wanted to hear or that activity you wanted to watch. Also, classes open for registration before or during orientation, so make sure you have signed up for the important ones!
3. Find out
essential services and school resources
It’s essential that you know where
to go for help when you need it. Trawl through your university website for the
relevant essentials like locations, opening hours, email addresses and
As a minimum, find out about:
Student help or student services
Mental health resources
You don’t want to be frantically
searching for a number or business card when you’re in trouble. Prepare early
and rest easy.
classes and seminars
A key part of orientation week is
the “open classes” many professors hold, where you get to experience what their
course offerings are. Don’t just focus on core modules or your interests, and
try to “sample” the many offerings out there – you might just find your next
elective or a lecturer you really want to learn from!
Also, keep one or two spots in your
schedule free for a campus tour or introductory presentation. These tend to
happen only during orientation week, and are a great way to get to know the
campus and the people in it. (This author fondly remembers “An Introduction to
Academic Writing”, a two-hour lecture during O-week that saved her grade in
years to come.)
Speaking of maximising your gains
during orientation… Talk, talk and talk! As a new student, no question is too
stupid to ask and no fact too trivial to leave out. Also, there will be a
variety of administrative staff, lecturers, seniors and students on-hand to
answer your questions, so this is no time to be shy.
As a bonus, you’ll probably make
some friends too. Everyone is getting to know others during orientation week,
so it’s a great opportunity to strike up conversations, exchanges contacts, and
just hang out. (Maybe digitally, this time round.)
6. Check out
the clubs and services
One of the highlights of university
is the extensive range of clubs. You’re no longer confined to whatever CCAs
your JC had, most universities have a club for just about anything and
everything. (Examples including Chocolate Making, Robotics, and even Sleeping.)
Of course, if you have an interest
you wish to pursue your decision is pretty much set. But for those of us
looking around, we recommend trying out as many clubs as strikes your fancy and
seeing if you’re interested in going further with them. And if you’re studying
overseas, your university’s Singaporean Student Association is a great place to
Orientation week marks your memorable entrance into university life. Get your feet wet and have a blast!
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