For some, college may seem like a seamless transition. I always thought it would be quick and easy, but when I first got here, I felt like a fish out of water. Granted, I did have the luxury of knowing (and loving) my roommate before I arrived, but still, the transition was difficult. 

In this sense, the orientation week was incredible. 

It gave us a week-long adjustment period, which I desperately needed, and took the pressure off of college. Classes had not really started yet, assignments had not piled up, and we had a lot of time to get to know the people around us. We all met a bunch of new people, who we might not have gotten to know as well if classes had started right away, especially if we didn’t share any classes. 

For this, I am really grateful. I made good enough friends during that week that they drove me to the hospital and offered to take shifts taking care of me. While that is a very off-topic story, the fact that I had met people who were willing to stay in the emergency room with me until 4 a.m. blew my mind. If classes had started right away, I don’t think I would have formed those connections. 

Orientation week also prepared us pretty well for classes to start. 

Compared to the rigorous schedule of seminars and lectures during orientation week, my regular class schedule is pretty sweet. Not only did the seminars that filled the orientation schedule teach us to cherish the free time in the evenings, but they gave us almost all the information we could ever need entering our first year at Goshen. In that sense, I felt very prepared. 

We learned how to navigate Moodle, what the rules were, how to manage our time, and so much more. I also really appreciated how the week started out more intense and gradually became less so, especially since most of us were burned out by the end of Tuesday. 

For me, one of the most fulfilling parts of orientation week was when we went to Merry Lea. 

Back home, I worked at an urban farm, and I was really missing being out in the plants and eating fresh vegetables. Trivial as it sounds, being able to take home some vine-ripened tomatoes really made my day. Besides interacting with the animals and making a beautiful bouquet, it was just peaceful there. 

I also loved that it was included as an orientation week activity since many students likely would not experience it during their normal studies. 

I feel as though the orientation leaders deserve a massive shout-out. They were so welcoming and friendly and helped us whenever we needed it. They gave up a week out of their summer to spend it with a bunch of newbies, and I think they deserve lots of credit for that. 

There were some highs and lows (maybe in my week more than others), and a lot of last-minute changes of plan, but as a whole, I had a wonderful experience. Orientation week definitely set my Goshen College career off to a great start.