Final year Physics with Astronomy & Space Science student Lána Salmon explains what she wishes she knew before starting her Orientation Week in First Year.

Orientation is the beginners guide to University life. If you think that the start of college is just going to be a series of boring lectures, you couldn’t be more wrong. There are so many activities and experiences happening during Orientation week that it would be very hard to be bored. Not only does Orientation week make the transition into college smoother but it is a fun and adventure filled few days – a glimpse of the journey ahead. Here’s a few things I wish I’d been told before Orientation week:

  1. Check your course specific orientation timetable: Starting University can be very confusing and overwhelming – understanding timetables, doing registration, meeting new people, finding your way around campus etc. I think I got lost going to my first Orientation week welcome event (A helpful Orientation guide pointed me in the right direction!). Orientation week is about ironing out any of these worries and stresses before term starts. Each course has a course-specific orientation timetable to welcome you to your course, explain the nitty-gritty details and help you meet the new people in your course. This timetable can be found here www.ucd.ie/students/newstudents/otimes.html. Be sure to check it and follow the schedule to make the most out of Orientation week.
Don’t forget to pick up your UCD scarf at your scheduled Presidents’ Welcome at Orientation!

Don’t forget to pick up your UCD scarf at your scheduled Presidents’ Welcome at Orientation!

  1. Write down any questions you have: Between timetables, choosing modules and finding lecture theatres, starting your course can be a confusing time. Maybe there’s something on your timetable you don’t quite understand – my timetable had a module on it that I hadn’t chosen and didn’t recognise. After asking someone at the Advisory Session it was all fixed and a weight was lifted off my shoulders! Prepare any questions you have before going to Orientation – you will have the chance to speak to lecturers, advisors and students and ask them about their modules or any general queries you may have. Use this time to straighten things out before term starts. There is genuinely no such thing as a silly question! I remember having so many questions – How long does a lecture last? What is a tutorial? What happens if I’m sick and I have to miss a lab? The people at orientation are there to help you, use this opportunity to ask as many questions as you like!
Just an example of what you could get up to during Orientation – there are plenty of opportunities to ask questions! Check your timetable here: http://www.ucd.ie/students/newstudents/otimes.html

Just an example of what you could get up to during Orientation – there are plenty of opportunities to ask questions! Check your timetable here: www.ucd.ie/students/newstudents/otimes.html

  1. Get involved in your Peer Mentor Group: I am still in classes with people who I met on the first day of college in my peer mentor group, and 3 years later we are still friends! On your first day of orientation you will get a peer mentor- a 2nd or 3rd year student who is there to show you around campus, help you get to know other people and to answer any questions you may have. You will be in a group with 10-15 other people from your course so don’t be shy! Get to know the other people in your group, they will most likely be in your classes so it will be nice to see a familiar face from Orientation week once lectures start. I remember being so daunted with the number of people in my course, but having a smaller group to get to know was a nice way to meet people – and then they introduced me to their friends and so on!
Have a look out for the peer mentors and orientation guides dressed in blue!

Have a look out for the peer mentors and orientation guides dressed in blue! 

A little tip: bring your timetable along to orientation and have a look at where your lectures and tutorials are. If you don’t recognise a building or room number on the timetable, maybe you can ask your peer mentor to point it out to you on your campus tour. My peer mentor was kind enough to show me where my first ever lecture was, which made going to college on the first Monday morning a little bit easier.

 

  1. Check any other social activities going on: UCD has so many events run by clubs and societies to cater for everyone’s interests, and orientation week is no different. There is really something for everyone, so check the social timetable and see whats on. It’s a nice way to meet new people with similar interests, and maybe even to spend some time with your new peer mentor group or new friends from your course. Check the timetable here ly/FkRi303sCzj 
Just a taster of some of the events – go to the outdoor cinema, BBQ or go to a debate!

Just a taster of some of the events during orientation – go to the outdoor cinema, BBQ or go to a debate!

  1. Enjoy yourself! I know it can be easy to get stressed with all the new experiences, people and places, but Orientation week is exciting and action-packed. Speak to people about the worries and questions you have – there are so many people to help you, from lecturers to advisers to your peer mentors. Some of my fondest memories from first year are from Orientation week and the weeks that followed. Immerse yourself in college life – speak to new people, explore the campus and go to some events. All of these new experiences are part of the journey, make the most of it and enjoy it!
Last but not least, welcome to UCD!

Last but not least, welcome to UCD!

 

Myself and my friend Jessica enjoying our intro to UCD

Myself and my friend Jessica enjoying our intro to UCD

 

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