Event of the month: Orientation Week 2019
This past week was that time of the year again at Jacobs University – the one where enthusiastic freshmen and their proud parents navigate their way through our green campus and its aesthetic brick buildings, guided by enthusiastic student advisors. It was Orientation Week’19.
All around me, I heard echoes of students asking one another where they’re from, watch timid smiles of new friendships and the awe and uncertainty of stepping out of home and settling down at Jacobs. I was filled with this sense of nostalgia – I remember, with vivid clarity, the first time I stepped foot at this university and the overwhelming feeling of transitioning from a dependant school-going student to an independent university one.
Orientation week is not just a week teeming with activities to introduce freshmen to everything Jacobs, but also about the emotions that fill every student; the excitement and the fear that accompanies them as they embark on this journey and it’s about understanding that at Jacobs, we’re incredibly respectful towards every culture and everyone’s background. “It’s been an unexpectedly amazing experience. Initially, I thought meeting so many people from different walks of life would be a challenge, but it turned out to be one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done!” exclaimed Emmanuel Sebastien, a gleamy eyed freshman from The Philippines.
As the only week throughout the year where there are no deadlines and no academic pressure, it is perhaps the best opportunity to live in the moment and not worry about anything in the past or the future. The general feeling around O-week is so electrifying that it is pretty much impossible not to enjoy it fully.
O-Week 2019, like every other O-week that came before it, had the students scramming all over campus – attending all kinds of information sessions during the day, and the most exciting social events during the evening. The parties, Ice-Cream Friending or the College Social Nights, are great opportunities to hang out with people you just met, and trying to remember as many names as possible. The Community guideline workshops and House Rules Information sessions in the mornings meant learning how to be a good friend, a good neighbour and a good citizen.
Although O-week is mostly about having fun and meeting your friends, it can also get stressful at times – the schedule is intense. “It is tough sometimes, because of the influx of high amounts of information all at the same time, but the nights have been nicer; they provide a more relaxed scenario for interactions,” said Parth Shukla, a Computer Science major of the class of 2022.
The organisation of O-week is no easy task either; it takes nearly half a year of organising and scheduling and structuring, and there’s no guarantee that everything will go according to plan. But nearly all of it went smoother than expected, much to the wonder of the freshmen.
Through seven days of figuring out German paperwork and making new friends at every breakfast, lunch and dinner table, Orientation Week gives students a taste of the idiosyncrasies of this tiny and tight-knit community like nothing else can.
In short, Orientation Week is so crazy that even at Graduation, 3 years on, the memories of this first week at Jacobs University is as clear as day. “It all comes back to you, all the first times and especially how they make you make friends during O-week,” said Jon Lim, an alumnus of Jacobs University (Class of 2018). One cannot help but smile and reminisce about how time flew by between Orientation Week and graduation; between working on assignments until sunrise and instant noodles at 3 a.m. We want to welcome all of our incoming freshies and returning students!