Video by Janiah Adams/PantherNOW
Janiah Adams/Contributing Writer
FIU’s Orientation and Parent Programs department worked hard to make sure incoming freshmen were excited and prepared for their transition into college in the second freshmen orientation of the summer, officials said.
On Thursday, May 25, and Friday, May 26, students attending the orientation at Modesto Maidique Campus were able to spend the entire day seeing everything FIU had to offer, including an overnight stay at Lakeview Hall, which cost $100. Students who attended the Biscayne Bay campus orientation paid $70 for the entire day.
“Coming from the high school environment into a huge institution like FIU can be really overwhelming, so we really try to have them acclimate to the university by learning about all the resources,” said Korrin Anderson, the interim director for the Orientation and Parent programs.
Besides teaching students about the different resources available to them, the orientation is also meant to help students form connections, according to Anderson.
“Forming that first connection with their peer advisor is a very important link to help them feel like someone cares about them, like someone is invested in their success,” Anderson said.
During the orientation, students were split up into groups to help them meet other students. Hajar Wahohm, an incoming freshmen majoring in computer science, said she felt right at home during the orientation.
“I didn’t know if I was going to meet a lot of people because it’s a summer orientation, and most of my friends are doing fall, so I didn’t really know anyone coming here,” Wahohm said. “It’s really fun, everyone’s really nice. They hyped everything up really nicely, so I knew everything was going to be super fun. I love the campus, it’s beautiful. It’s nice and homey.”
There is also an optional orientation for parents and family members. This orientation, according to Anderson, also includes a parent luncheon.
“It’s a really cool collaboration with our Center for Teaching and Learning, of actually bringing in folks that are more engaged on the faculty side of the university and helping the parents understand what is the student experience in college and particularly in the classroom, because we do have a large population of first generation college students, and their parents may not have attended college,” Anderson said.
Sophia Gonzalez, an incoming freshman majoring in anthropology, said her parents are from Chile and have not completed a college education.
“It’s [orientation] kind of helped me a lot because [my parents] didn’t have what I have, so they motivate me to do better,” Gonzalez said. “My mom graduated from high school and that’s about it, and my dad had only one or two years of college, so it’s kind of a struggle for them for where they are now. So, they want what’s better for me and going to university is really good.”
University police, the dean of students and other departments of the university speak during the parent’s orientation to address some of the concerns they may have.
“The parents are more concerned about the safety things, and they’re really like: ‘Are my kids going to be ok?’” said Anderson. “We try to reassure them that their students have chosen a great place to go to school and there are all these resources there to help support them.”
One of the parents who attended the orientation, Cleve Connell, was happy with the orientation.
“I feel great about it,” Connell said. “After yesterday, and the first few hours of what I see, I feel much more comfortable,” Connell said. “The teachers, the professors, faculty, staff – excellent.”
The department, Anderson said, expect that the incoming freshmen class will be a great fit for FIU.
“We really do want to bring in students who are going to be successful here, who are going to find their place while still being diverse,” Anderson said. “So, we definitely have that, I think, in the class.
“They were a very excited group and I know our peer advisors loved working with them,” Anderson said. “FIU is such a unique place and so all these students are really lucky to be here and we’re lucky to have them.”
For more information about Orientation and Parent Programs, you can visit GC 189 at MMC and WUC 256 at BBC. You can also call 305-348-6414 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.