Blog’s Declassified Frosh Survival Guide: (Dis)orientation

The Orientation Welcoming Committee’s mammoth newsletter for new students has finally been released on the interwebs. If you’re a first year, you can expect to get one of these little suckers along with your Brown ID, the key to your room, and various other goodies when you first arrive on campus.  With its exhaustive list of 100+ orientation events, the orientation packet might seem somewhat unwieldy, but fear not. We’re here to weed out the fun and informative from the boring and unnecessarily.

A small minority of the events in the packet have been listed as “REQUIRED for all students.” Most of them are not listed as such, but we believe that some of the events have been miscategorized. Here are our corrections:

Optional events that should not be missed:

 Midnight organ concert (12 am, September 5): Orientation can be hugely tiring. You’ll find yourself having the same conversation (“Where are you from? What are you concentrating in? Are you excited for classes to start?”) at least fifty times during the first forty-eight hours. By the end of the second day, you might need a rest from the seemingly endless train of clumsy conversation. The midnight organ concert is a perfect opportunity to both relax and continue to bond with other first years without the constant pressure that comes with the more meet-and-greet type events. Besides, even if you’re not exhausted, you won’t want to miss hearing Brown’s kickass resident organist.  

The 248th Annual Orientation Dance (10:30 pm, September 5): The dance is a good opportunity to meet and socialize with people who aren’t from your dorm. You’ll discover that there’s more to life (read: partying) at Brown than the fourth floor of Keeney.

Activities Night 2011 (7 pm, September 8): This is a biggie. If you want to be involved in student activities at Brown, you should attend this fair. Hundreds of student groups bring out the big guns for this event. It can be a bit overwhelming, and you’ll find yourself on a lot of listservs afterwards. It’s okay, though, because you can narrow down the list of organizations that you actually want to be a part of later. If you’ve done things right, you should leave with dozens of fliers, a lot of candy and, if you’re really good, a t-shirt. Come check us out, too (we’ll be in the publications section)!

Class of 2015 Sky Photo (4:30 pm, September 9): Two words: free t-shirt.

Sex @ Brown (7 pm, September 10): Alexis Saccoman ’04 is a god among men. Broaching a sometimes very awkward subject with masterful class and unmatched humor, his annual “research presentation” is more of a sex pep talk than a formal lecture. It’ll make you feel all ooey gooey inside, and, with any luck, you’ll learn something, too.

Unit Wars (2 pm, September 11): The biggest error in judgment made by the OWC is not making this event mandatory for all first years. Your unit is comprised of your floor, or, in some cases, several floors from your residence hall. At Unit Wars, you participate in a series of increasingly silly contests with your unit.  But it ends up being about so much more than shaving balloons, eating a whole watermelon, or tugging war. This is the event where you’ll really get to know your unit-mates, and you’ll form lasting friendships. Don’t miss it!

Required events that should be missed:

Unit Dinner (5 pm, September 4): A lot of people skip this one. That isn’t to say that your dormmates will all skip dinner, but people just don’t really abide by the rules of the event. Some may eat elsewhere , while others will eat with first years they’ve met who are from (gasp!) other units. This is a good event if you still haven’t met most of your dorm/hallmates, but don’t feel pressured into going if you have better places to be.

First Readings Seminar (9 am, September 5): Newsflash, Brown: no one likes required summer reading, and no one does it. A little known fact about this event is that you don’t have to go. It’s not like high school; you won’t get in trouble for not attending.

Taking the Leap (9 am, September 5): Sorry KBerge. You know that we’re big fans of yours, but this talk just doesn’t add much to the whole orientation experience. If you go, you’ll hear for the first of many, many times about how you should moderate your schedule while still taking advantage of the New Curriculum to try out new things. Your advisor will give you the same advice in many fewer words.

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