What does fall orientation look like for incoming first years?

Current first years began their college careers working through their computer screens, but it would appear the incoming first years may get the chance at more in-person events

Z Martinez, Senior Reporter

Orientation for first-years students was altered in 2020, as with everything at Hamline. At first, new incoming students felt fairly nervous about not only being new college students but having to  make connections virtually. It had been a hard transition, yet students rose to the challenge and reflected positively on Hamline’s choices.

First year Jasmin Munoz talked about how she believes Hamline did a good job in handling the very sudden situation and  finding ways to make campus welcoming and safe for first-year students. She also felt that because so many events had to be canceled or moved online, she had missed out on what  a typical first year looks like for a college student.

“I definitely think that I did miss out a little bit on the first year,” Munoz said. “Because you know the first year you meet like new people, you join like groups and organizations. And you know we didn’t really get to do that.”

This is something that first year Isaac Alie also agreed with. 

“Even though it was online I did get to meet and get close with a couple of people,” Alie said. “But I feel like it would have been a lot better if it was like in person like that relationship would have been built, even more.”

New Student Programs (NSP) has brought up the chance of there being a hybrid style introduction for incoming first year students. 

“The fall is still a little bit up in the air, because we haven’t received the recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health, regarding the return to campus in the fall so we’re waiting to hear from that,” Becky Kaarbo said, the assistant director for NSP.

Kaarbo also mentioned that some aspects of the upcoming year will still be in-person. 

“We want to make sure that our new students experience campus for the first time outside of the pressures of their first day of class,” Kaarbo said. “It  can be scary the first time to step on campus on moving day and then you go straight to your first class and so our orientation program will still work to bridge that and provide some programming on campus.”

Munoz felt that this is a step in the right direction and that incoming first year students will be able to make the transition from high school to college much easier. 

“I actually think that’s kind of good, because we didn’t really get the whole experience,” Munoz said.

Despite feeling disconnected from their own first-year experience, both Munoz and Alie felt that Hamline handled the situation well given the circumstances. 

“This was like the first time a scenario like this has come up, and they took action real quick, and they did the best that they could with what they had,” Alie said.

There are still plans for the hybrid-style meetings and events in the upcoming school year that will hopefully help new students adapt to their new college life.

“There’s not a ton specific about fall orientation that I would have to share right now, just because it could all change,” Kaarbo said. “But what we do know and what I can commit to is we will work hard to make sure that we prioritize the student experience in a way that… allows students to feel connected to campus [and] also keeps them safe and healthy.”