A Freshman’s guide to orientation weekend | Opinion

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One of the most wonderful times of the year is about to descend upon Spokane and Gonzaga. No, it’s not March Madness, the first snowfall of the year or even the first day of classes. It’s fall orientation.

Although the forthcoming weekend is by nature a personal time for family, a laborious move-in process and hard goodbyes, the ultimate goal is to ensure new Zags feel situated and comfortable in their new home. 

With that being said, if a new student were to do everything listed on the new student orientation schedule, it would likely be the busiest weekend they’ll have for the entirety of freshman year. Here are some do’s and don’ts of orientation weekend. 

One of the most underappreciated places in the John J. Hemmingson Center, GU’s student hub, is the Next Gen Tech Bar. If you have a phone, tablet, computer or gaming console, they’ll hook it up to the campus Wi-Fi and might even give you an ethernet cable if you ask nicely. Don’t forget about Next Gen after orientation weekend is over — they’re the go-to place for solutions to any technical issues.

Freshmen, trust me on this one. Avoid the COG as much as humanly possible during opening weekend. While your parents are still in Spokane, go explore some restaurants near campus like Wolffy’s, Pita Pit, Clark’s Fork or Caruso’s. You’ll have more than enough time to get to know the COG. 

Welcome Night is another event you can’t miss. If you plan on going to any basketball games this season, this is the event for you.

Along with learning the traditional chants and dances of the games, there are some entertaining activities and welcoming rituals for new students. It’s easily considered the most enjoyable night of welcome weekend. 

For religious Zags, the Welcome Mass is another must-attend event. Along with a speech from President Thayne McCulloh, attendees will receive a warm welcome from the Jesuits on campus. A fair warning;:this one’s a tear jerker, bring tissues. 

While GU’s website may make it seem like some events are mandatory, none of the events at orientation really are. There are no punishments or repercussions to fear if you’d rather spend some extra time with your family, friends or roommates. Don’t overextend yourself, orientation has the tendency to be a bit overwhelming. I highly suggest skipping some events. 

I distinctly remember hating orientation weekend because of its strange focus on “letting go.” It almost felt as if the school was attempting to brainwash you into forgetting the last 17 to 18 years that brought you to this moment to begin with.

Instead of following everything GU asks of you, use the weekend the way you envisioned it. I suggest new students should see the orientation schedule as more of a suggestion of activities, rather than a checklist of meetings and due dates. 

No, I’m not saying skip every small group meeting and event, as those are important for knowing your community. Instead, internalize the whole experience, there aren’t many times in life you’ll move into college for the first time, let alone a special place like GU. Share the weekend with your family, your new friends and peers and maybe with your Snapchat story.

Congratulations new Zags, welcome home.

Luke Modugno is the opinion editor. Follow him on Twitter: @lmodugno5

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