Head Orientation Counsellors welcome Freshmen with fond memories

Everyone remembers Orientation Week at Carnegie Mellon. Almost every hour of every day is jam packed with unfamiliar but awesome places, people and activities. This year promises to be no different. The following are excerpts from letters written by each of the Head Orientation Counsellors describing what orientation week means to them. They range from informative and exciting to deeply personal and heart warming. Enjoy!

David Ott — Stever House

Orientation was the first thing that opened me up and integrated me into this school and city. Orientation made me feel comfortable and it introduced me to friends I would hold close throughout my time here. I hope this year’s orientation week can do the same for all of you! You will be challenged both socially and academically, meet many people from different cultures and backgrounds, and create memories that will last for the rest of your life. Get excited for orientation!

Keep your hearts and minds open to new and unfamiliar situations. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone once in a while. You never know what interesting opportunities await you.

Evans Hauser — Donner House

Orientation is an action-packed week of events that give you a chance to meet your class, Carnegie Mellon, and the greater Pittsburgh area. Because of the energy brought by the student body and fresh invigorating environment, many Tartans look back on Orientation fondly as one of their top moments during their stay at Carnegie Mellon. You may meet your best friend during Orientation, be inspired to pursue a path that was previously unknown, or simply start to become acquainted with your dorm community and Carnegie Mellon’s incredible facilities.

These new experiences may come easy, which is incredibly inspiring to me. If moving to a new place gives you butterflies, embrace the feeling and hold onto it, since that nervousness is what makes moments like Orientation special.

Josh Zak — Residence on Fifth and Shirley Apartments

Carnegie Mellon is a place where you can challenge yourself in so many ways. Not only do we have world-class academic programs, we are also a student community full of different people with different interests who are all heading down different paths, but we have one thing in common: this university. We (including you!) as students have the freedom to pursue our passions and discover what really gets us excited about life alongside some truly amazing classmates. For me one of those passions has been Orientation, so I cannot wait for you all to experience it with me.

As someone who has dedicated more time and heart to Orientation than any other program on campus, I would like to tell you that it is a time of self-discovery and class unity. If you truly allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone, you are going to meet so many new people and I can assure you that you will be inspired by the unparalleled passion of your peers. Orientation gave me the feeling of support and community that has driven me to make the most of my time here at Carnegie Mellon. I hope you will allow it to do that for you as well.

Laurel Beatty — Mudge House

I grew up about 45 minutes away from Carnegie Mellon, which made it seem like moving a relatively short distance wouldn’t be a big change. However, leaving home is leaving home no matter how short or long the distance, so it’s a huge adjustment for everyone. My fears began to ease after my first night of Orientation as I started to feel comfortable in my new “home,” and the week turned out to be one of my most defining Carnegie Mellon experiences.

Orientation is the perfect environment to take a first step out of your comfort zone and become part of the unique and very welcoming Carnegie Mellon community!

Mya Snyder — Morewood E-Tower

If you’re feeling a bit scared about life away from home, I can tell you that I was feeling the exact same way four years ago. I was a nervous-wreck coming to college. I was terrified of never finding friends, never fitting in, never finding a major I was passionate about, and almost everything else that comes with going away to college. However, I can honestly say that buying into orientation was the best decision I made. Putting myself out there and being myself openly in front of everyone I met that week helped me learn to never underestimate the importance and the great reward that comes with showing everyone who I was. Carnegie Mellon is a beautifully diverse place, and coming here with an open mind will take you farther than you could imagine. Be open minded with yourself and everyone you meet in order to get the most out of your orientation and college experience.

Nikhil Nilakantan — Residences on the Hill

So here you are, fresh-faced and bushy-tailed — and nervous, no doubt — ready to embark on a journey that no one, maybe not even you, knows where it leads. But if I may, allow me to give you some tips for the road ahead that I wish I had when I began my adventure. One, be fearless. You’ll hear it over and over again, but college is a time when you should be tearing down walls, not putting them up; college is a time when your comfort zone triples and quadruples in size; college is a time when you realize the full potential of what living in this world means, so embrace the challenge and push yourself to explore and experience. Two, don’t forget the details. Put your heart, mind, and soul into even the smallest acts. It’s those small acts that remind us why it’s important to stay healthy, be happy, and reach for success. And third, laugh. Every day. Take pride in what you do and where you are and never forget that a smile is one of the most powerful gestures. It can provide comfort, deal forgiveness, lift spirits, and start relationships.

But perhaps most importantly, prepare yourselves for a whirlwind first week at Carnegie Mellon. Orientation is the launch pad for all your college careers, and, make no mistake, by the end of the week you will all be ready to lift off.

Niko Torres — Residences on the Hill

I remember when I first moved in and all of the anxieties I had about what college would bring for me. I was nervous that I would be way too overwhelmed by everything, I was worried that my transition to college wouldn’t be smooth, and I wasn’t even sure if Carnegie Mellon was the right school for me. Although I had all these apprehensions, I quickly learned that almost everyone else had similar feelings, and that I was not alone in my thoughts. I soon became a part of an incredible campus community that valued me just as much as I valued it. Through all of the people that I interacted with and experiences that I had during Orientation and my first year here, I realized that I had developed an amazing support system and newfound sense of my place within this community.