The Importance of Your Freshmen Orientation

Amidst all of the packing, excited phone calls, and tearful realizations from your parents that you are "all grown up," it can be easy to forget about your freshmen orientation. After all, at most schools, freshmen orientation – or "fish camp," as it is also often called – is optional. And when you already have so many other things to take care of, such as shopping for dorm supplies and worrying about whether or not you will like your roommate, attending something optional can seem downright irresponsible. Yet, freshmen orientation is held for a reason and you should make time to attend your school’s fish camp.

Originally established to introduce incoming students to the college campus and school traditions, fish camp has since morphed into all these things as well as a great opportunity for freshmen to socialize and get to know one another. Freshmen year is a stressful time for many students, especially for those who leaving home for the first time in their lives. At fish camp, students have the opportunity to bond with one another before classes begin and make friendships before they even move to the campus. Many transfer students are also invited to attend freshmen orientation, as they too are new to the school and should be initiated. Many fish camps are led by upperclassmen currently enrolled in the school as well, so when you attend fish camp, you also have the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered by students who have already lived through several semesters at the school. Oftentimes, their advice can actually be more helpful than the advice of a faculty member.

Even commuter students and other students who do not plan to spend a lot of time on campus would benefit from attending fish camp because they will get to know the lay of the land and establish potentially valuable connections. Your future classmates could be at fish camp, and getting to know them can be immensely helpful because they could be your future group project members or study group partners.

In addition to the social aspects, many schools now also use fish camp as a way to get a lot of the paperwork out of the way. Students can get their student ID photographs taken and parking passes and dorm keys handed to them before they even begin classes, which will help them to save time once the semester kicks off. Whether it is for practicality reasons or for socializing, attending fish camp is something all new students should do.

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