A new school year brings many new faces to Principia. These new students have taken part in a great amount of activity in the past weeks, namely the New Student Orientation (NSO). The question presents itself: Was all this activity really necessary? Was it worth it?
There seems to be one main assumption that the administration makes about the Resident Assistant (RA) program and the NSO: that the programs are useful to incoming freshmen. But many students believe that they could be changed in order to be more effective.
Freshman Zach Grennie stated that NSO was “useful but maybe a little drawn out.” In general, students appreciate the idea of the NSO, though many believe its execution could be improved.
Grennie also commented on the RA program. He said, “It is great, especially because having older college students shepherd you makes for a more comfortable atmosphere.” He also thought that it would be “overwhelming for the RC to not have RAs” and that “RAs ease the process of being a freshman.”
Freshman Rachel Cook previously attended the Upper School. She said, “[New Student Orientation] was long… [The administrators] assumed we didn’t know as much as we did, for both upper school and non-upper school students.”
Cook added, “There were too many lectures. I love lectures and I will bring a notepad and take notes, but with so many lectures it wasn’t fun any more. We needed more fun group activities.”
Freshman Noelle Shoemake said, “Freshman orientation was awesome. I got to meet a lot of new people, the environment was really friendly and inviting, and it was a fun time.” When asked to comment on how the athletic program fit in with NSO, she said, “I felt with practice there were a lot of opportunities to bond with [non-volleyball] people that I missed, but I was able to bond with my team, so it was a positive experience.” From the standpoint of a freshman athlete who did not go to the Upper School, all aspects of the orientation seemed positive.
Freshman Keith Reed said, “I loved [NSO], and it was where I made all my friends.”
Freshmen aren’t the only students that attend NSO. Transfer students, like sophomore Amanda Loudon, had a lot to say about orientation. “While I found a lot of it really helpful and relevant, I found the majority of it really tedious and repetitive because it was focused on surviving your first year of college, [and] I’ve already done that,” said Loudon.
“It was great… to be on campus early and [become] more familiar with it, [as well as] getting to know the new students along the way,” she added. While some aspects of NSO might be useful for transfer students, perhaps they need an experience separate from the freshmen.
Sophomore Robby Butler, an RA in Anderson, said, “The active impact that an RA has is showing students what’s so good about [Principia].” From Butler’s perspective, it is very important for freshmen to recognize why Principia is the right place for them. With the help of the RAs, freshmen can easily come to this conclusion.
While from the outside it may seem that the NSO and the RA program may be unnecessary, a conversation with someone that has participated in these programs may change your mind. However, it also seems that there could be changes made to the NSO because it received mixed reviews. New students completed a survey at the end of NSO, which will expose students’ opinions about the program and give its administrators suggestions about what to change for future years.