Note from the Editorial Board: Staff Editorials are the weekly opinion of the editorial staff. For this Poly Press Pass issue, we decided to let the Press Pass members put their thoughts together into a special piece on Student Orientation and Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond.
Every person who has been a college freshman in their life knows the feeling—quiet anticipation, nervously waiting to meet your future classmates, wondering who you’ll end up being friends with. Upon arrival to the RPI campus, students were greeted by upperclassmen, including fraternity and sorority members, summer staff, and their soon-to-be-beloved Residence Assistants and Learning Assistants, helping them with unpacking, getting situated, and feeling welcome. The residence halls were busy and friendly, the bustling students taking the time to wander from room to room to greet their floormates. Our first few days here were a string of awkward ice breakers, waiting in line at Commons Dining Hall, and being shepherded from activity to activity.
Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond was slightly less conventional than we anticipated. Although there was still the same amount of forced interaction as our Student Orientation sessions, we also had the opportunity to explore organizations and clubs on campus while meeting new people. Without NRB, we all likely would have spent the six days before classes holed up in our rooms watching Netflix. Instead, we were strongly encouraged to communicate with a wider scope of people than just our residence halls. It is definitely worthwhile to participate in as many events on campus as possible to make the best of your time here. NRB activities gave us the opportunity to learn more about the Rensselaer Union and other features of student life that we otherwise would have had to figure out by ourselves along the way.
There were, however, some improvements that could have been made. Confusion stemmed from inconsistent timing, schedules, and instructions from our NRB advisors. As Poly Press Pass members, we had difficulty locating NRB events at their designated locations. The long lines at Commons and the packed Union during the hypnotist show were testaments to the unusually large class size this year.
NRB is just the beginning of a long journey for the RPI Class of 2020 and was quite an experience for the incoming freshman this year. Overall, we found the experience to be enjoyable, informative, and, in the case of Union After Dark, hilarious and fun.