Undergraduate Programs

Reflecting on my Orientation Experience

Megan Parkman holding her diploma, standing with her parents in front of the Clarkson Golden Knights Statue

Hi All, My name is Megan Parkman, and I am a class of 2020 graduate. As I reflect back on my time at Clarkson, I am so grateful to have the friendships that I made my first year. When Clarkson says “Welcome to the Clarkson Family!” they really mean it. It actually has two meanings to me. One, Clarkson as a whole ⁠— professors, advisors, and staff. However, to me, what’s been most impactful are the friendships I made and being able to continue to grow as a young professional with these same people by my side. 

Your days at Clarkson will be filled in every way. You will likely be involved in clubs and organizations. You will be going out on fun car rides, dinner dates, and lots of academic group study time!

To all incoming students out there, when you go into this year, go in with the mindset that you will likely find many friends, find your professional role models, and also through your time at Clarkson find yourself, and this all starts at Orientation!

The move to campus can feel overwhelming. You will spend days packing, making decisions about what to bring, and how much stuff you want to have. It’s a process. You will pack the car and you will drive away from your home – knowing things are going to be different when you come back! This is a good thing, so just breathe through it!

Megan and her parents on move-in day in 2016
My parents and I, on Move-in day! Aug. 2016

When you get to campus you will be met by smiling faces, and lots of helping hands, as we have a move-in crew to help all of our first-year students move into their buildings. You might even be one of those helping next year. This is such a nice perk! Your family/support system will likely be smiling but a little emotional as well. My recommendation is to smile at them, hug them and enjoy the move-in process. 

A bed in a dorm room with decorative pillows
The bed my mom made for me!

When I moved in, my mom made a point to make my bed. At the time I was like, “This is so weird, why are you doing this?” Now I know it was her process that she needed, and she wanted to do that to support the transition.

As I said, you will meet many new people. This might feel overwhelming at times. With so many new faces, take it in and just go with the flow! One of the first things you will be doing is a floor meeting. My first-floor meeting was held outside on the lawn of IRC across from Ross. It was so much fun to be outside, the weather was great and it made it so enjoyable.

Megan and her roommate holding coffees during finals week
My Roommate and I, during finals!

This meeting is going to set up your floor rules, and you will get to know your floormates and RA. My RA from the first year is actually now one of my best friends. I text and call her regularly. She was such a great resource throughout my time at Clarkson, teaching me the structure, giving me tips on studying, professors, and classes. While not all RAs will turn into your long-term best friends, I am so happy to call her a friend! 

I met one of my now besties on move-in day when we instantly connected over her being from the same town as my grandparents! That night a group from our floor actually all got invited to go to Sergi’s (you must get Sergi’s at some point) with her and her parents. It was such a fun first night. We all piled into her Jeep Wrangler and blared the music- this became a regular thing for us in the near future! Then got to have a nice dinner and learn more about our new neighbors, and soon-to-be friends!

animated waving Clarkson University pennant

My advice as I reflect on those first few days would be to take a deep breath and walk into it with the most open mindset possible! You will find people who are very different from you and you will find surprising connections with so many of your new classmates.

Megan and her friends from her floor having a dinner date at the local buffet
One of many floor friend dinner dates!

A tip to help you on your first day is to find a group of your new friends, grab your schedules and go find your classes together. Not only does this help each of you get to know each other, but it will also help you know more about where buildings and classrooms are in relation to each other. Expert tip: keep your schedule as your phone background your first few days of classes so it’s easily accessible!

Now that you know a little more about my orientation experience check out the details of yours below!

During orientation, you will start to build friendships that will last a lifetime. This is a time to orient yourself on campus, meet new people around you and in the community. You will attend Convocation, events, and some training. The activities fair is a huge event, and for many, it is so much fun.

Move-In Day Video

Things not to miss on the schedule!

Virtual Playfair: A virtual team building session to meet and get to know other incoming first-year students!

This one is new since I had my orientation experience- but it seems like a great way to start making connections with students prior to being on campus!

Floor Meetings– A meeting run by your RA- Resident Director

This is where you get all the floor rules worked out! This is a wonderful time to learn about each other and see who you want to make connections with and what you might have in common with one another.

Outdoor Game Night: S’mores, lawn games– held at Cheel Lawn/Student Center Firepit

Always a good time! Some of you might find it hard at first to spend time in your rooms, so make sure to take advantage of the opportunities provided to socialize.

Movie on the Lawn

t’s always fun to watch a movie on Cheel lawn! The campus is beautiful this time of year and Cheel lawn is no exception.

Ice Breakers & Sessions

While they are always a little awkward, the goal is to help familiarize you with others and build relationships, this is so important these people will be around you for four years or more! If nothing else, find someone who will commiserate with you!

Convocation: A ceremony to welcome incoming students

Fireworks blooming in the night sky over Holcroft House, Clarkson University
Holcroft Knight

This one is kind of interesting, for me what was cool is that it’s held in Cheel Arena, and for the first time you and your class will all be in the same place! 

Holcroft Knight: FIREWORKS!

Always cool and unavoidable since they are right over Holcroft – next to first year housing, so you might as well go enjoy all the things together!

CUSA Carnival

This is a great time to see any clubs/organizations that might be present and learn a little bit about them- they usually have fun games!

Activities Fair: Monday, August 30, 2021

This one is a must-not-miss! There are so many organizations on campus, go and find the ones that speak to your interests the most- you will always find one! Your clubs and organizations will be a great place to meet your new lifelong friends as well. Also, this is something that is not just specific to first-year students, every year you can go and find a new club if you want to! 

I know how overwhelming it may seem to make the transition to college and that’s what makes orientation so great, it is designed to help you make connections and stay active your first few days on campus! I hope you have a wonderful orientation and a great first semester at Clarkson University!

Author: Megan Parkman

Communication B.S Class of 2020 Digital Marketing Specialist Marketing & External Relations

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