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Orientation at Tufts

     The conclusion of the Gantcher dinner. Photo by Gabrielle Levy. 

During Orientation week, you're going to feel like you're pulled in a million different directions.  You've got required activities coordinated through your advisory group, choosing classes and registration, and moving in and getting to know your roommate and your hallmates.  And then, you have to try to decide which of the many, many events and activities to try and squeeze into your limited free time.  It's only the first week, and you're already feeling the pressure.

Stop. Breathe.

While it's true that some of the decisions you make this week will have a great impact on your Tufts experience (or at least your first few months), Orientation is designed to give you the maximum amount of exposure to what your options are so that, when you do decide, you can make the most of your choices.

One of your most valuable resources will be your Orientation Leader, an older student who will be coordinating and guiding you through your first semester, regardless of which type of advising program you're in.  This person can give you real, useful advice for how to navigate the craziness of starting college based on their own experiences.  Remember, though, that everyone's opinion is different, so if you get a chance to meet other upperclassmen on campus (other Orientation leaders, students running pre-Orientation classes, upperclassmen who have nothing better to do with their time than move into their off campus apartments weeks earlier...) take advantage of their knowledge.  No question is a stupid question for a brand new freshman, at least not for the first month. 

Since this senior has been to three orientations and participated in the Wilderness pre-orientation, here's a list of Orientation Week MUST SEEs:  

1.  Hillel Bagel brunch.  Orientation week is all about free stuff - at the bagel brunch (always at 11 AM on Sunday) will not only feature free bagels and lox but also performances by all of the Tufts a cappella groups. 

2.  O-Shows, of the theatre and a cappella variety.  Theatre spans two nights (one play and one musical) in the Balch Arena Theatre and the a cappella show goes down twice, in the Goddard Chapel.

3.  Candle Lighting ceremony.  Take advantage of the newness of College and do something that seems cool and traditional now that will only seem cheesy later.  

4.  Placement exams.  Don't skip these!!  This is your opportunity to save yourself a lot of unnecessary work and will allow you to place into upper level language, math, and science courses.  If you think you should skip introductory courses for subjects not included, don't hesitate to go see a department head about possible options.

5. The Open Rehearsal for singing at Tufts.  Representatives and returning members from the University choruses will be on hand to answer your questions. 

6.  Tufts Dance party.  It takes place in Campus Center, it's less gross than a frat house basement, and it's a good time.  Why not?

7.  Food fair on Fletcher Field (nice alliteration, Tufts).  Dining services shows you what it has to offer in an outdoor BBQ-style fair.

8.  Trips to Boston.  Especially if you're from out of town, take advantage of the free ride to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (always free admission for Tufts students), Target (you can't get there on public transportation, at least not easily).

9.  Discover Davis.  Tufts Orientation Committee is working with businesses in Davis Square to provide discounts and freebies to incoming Tufts students to help them get acquainted to the Square.  Click to read Davis Square 101.