By Angel Kalra
[media-credit name=“Photo courtesy of Angel Kalra” align=”alignleft” width=”150″][/media-credit]Being the youngest child in a family where all my older siblings have attended BYU, I was sure that I knew everything there was to know about being a freshman. Since I already knew so much about BYU, I didn’t need an orientation, did I? I sure did. I know there will be a lot of other incoming freshmen who feel New Student Orientation might be a waste of their time, but from my experience, I have learned there is something that everyone can gain from it.
BYU’s New Student Orientation (NSO) is held every semester the weekend before school starts. All students who register for NSO are placed into ‘Y groups’ with two Y group leaders — upperclassmen who volunteer to help the incoming freshmen get settled into their college lives.
A big part of the orientation is the Campus Tour. On a campus with almost 300 buildings, it is really easy to get lost, even if you’ve been around before. NSO also included a detailed Library Tour where we learned about the various resources available that — not surprisingly — many upperclassmen are still unaware of. Much of the library is still a mystery to me, but at least I can find my way around it now.
Another thing that made NSO so valuable was that it helped us become familiar with BYU culture. “The Tradition of Honor” was an exciting introduction to the BYU Honor Code which inspired me to live and love the Honor Code. I had a chance to experience my first BYU Devotional and see what it feels like to learn in an environment where the Spirit is always present.
A less structured, but equally important, thing at NSO was talking to the Y group leaders and listening to them share their experiences. They are people who have been through the same situations and know what it’s like to be new to BYU. They are friendly and kind, and it’s not hard to tell they genuinely care about the new students and want them to feel comfortable and welcomed.
Y groups are organized so that students with the same classes are put in groups together, so NSO is the perfect way to find your first few friends at college. BYU makes sure that there are plenty of fun activities all throughout NSO like Y group lunches and the much anticipated Friday and Saturday night events which included dances, bowling, a Divine Comedy show and other fun activities. It is clear that BYU spends so much time and effort planning these events because they want the new freshmen to begin college feeling a sense of belonging and excitement.
Starting college can be a frightening experience. You are unsure what to expect, scared of what challenges will come your way and often all alone. There is so much more to gain from New Student Orientation than the free food. It gives you a little introduction to what the years ahead are about to bring. You meet new people who are in the same position as you. You learn important things about campus and how BYU works. There’s something in it for everyone.
I know that BYU spends a considerable amount of money on New Student Orientation every semester, but I also know that it is worth every penny. It definitely is the best way to begin college. I want the Office of First-Year Experience to know how much I appreciate their efforts to look out for new students, and if there is anyone that is wondering whether or not it is worth it to attend NSO, it definitely is.
Angel Kalra is a freshman from Goa, India. This viewpoint represents her opinions and not necessarily those of BYU, its administration or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.