I’m A Junior In College, But This Is My First In-Person Orientation

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The year is 2020, and I’m sitting in my newly organized dorm- staring at my computer. Orientation has started and people are logging into the Zoom meeting as bagpipes play in the background. Bagpipes are my home college’s tradition to welcome first years. These bagpipes, in person, are supposedly loud, but I only have my volume up to three bars.

This was how I started my first year in college, and for much of my college career, I didn’t mind such an orientation (especially because the pandemic was to blame for such a situation).

However, experiencing my first “real” in-person orientation at Aquincum Institute of Technology has shown me otherwise.

Orientation started on a Thursday morning. With my flatmates, we took a 45-minute bus ride to the AIT campus. The bus ride required two transfers and a 10-minute walk to the campus, but I honestly didn’t mind. I could do this EVERYDAY, I thought (boy, was I wrong..).

Upon arrival, we played ice breaker activities in a group of more than 40 people. This number is undoubtedly huge, but I wonder what it would’ve been like for a size like my graduating size… The activity was hectic and people were laughing and running everywhere. I’d honestly never been in a setting like that in a long time … After the virtual orientation at my home university, school started and that was that.

The orientation continued with logistical programming – like campus policies- and we wrapped up the day with learning some Hungarian dance.

Again, in a large circle, we were led by two instructors with accompanying artists playing Hungarian music. I had been waiting for this since the morning because I love dancing; the vulnerability, yet body coordination, of the entire experience allows you to become stronger in understanding your body with your mind. And so, the dance started with everyone linking arms and doing a series of steps. Over time, the dance progressed and we picked up more complex steps. In the first 10 minutes, we were stomping, jumping, linking arms, and even giving neighboring peers hugs and pats on the back. (We were also taught to say some Hungarian words… but I couldn’t remember the long chain of words for my life) “One more dance!!” the instructor yelled.

So we did another dance- one, two, ta-ta-taa. One, two, ta-ta-taa.

“Alright, this is the last dance!” the instructor yelled. One, two, very-good. One, two, very-good.And the music stopped. Oh finally.. I thought through my panting breath…

“One MORE!!!”

And we continued with a new step-routine. This cycle of dances continued for another 20 minutes, and by then, we were all exhausted. Arms linked together and unsynchronized stepping; we were tired (I was also still very jet lagged).

Looking back, an in-person orientation was much needed for my start to college. The excessive activities where you get to meet different people and learn new things is what a freshman-year Linda would’ve needed to get out of her bubble and explore different things.

Now that I’m already three-fourths into my college career, I have learned it a little late, but I think I’m fortunate enough to learn it in a completely new environment.