O’ What A Week!

"The bonds they have created with each other are going to last a long time."
“The bonds they have created with each other are going to last a long time.”

the week of August 25th, Michigan Tech welcomed more than 1,400 new students to campus to participate in the longstanding Tech tradition known as orientation week.

Since recovered, our 2018 student orientation student leaders share their best stories from this year’s activities and a little bit of advice for parents new to the college experience.

Cora Taylor, Orientation Training Coordinator

  • Major: Mechanical Engineering
  • Hometown:  Charlevoix, MI
  • Year in School:  Fifth

Best story from this year’s O week:

The first big event for orientation week is the University Welcome and Family Social. This is an exciting, yet nerve wracking event. As I was walking around the social following the welcome I spoke to several students and families. I would ask them where they were from, how their drive was, and how they were feeling about this new journey. I could sense the nerves and enthusiasm in each of the people I spoke to. One of my favorite parts of the social this year was that I got to share some of my transition stories with students and their families. The changes in their body language and facial expressions really said it all. My stories made a difference, for they were all feeling more comfortable, and more excited about this new journey.

This excitement transcended to when the students first met their OTLs and team members on main campus. As OES I had the opportunity to ride around in the golf cart making sure all of the OTLs and students were finding their way. As I drove around I constantly would get stopped by people saying “hey, can I have a ride?” or “how do I get your job?” You could feel the excitement in the air. There were so many smiles among all of the students, and I couldn’t have been more happy to see all of mine and the other OES members hard work come to fruition.

Advice for parents:

Remind your students to laugh. College is challenging (especially at Michigan Tech), and you are more likely than not going to receive a phone call about a bad exam grade or a mishap with the washing machine. Remind them to laugh it off, learn from it, and do better the next time.

Sam Willard, Orientation Logistics Coordinator

  • Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cheminformatics (Double Major)
  • Hometown: Forest Lake , MN
  • Year in School: Fifth

Best story from this year’s O week:

The end of orientation Week filled me with mixed feelings. It was the end of an amazing week for us, which is always disappointing. On the other hand, seeing over 1,400 incoming students transition from the anxious, often shy people they were at the university welcome to the excited Michigan Tech Huskies that they had become by the end of the week filled me with pride and respect. Respect for those who I had worked with this past year and for those who had planned every other Michigan Tech orientation Week.

At our final staff meeting with the orientation Team Leaders (OTL), all of these emotions and more were practically palpable. With little official business to discuss, our meeting was filled with stories of their and their teams experiences throughout the week. These ranged from funny to happy to inspiring. My favorite stories of all are those where a student approached their OTL to thank them. Being part of a group of people who can make such a difference for so many students is why I chose to be apart of orientation Executive Staff.

Advice for parents:

Be patient and supportive with your student. This first semester is a huge change everyone and not everything works out the first time.

Cally Meixner, Orientation Team Leader

  • Major: Chem Engineering (Environmental Engineering Team)
  • Hometown: Somerset, WI
  • Year in School: Third

Best story from this year’s O week:

This year my group and I became a tight group of friends. The first day, they were all so quiet and unsure. However, by the third day they were singing Taylor Swift together, created their own Snapchat group chats, and were going to events together. I saw a group of them at the MUB board concert front and center having a blast. On Friday, the last meeting went on as usual, and at the end, half the group stayed back to hang out and say their goodbye’s. I was doing fine, until one of them came up to hug me in which I just started crying, which lead to more hugs, and then more crying. They were an amazing group that I still see hanging out together. I still see them occasionally as they usually yell out “Mom!” to me as they deemed me so during O-week. The bonds they have created with each other are going to last a long time.

Advice for parents:

The first few weeks your student is at college can be the toughest part of the transition. Your student is learning how to do laundry, balance their social and academic lives, and how to study. It can be overwhelming for them, and while they know you are there for support, it is important to give your student space. After a few weeks they will start to appreciate an occasional check in from you and letters in the mail from family more, so don’t worry too much if your student hasn’t called you everyday. However, if your student has been calling with concerns, assure them there are resources on campus to help with specific classes, balancing their schedule, and dealing with stress. Your student will need some time to adjust.