On Friday, the incoming class will be attending their first-year orientation. Not only am I amazed that our orientation was a year ago, but I'm also finding it hard to believe that I could give anyone advice about the program.
The orientation will last all weekend and we have a lot of events planned for them. Their formal meeting with the department is on Friday morning and they'll get all of the important "housekeeping" and academic information. Afterward, our class will have a Q&A for all of the non-academic issues and questions they have. Then the fun will start! We had a lot of discussion about what social events would be best for them to get to know both their class and ours.
Last year, the first time we got together was at a bar and I personally didn't think it was a very friendly environment. Later in the weekend, we had a barbeque at a local park, which was a much better atmosphere. Unfortunately, all of the pavilions were booked by the time we came up with a plan, which means the first event will again be at a bar. Hopefully this year we'll be able to make things less intimidating and more of an environment where people can get to know each other.
We have also extended an offer to the new students to join our class as we participate in Pittsburgh's Arthritis Walk. They'll have a chance to meet our professors who will also be participating, and hopefully it will be a way for them to realize how involved and active our program is. There is a lot on the table, and I hope it goes smoothly. It's much harder to be planning all of this instead of just showing up!
As a side note, if anyone would like to donate to our team for the Arthritis Walk, please go here. We are walking in honor of an amazing 9-year-old girl named Sydney who was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at age 3. We're hoping to raise as much money as possible to help fund research and initiatives for everyone living with arthritis. Thanks!