I remember what my first day of vet school orientation was like. I was in a new state, at a school I barely knew and surrounded by total strangers. When I walked in, I was terrified. What if no one liked me, or I didn’t make any friends? But, by the time Orientation was over 3 days later I felt like I knew most of my classmates and I had already found most of the people who would soon become most of my close friends. I certainly wasn’t so scared about vet school anymore, because I knew I wasn’t doing it alone! That’s why I decided to come back to school early this year and serve as a facilitator for the Class of 2023’s Orientation.
On Day One, we basically just send the incoming students on a scavenger hunt around the vet school. I originally thought of these hallways and classrooms like they were a maze, but now I was pointing students in the right direction to get to wherever their next clue could be found. After they collected all the clues, they had to put together a puzzle that says, “Welcome Home.” I remember how cool I thought that was when I was in their shoes last year and now just how true that statement has become.
On Day Two, Orientation kicks off in the morning with speakers and large and small group activities. We played The Name Game, where you give yourself an adjective that starts with the same letter as your first name (I’m Brilliant Brandy), and then go around the group and practice everyone’s names. I still call several people from my class by their Name Game name, so I can say for sure that this helped me get to know my classmates.
On Day Three, we have some more small group activities, but the highlight of this day is the evening cookout where the new students get sorted into houses. Oklahoma State Vet Med has ‘houses’ (think Harry Potter) named after famous veterinarians. All new students take a sorting quiz and then are assigned to a house. Throughout the semester we have sports tournaments between houses, dinner parties, etc. The house system is a great way for new students to make friends and get involved!
I think I have enjoyed being a Facilitator for Orientation more than I did going to my own Orientation! I love seeing all the new incoming students and remembering how scared I was back then, but realizing it all worked out okay.