Every student who has gone through Eastern Michigan University’s First Four Orientation knows how overwhelming it can be. The buildings and their names don’t match up, the steady stream of brochures gets jumbled, and those interesting personal facts seem lacking when it’s time to present them in a round of ice-breakers.
Lucky for new incoming students, New Student Orientation Assistants are here to help. These veteran college students, who have made it through at least one year of college successfully, serve as the leaders of welcome week.
Senior Danielle Bain, the First Four student assistant, was an NSOA three years ago. She said an NSOA is a mentor and a friend.
“Your New Student Orientation Assistant basically becomes your mentor in transitioning from high school to college because sometimes that transition can be really scary,” Bain said. “And I think having someone who’s been there before, having them there to walk you through what it looks like can be really comforting.”
Two NSOAs work together to lead 20 to 25 students on tours and talk about resources on EMU’s campus for the first four days between move-in day and the first day of classes.
The tours are different from the other tours prospective students might have attended.
“We have [students] bring their class schedule and NSOAs will take them to the buildings, show them where the rooms are and talk about what to expect in college classes and how they’re different from high school,” she said.
Bain said attending First Four will help new students find resources that will help them find success at EMU in areas besides academics.
“College is about more than just getting a degree,” she said. “It’s about building relationships with people and I think a lot of those relationships are built during First Four.”
Ellen Christie, a senior who is on O-Team, the group of students that mentor NSOAs, said First Four is an experience students only get once.
“You learn so much, you do so much, and it’s all right at your fingertips,” Christie said. “You don’t have to go searching for it, we bring you right to what you need.”
Senior Carlos Sosa, an O-Team member, said First Four provides new students with a gateway to life at EMU.
“It’s a chance for Eastern to open its doors to everyone,” Sosa said. “They have so many resources available throughout the four days and [new students] also get to experience Eastern pretty much as a whole rather than having to figure things out by themselves.”
“All of our NSOAs are super excited to help students get oriented to the university and I think [new students] can expect to have a lot of fun with them, too,” Bain said.
For more information on orientation, go to emich.edu/orientation/.