Finding Tatum’s Purpose: New Student Orientation

student smiling

College has always been something that I have dreamed about. As a kid, I always imagined myself going to the perfect school, the school that fit my personality and nature exactly. I pictured myself walking around the campus, living in a dorm, going to class and hanging out with new friends. I was able to experience a bit of what I imagined college to be like yesterday –at a college that I believe is where I’m meant to be.

Freshman orientation was different than what I expected it to be, in a good way.

The morning started off pretty early for my family and me. My dad is a fireman and that day he hadn’t gotten off of work by the time my younger brother, Caleb, had to go to football practice. This meant that my younger sister, Ashley, had to go to practice with Caleb. And because she didn’t put gas in the car that we share, the four of us all piled into my mom’s Suburban and headed out to start the day.

After my mom and I dropped off Caleb and Ashley, we drove to Grand Canyon University. Once we got there, we were greeted by music and a purple balloon archway. I couldn’t help but smile. We didn’t wait in line to check in for very long, which is good, because it was extremely hot that day. I wasn’t nervous until an announcer said that all of the students had to sit separately from the parents. I didn’t know anyone in the Arena and sitting alone freaked me out. I stood around for a bit with my mom. I was debating if I was going to listen to the announcer, or if I was just going to sit with my mom anyway.  But I knew that I needed to sit with the students. So I did, and I’m glad that I did.

Before orientation actually started, the announcer had the students and the parents play games. The games helped lessen some of the nervousness and anxiety that I was feeling and even made me laugh. To warm up everyone, we all made a giant conga line. Every student participated and it was a lot of fun.

After the conga line, the games began. People were chosen at random to participate in the games, and I had every intent of avoiding playing a game until I was given an Oreo. I had absolutely no idea that the Oreo was supposed to be used for a game and I ate it. The announcer then came over, ready to start the game, and laughed because I had already eaten mine. The announcer gave me another. So I was sort of unaware that I was going to be playing a game until it was too late. I had to put the Oreo on my forehead and try, without using my hands, to get it into my mouth. The first person to do this would win a prize. So I was jolting my head around, laughing and trying to get the Oreo in my mouth. Sadly, my Oreo fell on the floor and I lost. But I did get to eat an Oreo beforehand, so it wasn’t all for nothing.

I also got chosen to dance on stage in front of everyone. I originally wanted nothing to do with this game. I’m not the best dancer and I didn’t want to show off my awful rhythm in front of the entire Arena. But as soon as I saw that there were other students participating, I wasn’t embarrassed. I actually enjoyed it. The games helped get me out of my comfort zone and made me relax. I’m glad I got to experience it.

After all of the games were over, we listened to the dean and the president speak. We were given a lot of information about Grand Canyon University. The information was really helpful and explained things to me about GCU that I wasn’t knowledgeable about. After we were given the information, we were let out of the Arena to do some of the other things on the schedule. My mom took a picture of me in the Arena and then we headed to pay for a parking permit. We walked to the Student Union and I was surrounded by several different booths. My mom and I tried to pay for a parking permit, but I didn’t have my license plate information with me. We couldn’t do it that day. Instead, I checked out some of the other booths and got information on joining church activities and the Havocs.

I felt comfortable and welcomed at orientation. Orientation made me excited to start college.

Follow my journey at GCU and learn more about the campus experience – I’ll be blogging here every few weeks.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.