Vanessa King, a fourth-year journalism student, explains why Academic Orientation Day is important for all new students at Carleton University.

Three times a year, every year, thousands of students pack into the field house. The sound of bag pipes fills the air, the university president gives a speech, and free food is handed out.

Two times out of the three, students are graduating, and the procession is for convocation.

Once a year, it’s Academic Orientation Day.

Academic Orientation Day starts off with you getting a free t-shirt colour-coded to your faculty. It makes it easier to spot your future classmates and potential friends in the crowd, and to see how popular your program is among your class.

Then, the “convocation” ceremony starts – but instead of sending you away in good fashion, Carleton is welcoming you. Think of Academic Orientation Day as one of the “bookends” of your academic career. Carleton likes to both say its hellos and goodbyes in a similar style.

After hearing from our president and a guest speaker, there’s a free BBQ lunch for everyone. Since you sit with your faculties, it gives you a chance to meet more people in your program and make some friends with students who are likely in a few of your classes. Some professors and faculty members show up to the BBQ as well, so you can meet some of the people who will be instructing you – it’s always good to make a first impression early.

After lunch, you’re broken down into degree programs to learn who is who within your faculty and program. You can ask questions to professors, upper-year students, and other good sources before classes start, giving you a bit of a break from the stress of the first day. You may be shown where your program’s lounge is, where most of your classes are, and other handy tips that will help you mesh into your program.

Even though new students have to go to Academic Orientation Day because it’s mandatory, you’ll probably also want to go. You find out insider tips, can talk to upper-year students (who are a wealth of knowledge on your program), and meet some senior staff members at Carleton. If that’s not enough, you get a free t-shirt and lunch.

Submitted by Vanessa King, a fourth-year journalism student.

To learn more about Academic Orientation Day, visit carleton.ca/seo/orientation/academic-orientation


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