August 22, 2013 - 9:02pm

The first few weeks of a new student’s post-secondary schooling can be a daunting experience, full of unfamiliar faces, new places to find and explore, and great expectations for what lies ahead in life and learning.

First year students coming to VIU’s Nanaimo campus from all over Canada and around the world are invited to take part in a fun and informative new student orientation on Thursday, August 29. Parents and guardians are also invited to attend their own orientation.

“Our first goal for New Student Orientation is to get students connected to each other,” says Joanna Hesketh, Coordinator in VIU’s Office of Enrolment Management and a member of the committee organizing the orientation event. “We really focus this day on getting students connected to other students in their program area, in their classes, and also getting them connected to their university and their faculty.”

The “Rock the VIU” new student orientation at VIU Nanaimo August 29 gets students off to a great start just a few days before classes start Tuesday, Sept. 3. First year students registered in advance at www.viu/orientation will find themselves teamed up with others in their faculty and program area – their first chance to get to know people they will see every day in classes and on campus. They’ll spend the day taking part in an Adventure Tour or Café Tour, which introduces them to places they’ll need to get to during their first few days of classes. Activities, games, prize giveaways, a free barbecue , and a DJ sponsored by VIU Students’ Union round out a full day of orientation.

“Rock the VIU” also introduces new students to a wide variety of campus activities, clubs, and opportunities that can take their learning and university experience to the next level.

“We’re also getting ready to launch a ‘Join 1’ campaign that will encourage first year students to join at least one activity throughout the year,” says Hesketh. “We know that students who join one activity do better in their first year of university, and have higher rates of success.”

Choices for campus activities are broad and varied to appeal to all kinds of interests – from volunteering on campus, to participating in intramural sports, arts activities, or clubs, to getting involved in research projects or planning for a term of study abroad options around the world.

“We want to help students find a balance between their academic and their extracurricular life,” says Hesketh.

She adds that the most common concern for first year students is finding their way in a new environment. “It’s about getting comfortable with the lay of the land – generally the biggest anxiety for students is the unknown – what it’s going to look like, and what it’s going to feel like.”

Families also bring their own set of questions as they seek assurances around how their new students will fare at VIU.

“The (family’s) big concern is, ‘are they going to be okay, are they going to be safe?’ Orientation helps them with these questions – it helps everyone feel comfortable that they’ve made the right decision, and lets them know there’s lots of support for their student here at VIU,” Hesketh says.

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Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Communications & Public Engagement, Vancouver Island University

P:250.740.6443 E: T: @viunews

Tags: In the Community

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