START: From all angles
Looking at the intricacies of START sessions from the views of parents, students, START leaders
Published: Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 20:07
For all involved in a START orientation session at Oregon State University — from incoming freshmen, to parents, to the START leaders themselves — the process is tiring, anxious and exciting all in one.
For those who never participated in one themselves, or just forgot because it was so long ago, a START session is a guide for first-time OSU students to get shown the ropes, and be comfortably acquainted to their new life in Corvallis.
A typical START orientation consists of “introductions, team-building stuff, going over information. They also have an academic presentation that they go to for their college,” according to Elyse Lipke, a START leader.
On top of those things, there are also academic workshops, an information fair for clubs and groups on campus, tour of the residence halls, Dixon Recreation Night, and of course, registering for classes and picking up an ID card.
Expectations from the incoming freshmen for their START sessions were all over the place. Most did not know exactly what START meant, nor what they should be anticipating when they came to campus.
“I had no idea,” said Peter Delbrueck, an incoming freshman majoring in exercise and sports science. “The only thing I thought we were doing is registering for classes. I didn’t know any of the club stuff was here.”
A parent accompanied most new students at these sessions. Delbrueck’s mother also had thoughts on her experience at START from a parent’s perspective.
“I think it’s a good transition from being at home and going into the college life,” Natalie Delbrueck said. “Instead of just jumping right into it, it’s a more casual approach for an entry into college.”
Most of the parents looked more excited than nervous about the prospect of their children going away to college.
“I think it’s exciting,” said Wanda Schroeder, who has an incoming freshman daughter. “Coming back — I graduated from here — to see all the changes, great changes; building-wise, opportunity-wise, and then the exploratory [major] is wonderful.”
The vibe of the START group from Monday was really positive. The mood of the students varies depending on how early or late it is into the summer.
“At the beginning, the students are more eager and really ready to be here,” Lipke said. “Our first session filled up in 24 hours … and it was at our capacity. And that’s how the first couple sessions go. And then after summer goes on, the students are a little less enthusiastic about being here; not as put together or ready for it.”
The main point START leaders and people involved with the university have been trying to drive home at these sessions is involvement.
“Everything we know about college students is that if you’re engaged and involved, you do better academically, you meet more students that are involved on campus,” said Katie Baker, administrative program assistant for Student Leadership & Involvement at OSU.
Overall though, most students and parents appeared to be enjoying the orientations, and they even exceeded expectations for some.
“For a parent, I’m amazed at all the support that the college is giving all the students,” Natalie Delbrueck said. “I mean, usually I think once they had our commitment to come here, we wouldn’t hear from them again. And it’s just like, ‘Wow, I’m still hearing from them. They still want to be there if I have any questions.’ That I like a lot. [OSU] continues the ability to access people for questions.”
While the START sessions definitely do not truly capture the essence of Oregon State University from a social or academic perspective, it’s at least an attempt to ease incoming students into college life.
Warner Strausbaugh, sports editor
On twitter: @WStrausbaugh