As you enrol in University your initial task is participating in your Universities Orientation Week. The University of Sydney deems Orientation Week is essential for a student to accomplish a smooth transition into becoming a skilled uni student, set for success (2018). As students, your experience can be greatly reformed due to the information you gather at orientation week. Starting university can be quite overwhelming and therefore attending orientation week assists you through a series of welcoming events, meet and greets (with your lectures/tutors), as well as the opportunity to sign up for a vast assortment of university societies, such as sporting teams, or language clubs.
As a university student, I considered orientation week to be quite beneficial. In my first year, I remember attending O-Week at Wollongong. I travelled alone to the main campus by train essentially just to pick up my id card. Nevertheless, after picking up my id card I was faced with a range of tents lined up along the water’s edge of the duck pond, and I found myself staying an extra 2 hours than I had initially planned to stay. This resulted in wandering around reading about all these great opportunities to join social clubs. After this one day I decided to come back for another two days of the orientation week to see what else was on offer. I ended up talking to my future lecturers, and attending introductory lectures which made me feel a lot more comfortable when attending my first week of actual schooling in the week to come. As my second year of university approached, O-Week came as no interest to me. Why is this?
Consequently, for my research project I wish to investigate if orientation week is only beneficial for first year students. Using reflexivity, I will use my own experience to investigate this question, as well as my fellow peers in BCM212 as most of us are second year students or above. Qualitative research will allow me to directly engage with my peers through surveying, and interviewing about the importance of O-Week as a second or third year student. This will lead me to develop an outlook of the interest second and third year students associate with orientation week.
Jad Nasser, Vice President of Student Services for Brock University’s Student Union considers O-Week not to just be for first-year students as he states, “Orientation week is made to cater to all ages, regardless of your program and your year” (Nasser 2016). Nasser then continues in the blog post by saying “You could walk by a club stand at the Vendor Fair and realise that a certain club is definitely something you’re interested in and want to be a part of” (Nasser 2016), consequently this can alter your upcoming year. Nasser is attempting to prescribe that even if you were not enrolled in a club in your first year, doesn’t mean you’re not welcome to join in your fourth.
Likewise, Macquarie University states “Whether you’re a new or returning student, make the most of your time here. Get involved with life on campus and get familiar with all the support and opportunities available to you in 2018 at O-Week” (Macquarie University 2018). This statement refers to the attendance of orientation week for both new and former students, implying that orientation week welcomes second and third year students as well as new students.
I believe this topic is relevant because if the outcome persists of second and third year students predominately showing no interests in orientation week then universities can improve and alter what they are offering.
As the university year has only just commenced this topic is timely since orientation week was only two or so weeks ago. Therefore, the primary research I collect will be fresh from students who have either decided to participate, or overlook orientation week.
Vallmuur and Schweitzer (2001, p.27) from the Queensland University of Technology associate orientation week with a “heavy emphasis on social activities, having fun, and alcohol consumption”. In their report ‘Who Succeeds at University? Factors Predicting Academic Performance in First Year Australian University Students’ they underline the importance of integrating study skills and academic activities in orientation week, as they are an integral part of university life. This report suggests that the social aspect of orientation week can lead to bad habits throughout the university year such as excessive alcohol consumption from the assortment of parties that are held. Although parties and similar social events assist students in meeting new people, the Queensland University of Technology believe educational and skilful activities will bring together a larger number of students from all years of university. The universities response insinuates if either; parties, or academic activities attract a larger number of second and third year students to orientation week.
Throughout the development of this research project I wish to identify the main reasons ‘for’ or ‘against’ participation in orientation week according to second and third year students, and the reasoning behind these decisions.
Macquarie University 2018, Student tips for orientation, Macquarie University, viewed 13 March 2018, <https://www.mq.edu.au/study/starting-at-macquarie/orientation/student-tips>
Nasser, J 2016, The Importance of O Week for all students, The Brock Press, weblog post, 16 September 2016, viewed 11 March 2018, <http://www.brockpress.com/2016/09/the-importance-of-o-week-for-all-students/>
The University of Sydney 2018, Orientation at the University of Sydney, The University of Sydney, viewed 11 March 2018, <https://sydney.edu.au/study/getting-started/orientation.html>
Vallmuur, J & Schweitzer, R 2001, ‘Who Succeeds at University? Factors Predicting Academic Performance in First Year Australian University Students’, The Queensland University of Technology, p. 27, viewed 12 March 2018, <https://eprints.qut.edu.au/56040/1/56040.pdf>
University of Wollongong 2017, Orientation Festival, viewed 15 March 2018, <https://getstarted.uow.edu.au/orientation/events/UOW208216.html>
Student VIP 2016, UOW Pool Party, viewed 15 March 2018, <https://studentvip.com.au/uow/events/124>