When students think of academic freshman orientation at Central Michigan University, mentors singing and dancing to a “Thrift Shop” parody song might not top the list.
But, fall freshmen laughed and cheered when a group of more than 20 of their assigned orientation mentors left the stage at Warriner Hall’s Plachta Auditorium during the Central Stage portion of their orientation.
While freshman orientation started with early morning check in, students often came with their parents and then were assigned to various groups for orientations tailored to the students or parents. Soon after, parents were watching the family mentors sing and dance trying to entertain and educate the families of new CMU freshmen about what CMU has to offer.
Cayla Coleman of Adrian who was assigned to the “Pepper Team”, hadn’t decided her major by the time of orientation but said she was thinking about becoming involved in legal or medical fields.
“I chose CMU because they had more programs to offer, since I was undecided, it was better for me,” Coleman said. “I am interested in health professions, and (Western Michigan University) didn’t really have a whole lot to offer.”
Coleman said her close relationship with her mother who attended the optional parent’s orientation and CMU’s location also played a part in her decision over WMU.
“She’s probably nervous, we’re always together,” Coleman said.
Coleman attended a meeting for the Health Professions Residential College and said that since she was undecided she felt a little out of place at the meeting.
“I am so undecided,” Coleman said. “I’m stuck between pre-law, looking into pre-law or medical professions.”
After many of the meetings, students had their CMU ID photos taken. Hats were removed, and the hat wearers worried about their hair on an ID that they would use for the next four years.
Ryan Ferris from Madiwan was in line with the “Red Team” for ID photos and said he hadn’t decided on a major. He said he wasn’t nervous when he came in for orientation and that he might try out for various on and off-campus activities.
“I might try to rush, but I’m not sure. And then I might try lacrosse, I might do intramural swim team as well, that’s what I did in high school,” Ferris said.
Ferris also offered advice to other incoming freshmen who have later orientation dates.
“Don’t be shy. It seems like a lot of people are pretty quiet, ” Ferris said. “It’s not going to help you get anything out of it.”
After having ID cards made, students went through other meetings with advisers and mentors and moved on to Plachta Auditorium to watch various songs and dance routines done by their CMU mentors that further introduced them to campus life and activities.
After several other meetings where groups continued to break off and see different specialty advisers more catered to the students’ interests, many freshmen said they were exhausted and were anxiously asking mentors and others if they could go home soon.
After more than six hours of learning about what a life at CMU holds academically, students were reunited with their parents at the reunion event. Parents and students could visit booths set up by the Center for Inclusion & Diversity and Study Abroad, among others, and have last minute questions answered by staff before parents and students left.
Tasie Backos is the father of twin Shelby Township freshmen Alicia and Raenna Backos and said the best part of the day was knowing more about where they stood financially.
“It was good to talk to a financial adviser one-on-one and talk specifics, but that was maybe 20 minutes of my day,” Backos said.
Backos said the parents had several items on their agendas for their versions of the orientations that were more catered to them, such as talking with campus security about how safe their children will be.
“They danced and sang for us for the first half hour,” Backos said. “We had a great lunch, that was good. Then we talked with the police.”