For some, summer is more than just a break, it’s an opportunity to jump start classes! Physical therapy and athletic training students will be arriving on our Ruskin, Florida campus beginning May 30, and new OT’s will be here mid-August (i.e., before you know it!).

Check out OTD student Sue’s tips for a stress-free orientation experience.

The first week of class is pretty typical, we kind of know what to expect: new seats, new faces, new classrooms (I have gotten lost too many times to count), and new schedules. It is the orientation week that may cause a great deal of anxiety; we just don’t know what to expect. Sure, pamphlets and emails are helpful, but we still don’t really know how it is going to be. The purpose of this post is to provide a few tips to survive orientation week on the GU Ruskin campus (orientation schedule/activities may vary by program).

I’ll start with a few basic tips that I wish I went by. Some may seem obvious, but with everything that is going on it can be easy to forget.

1. Drink LOTS of water– I found myself getting dehydrated often. Take a spare bottle(s) of water in case you aren’t able to keep filling up at the nifty little refilling station on campus.
2. Bring your favorite snack to munch on– It can be comforting and also good to have since there will be little time to leave to get something off-campus. Don’t forget to eat. There will be times to eat, of course, but use that time to take a few moments to yourself and take in the nutrients that you need. You will need this energy!
3. Bring a notebook, pen, and highlighter– I got a little memo pad during my orientation, but I felt I should have been taking notes in a notebook and a highlighter would have helped with marking important information throughout the week. Keep a special page or area for important email addresses and contact information. Everything I wrote is all jumbled somewhere on the memo pad I got.
3. Take lots of pictures when you can, it will be fun to look back later on.
4. Don’t be afraid to start conversations with others (faculty included), everyone will be in the same boat as you.

Pictured from left to right: Dr. Kristin Valdes, Professor Christine Greseth, Dr. Dianna Lunsford – examples of aforementioned super-helpful faculty!

5. Pack small amounts of any medication you could possibly need. I ended up being allergic to some of the trees out there and regret not bringing my allergy medication. Stuff for headaches are useful to have as well, believe me, it will be a lot of information to take in!
6. Ask questions – there are going to be a lot of people who are going to be able to help with anything you need.
7. BREATHE. This is an important one.  Try to monitor your breathing. You’d be surprised how often we forget to breathe.
8. Get enough sleep. You will have some really long days. Make sure when you get home, eat and do whatever it is you do to relax and make sure you are well-rested.
9. Talk to different people. Try to have at least one conversation with everyone at some point during the week, even if it is short. This will help when classes start so that there won’t be anyone who you feel you didn’t get the chance to talk to. You will be with each other for 3 years, don’t regret not getting to know someone. Take the time during orientation to get to know each other. There will be people who you automatically click with and those who may not, but it is important to give every person a chance.
10. Have fun! This is a big moment and accomplishment to have made it this far. Enjoy every second of it. Remain hopeful about the journey and make the most of it.

Hope you have a great time and WELCOME TO GU!

-Sue Ram

Welcome to Gannon University!