Orientations generally have a reputation for being overwhelming, boring, and useless. Thankfully, Haas broke that stereotype during its Class of 2014 Student Orientation last Tuesday, August the 21st. Haas showed us a little bit about what to expect in the program and provided us tips about resources that we can take advantage of in a casual, fun, and non-intimidating manner. New Haas admits were given our cohort assignments days prior to the event, as well as a brief itinerary to the action-packed afternoon. Knowing we were entering Haas with a team definitely made me feel that more confident and relaxed.
There were six cohort groups all in all, Axe, Bear, California, Oski, Sproul, and Telegraph. I am proud to be an Oski! Everyone participated in an interactive adventure wherein students had to crack a puzzle to identify our next destination. If the problem was too difficult to solve, we could opt to seek the oracle and get two points deducted. We never planned on paying the Oracle a visit, but ended up going anyway.
There were several info sessions that covered various topics. Oski’s first stop was Experential Learning with Karren Tanisaki, who gave us the schedule of workshops for the 2012-2013 school year, followed by Renee Camarena’s Study Abroad program briefing, where we were informed about the Tusher Study Abroad Scholarship and the CSR Give Something Back Award. We also enjoyed a Cohort Group Photo Shoot break with HBSA President Tyler Wishnoff, which we then uploaded on Twitter with the hash tag #HaasCohorts. I thought it was a creative way to discover and connect with other Tweeters in our class.
We attended the Alumni Networking workshop with Meg Roundy next. Roundy shared important and helpful advice about building friendships with Haas alumni, connecting with them through online platforms, and communication etiquette. Everyone was too excited to begin creating and updating their @cal and LinkedIn profiles. We also felt more enthusiastic, since we finally received our first set of Haas SWAG (Stuff We All Get)!
Our group was lucky too, because we had Snack time with Sojourner Blair, Barbara Felkins, and H. Faye Lawson right after that. Nothing beats a refreshing glass of water, chocolate and candy, some fruit, and an awesome personalized pen customized for our specific cohorts with an attached USB to reenergize us from a long day!
We ended our journey with Dinko Lakic’s Tech Services orientation at the Haas Computer Center. Lakic told us about the vast opportunities Haas held for its students, including the case competitions that were developed to hone our critical skills in preparation for employment. News about the $200 (or almost unlimited) printing credit for all Haas UGs also pleasantly surprised all of us; although we were reminded to keep Berkeley’s environmental sustainability principles and only print hard copy when necessary.
The game was definitely educational and entertaining. We got to know our Haas staff and advisors better and find out some random facts about them, too. Miss Faye’s unpronounceable “H” first name for example, Erika Walker’s Cal college sweetheart who later became her husband, or Karren’s unique spelling to the traditional single-R, Karen. More important, we were able to get acquainted to a few of the Haas resources that we will find ourselves conveniently using as our residence in the program progresses. This was even more beneficial to us transfers, since it was the first time for most to actually see the facilities and learn about the diverse student services.
I won’t pretend the Haas backpacks did not play a big role in making us feel welcomed, though. Even HBSA President, Wishnoff, expressed some envy in his tweet: “Haas swag seems to get better every year. Probably will be handing out new cars by 2020 at this rate.” Funny! New students happily swarmed into the Haas UG office to get our prized souvenirs before seeing Dean Lyons for a short meet and greet.
Overall, the New Student Orientation gave us just enough information to grasp and process. Facts and news were presented to us in a festive manner, planting a sense of excitement for the semesters to come. Too bad our cohort didn’t win. But hey, everyone’s a winner because of the SWAG! If anything, the orientation was one of the most engaging that I’ve attended. Hopefully our class will get to come up with more team building activities before we graduate in two years! Uh oh, we’re only starting at Haas, and commencement already seems so soon.
Class of 2014