North Texas Daily

Start of orientation brings in excited freshman class of 2021

Start of orientation brings in excited freshman class of 2021

June 14
17:13 2017

Incoming freshman orientation is a tradition that universities across the nation participate in. UNT’s three-day orientation experience is a huge part of a student’s college career and is hosted to get students acquainted with the campus, majors, other students and t0 get them excited about their upcoming freshman year.

What stands out from UNT’s freshman orientation, apart from other university freshman orientations, is the energetic and friendly orientation leaders.

“It’s why I do what I do,” said Joshua Walton, an Orientation Coordinator and Office of Transitions Student Affairs Representative. “Freshman orientation had such a big impact on me when I was a freshman, so this is all to help them.”

Originally from Alabama, the University of North Alabama and Auburn University alumni moved to Denton just three years ago specifically for this exciting job opportunity at UNT.

Walton said that before coming to work at UNT, he had previously worked with college students and orientations in Alabama and applies his degree in higher education to his job as orientation coordinator.

“[Denton] is a quirky, weird little place,” Walton said. “It’s awesome.”

For first time freshman orientation leader Jose Cantu, orientation can be just as nerve-wracking for the leaders as it can be for incoming freshman.

The social work and communications sophomore said he was excited to get started and that he was ready to meet all the new freshman in the smaller groups portion of orientation.

“This is my first year as an orientation leader,” Cantu said. “I’m nervous, but it’s just something that I will learn and gain more confidence [in] as I go.”

Freshman orientation is split up into three days, with stages throughout each day. Day one is the most important, as freshman are divided into groups and assigned to orientation leaders who will guide them throughout the entirety of the three-day orientation process.

In the smaller groups, freshman get the chance to introduce themselves to leaders and fellow peers in a less hectic and more genuine setting.

“UNT seems a lot happier and nicer than a lot of other colleges I toured,” computer science freshman Hanna Flores said. “It’s really green, and I love that it’s small enough for me to bike everywhere.”

Flores initially thought she wanted to attend the University of Texas at Austin, but immediately changed her mind when she discovered Denton and visited UNT’s campus.

Denton, which is commonly referred to as the mini-Austin, seems to be the big trend across the incoming freshman.

Leaving his hometown of Austin, communication design freshman Holden Pizzolato said he likes how similar the two cities are.

New students sit in a circle with their orientation leader on the first day of their orientation session on Wednesday, June 14, at the UNT Coliseum. Jake King

Pizzolato is excited to be attending UNT, specifically for his unique major.

“They have a fantastic design program,” Pizzolato said. “No [other universities] seem to really understand my major.”

Although UNT’s campus may seem overwhelming, spanning 875 acres and providing an education to over 37,175 students, new friendships are closer than students think.

For two girls from different cities in Texas, they experienced this sense of friendship firsthand.

“We literally just met and became friends,” freshmen Mercedes Cuellar and Virginia Valenzuela said.

The two girls stood next to each other in line when signing in to orientation and decided to stick together though out the day.

“I [figured] we might as well talk to each other,” Cuellar said.

Cuellar, a Grand Prairie native, plans on studying media arts in the fall and said she loves how UNT is only about forty-five minutes from her hometown. She intends on visiting friends and family frequently.

For biology freshman Valenzuela, her reason for attending UNT couldn’t be more different than her new friend Cuellar’s.

“I wanted to get out of the big city” Valenzuela said. “I’m from San Antonino.”

Valenzuela said that she was drawn to UNT because of how active the campus is socially. She loves how diverse the students are here.

The two girls said they are planning to explore the city of Denton together, and they are most excited to check out all the coffee shops.

As for coffee shops, business freshman Kourtney Miller can’t wait to check out Denton’s wide variety of cafes either. The young entrepreneur said her dream job is to open a coffee shop.

“I’ve seen pictures on Instagram and Snapchat of coffee shops here in Denton, and I need to find all of them,” Miller said. “I have a [coffee obsession] problem.”

As many UNT incoming freshman and orientation leaders can agree, freshman orientation is an important piece of one’s college career. It can be scary yet exciting at the same time.

“It’s cool seeing all the new faces that are coming into UNT,” said Nick Shea, a human development and family sciences junior and orientation leader.

Shea said he remembers being a freshman at UNT and is honored to be helping the class of 2021 gain confidence in their decision on attending UNT in the fall.

“I’m here trying to help freshman find their place at UNT,” Shea said. “I want them to be as successful as possible.”

Shea said he hopes to get his group of incoming freshman even more excited for their upcoming college careers by the end of orientation.

“If they aren’t excited by now, they will be,” Shea said.

Featured Image: New students sit in a circle with their orientation leader on the first day of their orientation session on Wednesday, June 14, at the UNT Coliseum. Jake King

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Nina Quatrino

Nina Quatrino

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1 Comment

  1. Dr. Jim
    Dr. Jim June 18, 20:05

    I am sorry, but Freshman Orientation has little to do with virtually anything after you graduate and marry your girlfriend to reproduce future monsters. The best thing that comes out of UNT is the silent lesson of culture, and to be a nice person and speak Spanish. By the way, as of this year, I legalized marijuana in this state, Oregon, and I am crippled. The spirit of Bonny and Clyde lives!

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