Thoughts from new Longhorns at 2006 Fall Orientation
The newest Longhorns student-athletes officially descended on campus Friday for the beginning of The University of Texas Athletics' annual New Student-Athlete Orientation. These newcomers, across all Longhorns sports, came to the Austin campus with family and friends to move into their dorms and begin a four-day orientation to UT life prior to the start of fall classes.
For all the Longhorns newcomers, this transition time is filled with anticipation, excitement, and some trepidation and anxiety as they begin their UT careers. In anticipation of all this, the UT Athletics department makes the transition to college life as smooth and painless (and informative) as possible with its highly-informative and detailed orientation.
The freshmen and transfers and their families went through an inaugural orientation session with UT administrators, coaches, support staff and selected professors (see accompanying story).
With incredible attention to detail and assistance, seminars for the anxious parents and family members and their children, academic advising, registration, placement testing, book purchasing, team meetings and special time for fun and relaxation, the UT Athletics' August orientation session has raised the bar when it comes to helping new student-athletes adjust to college life.
The annual UT Athletics Student-Athlete Orientation began with Friday morning's "move-in" where the Longhorns coaches met the newcomers at the dorm and helped them unload their belongings. Once that heavy work was accomplished, the coaching staffs took their athletes to ID distribution while parents were encouraged to visit different athletics departments to finish up paperwork and get questions answered.
This was followed by lunch and a two-hour seminar and "meet and greet" in the Bellmont Hall Centennial Room where all the families and new students met with key University personnel and the UT coaching and academic staffs and heard many "words of wisdom."
"My favorite part so far was Dr. Grant's speech," noted freshman women's rower Jessica Monroe of Tampa, Fla., speaking about UT professor Darlene Grant, PhD., the vice provost and dean of graduate studies. "She was amazing and passionate and truthful about how to be a great student, and it and made me really want to take her class! We also got our ID cards, so that was exciting. I am now officially a UT student!"
"This has been great. It's been a lot of fun," said tennis freshman Rook Schellenberg of Dallas. "My favorite part has been getting up in front of everyone, introducing myself, and just getting into the Texas atmosphere."
This special "Longhorns welcome" and orientation may be second to none as new students are welcomed to college campuses across the nation at this time of year.
"Orientation has been awesome. It's so high class!" noted Emily Dayley from Oakridge, Tenn., a freshman rower. "You have so much support here academically and in our sports. Every sport here is really excellent. I can't wait to get started!"
John Wiegand, a freshman tennis player from San Antonio, echoed Dayley's feelings.
"I think this has been great! It's been fun to get a chance to meet all of the other athletes and all the great people that are here," Wiegand said.
"Orientation is fun. I kind of feel like a sorority or fraternity member!" laughed Chuck Freeman, a track and field student-athlete from Arlington, Texas. "You know how you see them running around everywhere in the same clothes as everyone else? Well, it's kind of like that since we're all in these funny cowboy hats, but it's fun. I'm really looking forward to getting started."
Wiegand also talked about his favorite part of orientation.
"Definitely, it was when all the freshmen went up to the front of the room with our cowboy hats on and sang 'The Eyes of Texas,' because that song has a soft spot in my heart," he remarked. "My dad, Paul Wiegand, played tennis here, so we have a long Texas tradition in my family."
The orientation of the new students continues on Saturday, Aug. 26, with the returning Longhorns athletes joining their new teammates for the final two day of orientation on Sunday and Monday (Aug. 27-28).