By: Uri Shalmon  | 

New Students Eased Into College Life with Successful Orientation

On August 19, the first of the FTOC’s (First Time on Campus Students) arrived on campus. Move-in day was a blur, but less so for those who arrived later and experienced slightly longer lines and waiting times. At one point the line for the elevator in Rubin reached the street. Later that day, the freshmen took their Hebrew Placement Exam in the luxurious Blefer 218. During dinner, with its delicious Schnitzel, Caesar salad and chocolate chip cookies, Associate Dean of YC, Joanne Jacobson, Dean Pava of Syms, and Ms. Weiler, the Director of the Career Center, shared words of encouragement with the new students. Before the night ended,, Mr. Jonathan Schwab, Associate Director of University Housing and Residence Life, touched upon the Safety and Security Protocols on campus.
Thursday was highlighted by an amazing cruise on the Hudson with Rebbeim and Mashgichim. As the wind blew in the students’ hair, with sea mist on their face, some joined for a beautiful Kumsitz while admiring the skyscrapers. Jacob Penn, a freshman coming from Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel and before that LA, said that the boat ride was “a wonderful way to meet people and it gave us a great view of the NYC skyline.”
On Friday afternoon, true freshmen registered for classes while other FTOC's headed to Midtown and the Beren campus for a fun-filled afternoon traversing the streets of New York City. The key spots visited were Times Square, the Highline and the NYC Farmer’s Market followed by an Omni-plan eligible restaurant near Stern.
Shani Klein, a junior at Stern and a Student Leader for Orientation, expressed that Beren Campus Orientation went smoothly as well. She explained, “I really enjoyed being a part of orientation for my 3rd year. I think orientation was a lot of fun, well organized and a lot less scary for the incoming students than expected.”
Rather than a boat ride on the Hudson, the young women went to see Matilda the musical on Broadway. Broadway’s accessibility to Stern College is one of the many benefits the women receive by living in the middle of the hustle and bustle of NYC. Their orientation included a few more tours than the orientation uptown, due to the layout of their campus. Student Leader Yaelle Kassai, who experienced some orientation anxiety when she was a freshman, revealed the benefits of being and having Student Leaders. “Being a Student Guide this year was super rewarding. When I was new I definitely needed that person to help me plan my schedule and not have a meltdown. Knowing how much the student guide program helps the new students is pretty awesome and it’s fun being a part of that.”
Up on the Wilf campus, our first Shabbat was a relaxing and enjoyable way to meet our fellow freshmen. Tishes, Kiddushes and Melaveh Malkas paired with tours and Divrei Torah made Shabbat an all around uplifting experience. “Shabbat was filled with energy and Ruach.” said Leiby Deutch, a true freshman from Passaic, NJ. Several Roshei Yeshiva, including Rav Goldwicht, Rav Willig and Rav Blau, shared their words of wisdom with us, both during the meals and after. On Shabbat afternoon, Mr. Jonathan Schwab led an engaging tour around Washington Heights to discuss its history and geological nature.
Last Sunday, to start off the year with a bang – or a Bash, YU held its annual Welcome Bash And Lunch. While the returning students met up with old friends and laughed at the awkward freshman, the incoming students tried their best to make friends with their counterparts on the Beren campus.
Linda Stone, Assistant Director of Student Life, who organized this event, described the barbeque from behind the scenes: "Our Annual Welcome Back Bash is the finale of the five-day Fall Orientation program. The Student Life team was thrilled to see hundreds of new and returning undergraduate students, faculty and staff from both campuses enjoying the event. It was a celebration of the start of the new school year, of our vibrant campus life, and of the Yeshiva University spirit.”
Tenzer Gardens was filled with fun activities, good food, and even better company. A giant chess set, reminiscent of Harry Potter, tie-dyeing YU Orientation shirts (who wouldn’t want a free shirt?), and a nearly life-size Jenga were some of the awesome attractions available. These attractions, along with the great food and company, made the barbecue the perfect transition from orientation and summer to the start of a wonderful college year.