As the 2019 Orientation Chair, it is my pleasure to welcome the Cobber Class of 2023 to the Concordia community.

Orientation at Concordia is a community-led effort to welcome you as an incoming student to campus and best prepare you as you start your college journey. Orientation Week is unique, as it is planned by student-leaders in direct collaboration with faculty and staff to specifically meet you where you are. This collaborative and holistic approach to Orientation brings the entire community together to best enable you to succeed. As we continue to prepare for your arrival, here are some tips to help you make the best out of your Orientation experience and start your time at Concordia on the right (or left) foot.

Student in Cobber beanie

1. Know the Lingo

One of the most important things during Orientation Week is understanding the Cobber lingo to help navigate all things Concordia. We have our way of naming things around campus that goes far beyond Kernel, the fiercest college mascot. Here are some of the most significant terms to know during your Orientation experience.

The Cobber Beanie: The Cobber beanie is a tradition that all incoming students, both first-year and transfer, get to experience. These fun and quirky caps may seem too small or not with recent fashion trends, but the beanie is a coveted tradition for students and alumni. The Cobber beanie may be a tradition you love as much as I do but, if not, you should still wear it during Orientation Week until the Beanie Toss on the first day of classes.

Orientation Club: Your Orientation Club is primarily made up of students in your Inquiry Seminar class, along with your Orientation Leaders (OLs) and Faculty Mentor. You will have your Inquiry Seminar as well as your FYT Labs with your clubbies – other students in your Orientation Club. You will spend most of Orientation Week with this group as a way to start building community in your class.

Orientation Leaders (OLs) and FYT (First-Year Transition) Mentors: Your OLs are the two student-leaders that help guide your Orientation Club throughout Orientation Week. They are great resources for everything. One of these leaders is also your Orientation Club’s FYT Mentor, which means they will continue on as a resource throughout the academic year. OLs and FYT Mentors are with you each day of Orientation, but be on the lookout for Orientation Assistants (OAs) at the info booth or on the Beanie Patrol as they are also great resources.

Faculty Mentors: Faculty Mentors are faculty or staff volunteers. Get to know them well because they could be a future professor, academic advisor, or another friendly face on campus. Faculty Mentors facilitate the following sessions: Hands for Change reflection, academic expectations, Summer Book Read discussion and more.

This is a brief explanation of some Cobber lingo. Check with your OL if you have questions about these terms or need additional information.

More Cobber Lingo

Students discussing summer book read

2. Get Involved

During this transition to college, there are many different things coming at you – upcoming classes, new friends, setting up your room, etc. We understand this can be a big transition from home and have created a full week to help with the process.

During this week, show up physically and mentally to each day and be open to new experiences. We use student feedback and our own experiences to create an Orientation Week focused on preparing you for your college career. Orientation is built for you, so make the most out of Orientation and enjoy the start of your Cobber journey.

Some Orientation Week highlights to look forward to:

Summer Book Read: If you are like me and wondered why we have to read a book before classes started, let me tell you. The Summer Book Read directly benefits your start to college. It prepares you for Concordia as the Summer Book Read discussion models a college classroom discussion and gives you something to talk about when meeting new peers. Take some time in the beautiful months of summer to sit by the pool, in a hammock, lounge around the house, or cool off and read this year’s Summer Book Read, “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas. I truly enjoyed this book and I could not put it down. This is a great read and it will spark important conversations this fall. Come prepared to share your thoughts as the Summer Book Read is a great opportunity to learn the ropes of interacting with peers and faculty while learning more about academic life at Concordia.

Hands for Change: In its 26th year, Hands for Change is an important part of Orientation that sends you and your new peers to serve the broader Fargo-Moorhead community. These service projects range from volunteering at a local food pantry to cleaning up the Red River to planting a local garden. They give you the opportunity to learn firsthand about Concordia’s focus on becoming responsibly engaged in the world (BREW).

Cobb Hobnob: Cobb Hobnob is an interactive event during Orientation Week that provides a social opportunity for you to meet people outside of your Orientation Club. The activities range from on-campus programming like grocery bingo, a music jam session, or shooting hoops, to exploring close off-campus opportunities such as Moorhead’s downtown Dairy Queen, Moxie Java, or Woodlawn Park.

Students listening and smiling in classroom

3. Self-Care

As Orientation Week is a whirlwind of new experiences, different programming, and the never-ending process of learning new names, we understand that each one of you has different needs. It is incredibly important to take care of yourself during this time as Orientation Week can be a lot to take in at once.

Self-care can take the form of getting to sleep at a decent time, staying hydrated, or any practice to ensure your personal well-being. Remember that your OLs, Resident Assistants (RAs), Faculty Mentor, and the campus community want you to have the best experience possible during this transition to college. We know you are more than capable to thrive during Orientation Week and beyond, but you don’t always have to do it alone.

Come with an open mind. Take everything in. Be present. Take some risks. Reach out to resources. Explore an interest in something new. Call home. Continue to get to know your fellow Cobbers. Ask questions.

Orientation is built for you, so make the best of the experience and come to campus with a readiness to start building your community at Concordia. Orientation is my favorite time of the year and I cannot wait to welcome you to this amazing community.

Have a great summer. Roll Cobbs!

Guest blog post by communication studies major Tate Hovland ’20, Willmar, Minn.