For new students, it all starts with Orientation—a seven-day program that occurs over the duration of the first two weekends of school. This fall, the Orientation program has given first-year and transfer students a chance to explore and experience Providence College.
Orientation Leaders, known as OLs, consider the program to be a crucial element in helping students to adjust to life at PC. Joshua Flynn ’22, a Fall Orientation Leader, stated, “For me, Orientation is all for the kids and making their transition into college easier so they can feel supported and seen in their new environments.” With this goal in mind, new students meet several times in sessions and small groups throughout the program to form connections with their fellow first-year students, upperclassmen, and the College itself. Sessions such as Building an Inclusive Community, Step Up! Bystander Training, and Dominican Traditions embody some of the College’s most essential elements.
Additionally, OLs are also given a chance to pass their wisdom onto new students during sessions like Tough Questions, where leaders share their candid thoughts and experiences at PC with their orientation groups. This vulnerability creates the space for students, OLs and new students alike, to develop deep and meaningful relationships with each other.
While Orientation has always been a noteworthy tradition of PC, this year’s fully in-person program was particularly special. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Orientation was entirely virtual during the Fall of 2020. While the program still contained many of the same educational lessons, many leaders who staffed both last year’s virtual and this year’s in-person programming found notable differences between the two experiences. Fall Operations Team Member Cassie Santos ’22 shared, “I found that in-person orientation experiences this year helped students feel more included on campus and felt more part of our Friar Family!” While both virtual and in-person programs were beneficial for students, leaders often found that in-person events allowed for deeper connections within their small groups, making the Orientation experience even better.
In addition to programming for first-year students, members of the Class of 2024 were able to participate in introductory experiences on-campus following a difficult year conducted over Zoom. A program titled “Sophomore Experience” gave rising sophomores who spent a decent portion of their first year online a new opportunity to find community on campus.
AJ Worsley ’22, a Sophomore Experience Leader, explained, “This class of students joined our community while the pandemic was at its worst and because of this, spent most if not all of their freshman year remote. This program urged students to build connections with their peers who they may have only seen through a computer screen. The feeling of unity brought upon us through this program was crucial after spending such a long period of time in unique and often isolating situations.” While their freshman orientation was essential to their introduction to PC, Sophomore Experience has provided the Class of 2024 with further opportunities for student development and adjustment to on-campus life.
When asked about her experience with the program, Victoria Cannon ’25 noted, “I found Orientation to be a very helpful experience to acclimate me to PC. It gave me a built-in network of friends on those first few days when I knew no one, and now they will be familiar faces for the next four years. Most importantly, Orientation allowed me to find a support system in my OLs. I know I could ask them for anything, and they would help me in a heartbeat, which makes me feel super comfortable attending this school.” These sorts of reflections demonstrate precisely the goals of the Orientation program: to create new and exciting friendships, to assist students in attaining a sense of the College, and to provide support from esteemed student leaders. As part of a 50-year tradition, the Orientation program continues to be an essential shared experience for students at Providence College.