Orientation Leader: Why I wish I’d had Capsule before Freshman Orientation

Pauline Bulala, student and Orientation Leader at North Carolina State University

College orientation.

It’s a milestone that cements your college experience to say -- it’s finally starting.

Despite a university’s best intentions, 66% of students we surveyed stated they wished they had learned more after orientation. The vast majority of responses strongly disagreed with the statement, “I learned valuable lessons during Orientation that have stuck with me throughout college.”

Instead, new college students wish they had gained more information on the unheard side of college -- dating, navigating social circles, dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression, finding out who they really wish to be. They might yearn for the skills to mentally prepare for academics rather than simply learning credit requirements. Unfortunately, most college orientations don’t teach the self-discovery and self-management that is crucial for formative college years.

As a previous Orientation Leader for my university, getting to interact with over a thousand different students and teaching them how to transition to college was an amazing job. However, Orientation wasn’t always that easy -- sometimes, small group discussions about self-discovery and identity were awkward and difficult. Some students never had to think about who they truly are and what they want to get out of these four years. Others had difficulty with tone, expression, and body language.

What if there was a convenient training that all students could take before arriving on campus? A pre-orientation before your actual orientation? How much simpler would it be if students entered discussions already prepared with confidence, communication skills, a healthy sense of self and a clear picture of their goals?

That’s why we created Capsule: To help combat first-day jitters, to guide students through exploring core values, to help them grit through challenges and form lasting connections.

We already take pre-orientation training modules for alcohol abuse prevention such as AlcoholEdu. Now imagine AlcoholEdu’s impact, but with Capsule. How much could we accomplish and how much could incoming freshmen learn? Capsule can address the following needs for freshmen:

  • Emotional intelligence

  • Relationship science

  • Self-discovery and identity journey

  • Leadership and goal-setting (incredibly important for new, up-and-coming college students who need to set those study goals and rock those team projects!)

Capsule is that older sibling or wise professor who shares tidbits of wisdom and asks you introspective questions. In addition to easy mini lessons, Capsule also groups students into “Crews” or 4-6-person teams to discuss deeper issues. In today’s superficial social media world, it’s tough to otherwise form a true support system. It’s easy to lose students – especially the introverts – in the campus whirlwind.

Combined with the monumental event of a college orientation, Capsule can be incredibly effective -- even after the first week of university. Lessons through Capsule include things not covered in the usual orientation schedule – tactics for managing relationships, friendships, decision-making or conflict resolution. Soft skills, as they are called, are things we don’t usually think we need to know -- until we need them in the moment.

If Capsule were to be assigned in pre-orientation, students would come to campus prepared, and continue retrieving and practicing concepts throughout the year with their Capsule Crews.

I wish I would have had Capsule before my first year and definitely before my own freshman Orientation. With it, I would have been more emotionally, mentally, and physically prepared to tackle that huge next chapter.

See what Capsule can do for your school by signing up for a demo here.

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