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Amid anticipation and some nerves, 1,485 new students flooded Thayer Street and the Main Green for first-year orientation this past weekend.

Brown's class of 2013 found their respective rooms, unpacked their bags and said hello to their new roommates before Residential Peer Leaders escorted them in large packs to their first unit meetings.

First-years and their parents could attend workshops on topics including University resources and financial aid during the day. The festivities for students continued into the evening and throughout the weekend with an alien-themed student dance, an ice cream social, arch-sings and the annual midnight organ concert in Sayles Hall.

Many students' first memories of orientation involved silly icebreakers with their units. Kimberly Wachtler '13 said she had to take a handful of Skittles during her unit meeting and say something about herself for each candy.

Another unit engaged in a similar game, but with toilet paper instead of Skittles, Harry Samuels '13 said. Students were instructed to select the number of squares they use in the bathroom and reveal something about themselves for each square they took, he said.

A highlight of orientation for Hannah Moscowitz '13 was President Ruth Simmons' welcome speech on Sunday afternoon. Simmons addressed both parents and students about the traditional values of the University.

"It was easy to stay focused. She related really well to the students," Moscowitz said.
First-years were also required to attend a lecture on the "Truths and Lies of Campus Alcohol" as well as a class meeting on "Thinking Otherwise."

 "I think a lot of people were really persuaded by the fact that (the speaker on alcohol) wasn't really stuffy or over the top in terms of warnings," said Briana McGeough '12, a Meiklejohn Peer Adviser. 

Still, students had time to let loose and have fun at orientation.

"I feel like 2013 has been doing some different stuff," Margaret Maurer '13 said, explaining that students at Sunday night's first-year festival created a "karaoke mosh pit."

The Saturday night ice cream social, which had Ben and Jerry's ice cream bars  instead of the traditional make-your-own sundaes, received mixed reactions from the freshmen.

Lincoln Field had "too many people and too little ice cream," Orlen Shiba '13 said.

Still, the event was "a good way to meet people," Ana Rodriguez '13 said.

But orientation is not without anxiety for the upcoming semester. Some students said they were worried about handling a more intensive workload.

"I don't know how I'm going to take a class," Samuels said. "I haven't worked since the first semester of senior year."

Other students said their greatest fear is getting lost.  "I need a GPS," Chris Janigian '13 said.

"The only building I recognize is the SciLi," Shiba said.

But first-years stay together and walk the campus in packs.

Rodriguez said the easiest way to meet people was sticking with her unit, but Janigian said he "wouldn't know anyone if it weren't for Facebook."

Janigian and many of his new friends introduced themselves on Facebook and then met up on the Main Green during orientation.

"The best is when you see someone who has friended the entire class on Facebook, and they come up to you and you know nothing about them," Samuels said. "That person's usually me."

The fourteen students enrolled in the Brown-RISD dual degree program this year have balanced Brown's orientation with activities run by older dual degree students on RISD's otherwise empty campus. "We're like a family," dual degree student Nazli Ozerdem '14 said.


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