Before my first semester at Heller began, my COEX cohort started to bond during our orientation. One particular highlight from orientation was our visit to Plymouth Plantation. We had the opportunity to learn Indigenous boat-making, interact with actors portraying 17th-century villagers, and glance into the complicated history surrounding Massachusetts’ early settlers and the indigenous people whose land they settled on. Orientations for Heller’s programs will be held online this year, but there are certain things we can still expect to learn and gain from the orientation experience.
Heller faculty and staff are always eager to engage in thought-provoking discussions, and always happy to answer any questions that pop into students’ minds. During this year’s virtual orientations, we can anticipate having the support of Heller staff and faculty in this same way. You should feel empowered to ask them about your schedule, class topics, resources for graduate students, and your career aspirations, just to name a few. You will be meeting people virtually who are extremely passionate about their students, classes, and the Heller community as a whole.
Orientation is also an exciting opportunity to meet the people who will make up your cohort over the next few semesters. Orientation will introduce you to your new community and your support systems. I recall meeting many people on those first two days of orientation who are now dear friends and colleagues. My advice is to be as open-minded as you can, as you’ll be meeting many people from many different places and backgrounds. It’ll soon become clear how much you can benefit from the relationships you’ll build with your classmates starting those first days of the semester when orientation takes place.
Lastly, virtual orientation will be an excellent introduction to what your experience over the next year (or two) will look like. For me, I was nervous and worried before starting at Heller, but orientation was a means of easing my fears and making me feel comfortable in this new experience. Not only is orientation a way of meeting your classmates and Heller staff and getting your questions answered, but orientation is also a way to introduce you to Waltham, to what you can expect academically, and to all the options and opportunities you’ll have as a Heller student.
Although Heller’s orientations will be held differently this year, there are many aspects of orientation that won’t change. You will meet and bond with your classmates and pave the way to lasting friendships. You’ll also meet Heller staff and professors who will be eager to answer any and all questions you may have about schedules, your academic interests, or the support you may need. Orientation is a thorough introduction to the Heller community overall, and an integral way to begin your time as a Heller graduate student.