Fast Track Orientation is Eastern Michigan University’s version of Freshmen Orientation, and they have it all in one day in the spring so that in the fall, it saves more time. It starts around 10am and ends around 4pm. Since I only live 20 minutes away from EMU, I left my house around 9:15 to get there early and check in. I was going with my mom & dad so they could learn where I was going to be living in the fall. When we got there, I checked in, then we found a seat and for about an hour, they had students and parents all in the same room and talking about general things. After that, they separated the students from the parents, divided us into groups, and we had to go meet with advisors. My tour guide was talking about something being on our papers that listed our majors, but I had no idea where she was talking about so I asked somebody next to me. She didn’t know either, so we helped each other out and turns out she put down the same major as me.
Unfortunately, EMU doesn’t have anything for physical therapy, so somebody a while back had told me to put down occupational therapy because it was close enough to get the general idea. When we went into the room with the advisors, we sat down and straight away I told the advisor that I didn’t want to actually major in occupational therapy, I wanted physical therapy. I don’t think she really knew what to do with that information, so she kind of just ignored what I said and moved on. At the table where we were, it was the advisor, the girl I asked the question about the major, (I found out later her name is Lydia) and me. Basically all the advisor had us do was write down about six classes that we wanted to take, which we could then choose from when we would register later in the day. After we were done meeting with the advisor, we got a voucher for lunch and were told to go get lunch, then go back up to where we were so we could listen to a presentation while we ate. I was so excited to have a break to eat lunch, but then they tell me I can’t even enjoy lunch without listening to them talk about things?? I ended up going with Lydia and we got lunch at the same place, then went back up to the presentation and ate while they talked about things I already knew.
Finally when they were done, it was time to go sign up for classes so we all walked to the library and went to a computer lab; my tour guide showed us how to sign up for classes then let us do it. I was originally planning on taking an English class, a math class, a science class and a psychology class, but when I was talking with the advisor, she told me not to take a science class yet. My new plan was to take an English class, a math class, psychology and children’s literature, however when I got on and started looking at the classes, most of the psychology classes were 80-100 people (with the exception of maybe four, which had only 20-40 people). I don’t work well with a lot of people in one class, so I figured I would try to wait until I could get into one of the 20-40 people classes. So once again, I had to change my plans. I figured I would take an English, math, children’s literature, and a feminist studies class. I signed up for my English class and matched it up so that I could have it with Lydia. One class signed up for (finally!), so I went on to my math class and get that one registered. Next I tried to get the feminist studies class that my future roommate Olivia had already signed up for, but it was full. Another class had one spot left so I was all set to sign up, but then realized it would create a conflict with one of the other classes, so I decided to forego that class. I signed up for the children’s literature class and then chose one of my alternatives that I had planned on taking in the winter semester: nonverbal communication. So finally, after some adjustments to my original plan, I had my schedule of 12 credit hours! On Mondays and Wednesdays I would have math from 11:00am to 12:15pm, and children’s literature from 3:30pm to 4:45pm. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I would have my English class from 2:00pm to 3:15pm, and my nonverbal communication class from 3:30pm to 4:45pm. No classes on Fridays, and I was definitely not going to sign up for any class that started before 10am.
After we had registered for our classes, we went back to the place we ate lunch and got our pictures taken for our ID cards, then had to listen to yet another presentation about a bunch of stuff I already knew. After that was done we finally got to go back to the room where we thought our parents would be, but they weren’t; there were a lot of students, including me, looking hopelessly lost wondering where our parents were. Turns out they were in a lecture as well, so once they got released, we all went to go to the Resource Fair which was supposed to go until 4:30, and then we wanted to take a “dorm room only” tour, which was supposed to start at 4:30 and go until 5:00. However, they apparently had changed the plans, and around 3:50 they were making announcements that the dorm only tour would be leaving in 5 minutes. We quickly made the decision to go on the tour and then we would come back afterward and see everything at the resource fair. Luckily the dorm I wanted to see was the first one, so we left right after that one and quickly made our way back to the resource fair. Once we got there, though, we noticed that almost everything was packed up and most of the representatives had left. It had only been a maximum of 20 minutes that we had been gone, so there should have still been 15 more minutes of the resource fair. We ended up talking to a few people that were still there, but a lot of my mom’s questions still didn’t get answered.
By the time we were in the car on our way home, I was exhausted mentally and physically. They gave us so much information, expected us to do everything all in one day (which I wasn’t expecting), the advisor had not listened to me, and my plan with classes was thrown off. I was so done with the day and wanted to just stop everything and throw away all the plans I had about going to EMU and living on campus. It sounds dramatic, I know, but it’s what I was ready to do. Whenever I get thrown off by things and they become more challenging, I usually want to give up. I never actually give up, but I definitely get a good cry out of it and then realize I’m a baby and need to get over whatever the issue is, so I pick myself up, fix my makeup, and tackle the issue like it didn’t even phase me.
That’s what I ended up doing, and it helped me be able to do more research about occupational therapy versus physical therapy. Turns out, it’s basically the same thing except physical therapy is to try and relieve pain, while occupational therapy is helping somebody with everyday tasks like brushing their teeth, or doing the dishes. I then realized that occupational therapy is what I actually wanted to do, not physical therapy, but I thought it was the same thing. EMU doesn’t have anything for physical therapy, but they do have an occupational therapy program, which requires a master’s degree; physical therapy, starting in 2017, requires a doctorate degree. My new plan is to attend EMU for the entire time I’m in college, and go into the occupational therapy program. It’s less schooling, therefore saving me money in the long run. So while that day was mentally exhausting, it opened my eyes to what occupational therapy is, and I changed my major before I even started college classes. I can tell that this college journey is not going to be easy, and things like this are going to happen a lot. Nothing may happen like I thought it would, but I think I’m ready for the crazy ride.