We’ve all been there. First, there’s the pang of excitement when you receive the orientation schedule, then comes your first major decision as a university student: Which segment do you skip? Which days are deemed ‘useless’? You scroll through your contacts in search for a senior, or a peer who’s joining you to find out which days are important enough to attend, just so you could prolong your break, even if it’s just by a day. February 2018 freshies got to experience this just last week, and here’s what went down.
Upon registration at their respective schools, students were showered with various goodies like vouchers, wristbands and a handy orientation booklet. They were then ushered into Audi 1 and 2, where the main orientation event took place. Members from the Monash Street Dance Society brought a fantastic reason to wake up a sleepy crowd with loud, blaring music through their performance of BTS’ Mic Drop. Just to guide students through the event, emcees Nahar and Peter delivered fun, cheeky banter while reassuring everyone their crowd that Monash would always be a safe space for everyone, regardless of sexuality, gender and religion.
Highlights of the first day included a welcome speech by Monash’s very own Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Walker! His message to all was pretty straightforward: everyone deserves a big congratulation for being enrolled in a top university in Malaysia! Being the third largest Monash campus in the world (and largest non-Australian campus!), Professor Andrew mused about how much Monash cherishes diversity, and this in turn would serve as a wonderful platform for cultural exchange. He also wanted students to make good use of the resources available on campus, be it academic, mental wellbeing, or even administrative help.
Before ending his speech, Professor Andrew took the opportunity to answer a few questions submitted by students. No one was surprised at the amount of Ugandan Knuckle references sent in. While he wasn’t completely sure if there’s a policy regarding students eating in class, he reassured the floor that there is really no difference between Monash University Australia and Malaysia. If anything, Monash gains the advantage of being the only Group of Eight school that has a comprehensive campus in Malaysia.
After that, MUSA president Thusharan extended his welcome to all and spoke about his time as a Monash student. He compares said experiences with being on a roller coaster ride, where there will be both good times and bad times. On top of academics, Thush also highlighted various options for students to experience Monash as a whole. There are at least 50 clubs and societies for students to hone their co-curricular interests and events happening just about every week on campus, so if you’ve been craving pizza (a staple food at most clubs and societies), you should be pretty excited. MUSA members from each department were also introduced to the new students (not unlike bachelors and bachelorettes on a dating show). This was to help students familiarise themselves with the student council and know that there’s a community that’s invested in their welfare just as much as they are with their own.
Outside, the foyer was pretty much transformed into a carnival, with tunes courtesy of Radio Monash, and plenty of booths for freshies to get their complete Orientation experience from. In conjunction with Chinese New Year, attendants were treated with a spectacular lion dance performance that is ought to bring out the ‘huat’ (prosperity) for the rest of the year. The usual scent on campus was replaced by wafts of salted caramel by our popcorn vendors, and pies given out to hungry attendants. Doughnuts, cookies and goodies of all sorts were handed out to everyone, and needless to say there were no hungry folks on that day itself. Freshies could also sign up for Orientation Bash that’ll be held at Outbac Broga, set to definitely be a fun-filled day where students will meet new friends (probably the perfect event for any budding influencer who wants to bump up their follower count).
Since it was hard to gauge the wonders of local tourism through questionable graphic and marketing choices, international students also had the option to register for a KL tour.
The rest of Orientation Week was when freshies got to know their respective schools and cohorts a little better through the introduction of academic staff, units and the course itself. Students got to go on campus tours, and pray that their ID photos turned out as well as their curated Instagram feeds. The whole experience may be a bit long, but definitely worth it just to ensure that everyone is well adjusted for the rest of their academic years at Monash. The overarching idea isn’t too difficult — once you’re part of the Monash family, resources and help are always available; you just need to ask.
Article by LingJie Tuang and Elizabeth Gerard
Photos by Desmond and Khosyi Musyaffa
Video by Terence Kong