Tak kenal maka tak cinta. Jom Kenali Universiti Awam (UA) Malaysia.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Orientation in a Public University (UUM)

Posted by Melanie

I shall start with a brief introduction. Six months ago , I was accepted to Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM). It's not exactly a well-known public university but they're the pioneer in Business Studies in Malaysia. Situated in Northern Malaysia, it costs me around RM 1K (Malaysia Airlines) for a return ticket. I am from Kuching, Sarawak and I must admit it's really tiring to travel up there because unfortunately there's no direct flight.

Well, before I continue sharing my orientation experience with you, I must warn you that every university have a different way of conducting their orientation and this is what I personally went through.

Orientation starts right after your registration. Yes, I kid you not. It's directly! You register, get your keys to your room (hostel) and the next thing is you gather with thousands of juniors. You don't even realise it is starting! (Honestly, it meant nightmare!!)

Orientation usually lasts about a week. The orientation in my university is conducted by a team of University Facilitators. There are about hundreds of them , and you will be divided into groups and each group has one facilitator. Something every university does is to distribute the same beg where you will use for the entire orientation. I don't find it a good idea because many eventually mistook other's beg and it just causes more problems.

The day started as early as 5 in the morning. (I'M NOT JOKING) The Muslim go to the mosque and do their duty while non-Muslim gather in the hall for some Moral studies. I don't know if it did help moulding our Moral, but really most of them (including myself) is just to sleepy to even pay attention. No, it's not that we are lazy to wake up in the morning. You would be the same too if the activities the day before ends at roughly 1 a.m and this goes on for one whole week. I remembered once they woke us up at 2 a.m just caused they wanted to announce something that is not important at all. It was frustrating knowing you have to wake at 4 a.m to get ready for the 5 a.m slot LATER!

There will be endless "taklimat" whole day through just to get us juniors used to the new rule and of course, a total new environment. They are somehow helpful, but most of the time, almost half of the hall is sleeping away. I somehow wish they're conducted it in a more interactive ways so that it won't be so boring. Other times, you will be mingling around with your team mates (remember i said we're divided into groups?) and if you're lucky, they stay with you even after orientation. Unfortunately for me, my orientation friends stays as "orientation friends".

Food are served six times a day. Early morning breakfast, breakfast, lunch, tea time, dinner and supper. In Kedah, food are all spicy and it's not just spicy, but extremely spicy! I am lucky enough that I can put up with spicy food but it was a tad too much for me because even supper is spicy! Many could not put up with it and have bad diarrhea. Some chose to skip their meals. In fact, I had bad constipation through out the whole orientation and skipped many of my meals. The desperate ones chose to skip their meals just to get some short nap.

You know, I was never mentally prepared to go through all these hard core orientation. My sister graduated from a private university and I never ask anyone how it is like to go through orientation. I told you food are served six times a day. Before you could think that our meal breaks are long, you're SO TOTALLY wrong! We're actually given less than two hours to eat and having to queue with so many people, you actually have around 15 minutes left to really rest your mind or answer nature's call. There's really almost nil breaks in between.

With really short breaks in between, there's really no time for you to go back to your room and take a bath or even nap! My university's dress code is formal so it really didn't help at all. Imagine wearing formal the whole day with all the sticky-ness of your body? It's one of the most uncomfortable feeling in the whole world. It feels like heaven when you finally can take bath when the day ends. Many fell sick during orientation and a lot fainted too. Heck, my friend was even hospitalised! I guess it's not really that we lacked rest, but with no bath and unhealthy food, our body just decided to break out.

There is always one day where you will need to attend a protocol event. It is very formal where no applause is allowed. They encouraged you to wear traditional costumes and no dark coloured clothes are allowed. It is where you pledge to be committed with your studies and the university itself. Mine was not properly organized, and they made me round the hall at least three times under hot burning sun and when I finally manage to get into the hall, they told me I have no seats. With the lack of sleep and rest, it really tested my patience! Somehow, having to see so many high spirit juniors pledge together was an interesting sight.

Of course, everything has it pros and cons. There are some things i really did enjoy during the orientation. Orientation is basically all the juniors gather so you get to make a lot of new friends. Everybody wants to be your friend, and you want to be everybody's friends. You're new, you're fresh and you wanted to have someone with you. No one will actually judge you even though you don't give them a good impression. There's no assignments, there's no pleasing lecturers and there's no chasing bus to make in time for morning lectures. You just do what's told. I'll say, orientation is innocent. =)

There's always a slot for community service but not everyone will be involved. I was involved though. And I must say it is the highlight of the orientation. I was sent to kampung in Bukit Kayu Hitam, and helped clean the mosque. The people in the kampung cooked us lunch and we were served in a totally Malay-style. The "makan bersila" thing. I am a non-Muslim, so I really find that fascinating. Then we were served some local fruit as desert and I would never forget how good the durian taste! It was really, really good.

There's also some mind-rest activities and the one I enjoyed was singing songs together. The theme song for my orientation was "Right Here Waiting" and "Permaidani Biru". It was one of the best moment for me where you sing along with friends, holding hands or waving with your hand phone lights on. It's a pretty sight when friendship was really innocent. Speaking of singing, one of the funny thing I recall was having to sing Negaraku in the wee hours. It's funny to sing the national anthem when all you think is to go back to your room and lie down on your bed. Even the hardest bed could make you feel like you're in heaven!

Last but not least, to sum the whole orientation , the facilitators conducted some "soul searching". They will read some really sad poems followed by gloomy songs but the main intention is to remind you of the your motif there, that if to graduate with a degree and not to disappoint your parents. It works to most of them, and the rest slept through it. I don't blame them, I remembered clearly that it was done around 12.30 a.m! I was sleepy too and I confess I did sleep. I was too tired to be into the "plot".

That's about all that I went through during orientation. It was so hard core, but I never really understood the message they wanted to send us through a hard core orientation. Six months has passed, orientation memories still stays really fresh with me. It feels like just yesterday...

Anyway, my advise to those of you who are going to public university , be mentally and physically prepared! Best wishes from me!

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  1. I am not a student from the public university, but most of my friends were. Anyway, here are my opinions.

    The orientation conducted at public universities serve no purpose other than to let the seniors have fun by torturing the students.

    I have female friends who cried because of the orientation and friends who got sicked during the orientation and yet needed to finish the whole program.

    Seniors would just torture them in and out, sleeping really late and waking up really early, doing some stupid stuffs, forced to eat some God-know-what, do really heavy exercise and many more.

    To me, its just ridiculous.

    Orientation is to help the new students to get involved and blended into the new environment, but, as an outsider who has been to public university to see their orientation first hand, I can only feel sorry for them.

  2. I went to UKM and we had to wear baju kurung the whole week!

    P:S/ You have a lot of adds! Haha..

    1. did it have to be blue? im going next week. please reply tq!

  3. Jason : I know people said juniors were tortured by the seniors, truth is, we aren't exactly tortured.Lecturers torture us so much more!!! If you think they torture us by letting us sleep really late and waking up really early , they do the same too because they need to conduct the activities. And what we eat, they eat too. It's a lot of torture, somehow , i kinda enjoyed mine.

    Princess Shin :
    Baju kurung is kinda comfortable , don't u think? hehe

  4. I'm a first year undergraduate studying at USM Penang Main Campus currently.

    I guess I'm lucky as during orientation week in USM, we were not tortured at all, were given enough sleeping time; and like yours, what we needed to do was sitting in the big hall and listening to the 'taklimat's the whole day long..

    We also practised "big group cheers" and competed with groups from other hostel one day..
    Overall, it was a relax and boring orientation; not suffering though.. and our seniors didn't bully us at all.

    If I'm not mistaken, they changed the policy after some tragedies happened few years back...

  5. I was in college in England. Our orientation was in winter. Apart from having to get up early in the morning at 7 am in cold dark winter, we had to run round the block in our shorts and T-shirts just for the enjoyment of our seniors. But after the one-month orientation period, we seemed to miss it.

  6. hey..i will be entering a public university end of this june..hurmm..thanks for advice melanie..i'l sure keep that in mind..but is it really that hard they torturing the juniors??
    I scared to death when i read your blog and other people comments..i mean, i try to put myself at your shoes.."seeying" all what u done through..really make me feel sick..i really hope it won't be that horrible..and i do hope the seniors won't be that harsh..

  7. for me orientation is a medium for us to cooperate with others, it also wolud lead us to be more independence and make us able to adapt to the new surrounding. moreover people would feel more memorable moment could be captivate durinr the orientation week. my advice is, be able to accept all the new surrounding and havefun with the orientation....


  8. Melanie is it really very hard to go through the UUM orientation?Please let me know,bcoz im also gonna be a student of UUM...Please help meeeeeeeee!

  9. I totally agree with the orientation style in public U as mentioned by you Melanie.

  10. I graduated for my bachelor degree from UTM, Skudai. When I read through your comment about the orientation at UUM and of course not much different when I went through the orientation in 2002. So tiring the whole week and what I agree of sometimes not useful enough for first year student to function well in university. Sometimes no benefit at all. The most ridiculous thing I remembered was we have a coupon and must presented it during meal time. Long queue. Unrealistic time. Uncomfortable dress and everything. What I remembered was messy. Sleep during the "endless taklimat". And to be honest I missed some session.Because I not awake and nobody check for me at that time. I think the public U orientation must be organized well on purpose not only to torture students with a lot of "text". We don't remember at all after the orientation. Because the important thing to concern in the university life are academic survival and social context.

  11. A week in orientation is peanut compare to a day in corporate war. The stress levels totally different. Need not to worry, those orientation just make us tougher and get different experiences. Forget the shouting or whatsoever, look at the degree of stress.. the higher would better for us in future..

  12. I am going to study at UUM next week......after reading Melanie's blog really freaks me out.........if i got the power i will sure ban torturing in orientation......I mean orientation is good for us to adapting the environment around the U and getting to know the people there but does not mean the seniors can take advantage of these situation to torturing us(juniors)........this will only causes the relationship between seniors and juniors more stressful(this i mean hatred)........i really don't understand why the people in charge or the Ministry Of Education allow this nonsense behavior......Lastly I really hope that my life in UUM wouldn't be "paintfull".....

  13. i miss my dayz in uum...orientation just take it fun..store memories for future..

  14. Orientation is just a process of preparing new students to the new environment. Before this they are all surrounded with parents, siblings, friends in schools but now they are only with friends and seniors and lecturers. It is also another way of make acquantance with seniors. Learn on how to respect seniors. May be some are quite harsh, not to make the juniors scare to their seniors but to respect. When they are out to real working world they will be meeting with more than worst type of people.

  15. for me a new student should think positive about the orientation..its not ridicules at all actually...like me myself, i already faced the bully's time...hehe...yes its hard at the beginning, but funny at the ends...keep the memory in your life...i am sure you will miss those memory...:)



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