Photo: Adam Orfinger / The Daily Gamecock

Freshman orientation underway with first 2017 session

Freshman orientation for fall 2017 kicked off Monday morning as the first of many future Gamecocks arrived early to check their belongings at Patterson Hall for their first taste of college living.

Through Tuesday evening, the first batch of this fall’s freshmen will register for classes, obtain their CarolinaCards and spend their first night in a campus dormitory. With administration expecting to take in up to 5,700 freshmen this August, a total of 13 orientation sessions are scheduled to accommodate the class of 2021. Two sessions will take place each week through the end of July, excepting the week of July 4.

The check-in line at Patterson Hall extended well out of the lobby and in front of Women’s Quad by 8 a.m. After weeks of sleeping in post-graduation, one word seemed to resonate in the minds of the gathered students and even some parents as the crowd grew north on Bull Street.

“Tired,” said Zachary Kraft of San Diego.

“Tired,” said John Strevens of Columbia, father of incoming freshman Sebastian.

“I kind of woke up a little bit early,” said Eric Rambo of Columbia.

Adam Orfinger / The Daily Gamecock

“Little tired, I woke up kind of early,” said Luke Sturialy of Cockeysville, Maryland.

“She’s good, I’m sleepy,” joked Sheila Branch of Columbia, mother of incoming freshman Nia.

The younger Branch, who intends to declare a public health major in the fall, said she selected USC because it felt the closest thing to home away from her nearby home.

“I didn’t want to leave that far from home, it’s only 20 minutes down the road,” Branch said. “It’s where I felt the most at home at when I took the tour.”

But even before parents began to arrive and the sun rose over Five Points, orientation leaders had long since clocked in. All around Patterson and Women’s Quad current USC students milled about carrying clipboards and megaphones, answering questions for eager parents and pointing students in the direction of an awaiting breakfast spread at Russell House.

C.K. Harris, a third-year finance student, began the day directing cars outside the Bull Street parking garage. Scheduled to work from 7 a.m. Monday through midnight, Harris said she finds the smiling faces of future students to be the most rewarding part of her job.

“I’m a leader at heart,” Harris said. “This is an opportunity unlike any other at USC. It’s gonna look beautiful on a resume, as well.”

Fourth-year exercise science student Ryan Baker began his shift on campus at 6 a.m. Monday. A student event manager for Capstone Conference Center during the school year, Monday was Baker’s first day working freshman orientation.

“It’s nice to make a good first impression on people coming to Carolina,” Baker said while stationed outside Sims Hall. “It’s nice to feel that you helped contribute to their satisfaction.”

The final session of freshman orientation for the fall 2017 semester is scheduled to conclude July 27.

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