June 21, 2020 (10:38 PM)

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VIRTUAL ORIENTATION. Along with the University’s shift to online learning, the Office of Student Affairs launched the Ateneo First Year Orientation Program virtually for the first time, June 16-18. Photo taken from AFYOP Twitter page.

With the University’s thrust to start fully online classes for the first semester of Academic Year 2020-2021 this coming June 22, the Ateneo First Year Orientation Program (AFYOP), an annual event headed by the Office of the Student Affairs (OSA), was also conducted virtually for the first time. 

Sharing the objective of AFYOP which is to brief incoming first-year students of the academic and non-academic policies of Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU), Accountancy representative and AFYOP facilitator Rholien Rhoi Verallo stressed the need to conduct virtually this year’s AFYOP. 

“As we are still transitioning to online learning, there is really a surge of concerns from the students, most especially from the first years. AFYOP is a great platform that will cater these concerns and ensure that the incoming first-years will not feel lost as they start their journey as college students,” Verallo said.

The online orientation was officially held from June 16 to 18 but Social Science Cluster Facilitator Lyra Denn Delos Santos assured the non-attendees that the infographics and videos intended for the orientation will be made available for the late enrollees.

“The AFYOP Video Orientation is still ongoing and is accessible till July 4 to give way to the late enrollees and to those who have not yet activated their AdDU E-mail,” she said.

Students’ take on online AFYOP

Aside from its main purpose of orienting the first years on the different policies of AdDU, AFYOP was also considered a way of welcoming the new students to the college department of the university.

For Incoming BS Accountancy John Paul Sapsal who has been “eyeing to enroll in Ateneo de Davao” for college, the AFYOP experience was one of the events he was looking forward to long before he graduated from Senior High School.

“As much as I want to emphasize that experiencing a physical AFYOP orientation is incomparable like the ones conducted years prior, it is undeniable that AFYOP still lives up to my expectations as an incoming freshman. The presentation in video format was engaging, creative, and informative at the same time. The inserted intermission numbers were [also a] breather for us,” he shared. 

As for BS Architecture first-year student Marian Joyce Oroyan, she shared how it has become a common mindset that orientations will be “boring” and how some would opt to skip it. But during these troubling times, she believes that attending the AFYOP was “greatly necessary”.

“It aids in familiarizing you with the learning environment and process that you will be encountering in the days to come especially that we are evolving into a new normal,” she said.

“Personally, the online orientation exceeded my expectations. I thought that the video would just be plain and straightforward.  Surprisingly, they designed it in a way that it’ll seem like we are in an actual program. From the starting prayer (which is very Atenean) to the intermission numbers, it was planned creatively,” Oroyan added. 

Online AFYOP difficulties

Although incoming BS Accountancy freshman  Joanna Danielle Ang expressed her gratitude  to  the AFYOP core team for providing the first years the essential information on what they need to know and expect from the AdDU College Unit, she also shared her difficulties in the virtual event.

“Seeing the grading systems, the different clusters, student organizations, and university offerings, [it] opened my eyes to what my college life would possibly be. It gave me a sense of excitement to embark on this new chapter of my life,” Ang shared.

“AFYOP 2020 wasn’t perfect on my opinion, but I can say it has decently done its job in enlightening us freshmen,” she added.

Aside from the internet connection being a detrimental issue for Ang, the system of information dissemination regarding the virtual event as posted in AFYOP’s official social media accounts also posed a difficulty for the AFYOP attendees. 

“Their page would often tell us that the video codes were already emailed to us, but actually weren’t. This created a lot of confusion for most of us as I have observed from my fellow BSA batchmates,” she remarked. 

The same internet difficulty was also experienced by incoming Medical Biology student Louie Tulipas who shared that his internet connection was “unstable” resulting to a time-consuming video buffering. 



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