By Mariko Kuroda/The Gazelle
Anticipation ripples through the class of 2017 as the long awaited freshmen orientation week, known as Marhaba, approaches.
Incoming freshman Connor Pearce has been ready for this week since December.
"I'm excited to be finally starting at NYUAD. As an Early Decision applicant, I've been waiting for what seems like a long time. I'm also really looking forward to catching up with the people on my Candidate Weekend and meeting everyone else in my year and the rest of NYUAD," he said.
Incoming freshman Mariam Ahmed Abdelazim El Zoghbi shares Pearce's enthusiasm.
"All in all, I can't wait," she said. "I plan to spend as much time as possible getting to know my classmates. I want to make the most out of it."
Daria Baidakova, who will also be new to NYUAD in the fall, wishes to venture beyond the NYUAD campus and discover Abu Dhabi during Marhaba.
"I am eager to walk in the city, feel the special atmosphere of the Middle East and catch a vibe," she said.
"I would love some cultural activities because the UAE and the entire region has a very vibrant heritage which I would love to know more about," said incoming freshman Mitali Banerji.
As the freshmen pack their bags for their first semester, the sophomores have a few Marhaba tips for the incoming class to keep in mind, if there is any remaining space in those suitcases.
Shintaro Hashimoto discouraged students from waiting to be approached.
“Introduce yourself. Initiate,” he said.
Lingliang Zhang recommended that students to take advantage of the diversity and variety of the community.
"Don't tie yourself down to one group of friends or a few people you like at first," he said. "Talk to everyone and get to know them amply before you decide to stop hanging around. Snap judgments are dangerous."
Jules Bello's advice is simple — be yourself.
"Marhaba is best experienced through extreme sincerity," she said. "The more yourself you are when you first meet people the more likely it is that you will retain friends and make a good impression."
Bello also warned against arrogance in spite of the extravagant dinners and grand speeches given in honor of the class of 2017.
"Don't let your head get too big and remember that it's a privilege to be at this school, not just the school's privilege to have you," she said.
While enjoying the various opportunities to bond with his classmates and adjust to NYUAD, one of Adley Kim's resonating memories from Marhaba is [the one] of exhaustion.
"I found Marhaba week to be draining because they wouldn't give us a single moment to rest," he said.
Sharing a similar experience, MinJoo Kim advises the freshmen to fight the temptation to stay up late, and to instead get ample rest.
"Marhaba was a fun experience but I was overwhelmed by the tight schedules and pressures, and I felt exhausted at the end,” she said. “I would recommend that one should not be overwhelmed by so many events going on around oneself, follow the schedule, and get lots of sleep.”
Apart from the sophomores' tips, many freshmen already carry with them an eager mindset to go into Marhaba week: a hunger to "try anything and everything the week has to offer," as Banerji puts it.
Incoming freshman Emily Wang was clear about her goal for Marhaba.
"I plan to just have an open mind and discover what's up at NYUAD,” she said.
First Year Dean Temi Pedro leaves her advice with the class of 2017:
"Marhaba is your orientation to NYUAD and to the global community of students, faculty and administrators that makes the University so unique,” Pedro said. “Take advantage of this opportunity by asking lots of questions, keeping an open mind and a willingness to explore interests that you may not have considered."