10 Tips for Freshman Orientation
- DON’T SKIP THE WELCOME EVENTS. Yes, they can be uncomfortable and even silly, but you’ll likely meet at least one or two people who will become your friends. Plus, they’re often chock-full of games, information about campus services … and free food.
- ASK QUESTIONS, BUT NOT THE OBVIOUS ONES. Before you head to orientation, read everything you can about the college on its website and in its brochures. At orientation, ask the questions for which you didn’t find answers.
- TRY NEW THINGS. Sign up for a new club, an intramural Quidditch team, the school newspaper or the student union. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you need to have experience. Unless you’re trying out for varsity football and have never even touched a pigskin, explore your interests and see where things go!
- GET ADVICE FROM OLDER STUDENTS. The older students will be able to give you the lowdown on the best classes, which professors are the toughest, the most sought-after dorm and which after-hours pizza places have the best pie.
- GET EVERYONE’S CONTACT INFO. If you can’t get each person’s phone and email, at least get their name and hometown so you can track them down on social media and connect. You’ll feel better already knowing people on campus.
- CHECK OUT YOUR DORM. If you already know which dorm you’ll have, do a quick walk-through to see if there’s a laundry room on-site (you might want to get a bag with wheels either way). Check out the dorm’s shared kitchen, and see if there’s an elevator for moving day.
- PRIORITIZE WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE. If you’re going to orientation for, say, a three-day weekend in the summer, decide in advance what you want to see most. Your time will likely be limited because of the planned events and tours, but you’ll also have some free time to explore. Do you want to check out a specific dorm? The field house? The theater department? The nearby restaurants? Map them out and schedule them in!
- TAKE PHOTOS. Take a photo of the registrar building, your advisor, a group of new friends or that perfect reading spot you discovered by accident. You can refresh your memory right before you head back to campus.
- KEEP AN OPEN MIND. It’s easy to jump to conclusions based on people’s looks, but try to reserve judgment. That girl with the wrinkled dress may have just driven 16 hours in a cramped car. That guy with the thick glasses could end up being your best friend (or lab partner!).
- PLAN ON TEARS. If this is the orientation where your parents say goodbye and head home, things can, and will, get emotional. Your mom may cry. You may cry. Your dad may hug you and head to the car so you don’t see him cry. It’s normal with any major transition, and this may be the biggest transition for your family yet!
The idea of freshman orientation may seem silly, boring or even nerve-racking, but don’t skip it! Sure, there are bound to be some awkward get-to-know-you exercises, but there are few faster ways to get to know new people, the campus and what to expect from college life. Go in with an open mind and you might be surprised how much fun you have!