By Sam Coren
Throughout the summer colleges across the US will be holding freshmen orientations. For current college students and alumni, orientation is just a fleeting memory, but for new students it’s a source of anxiety and excitement. After all, orientation gives you that first real glimpse of what college life is going to be like for the next four years.
Between meeting fellow classmates, picking courses, figuring out possible housing assignments, and trying to stick to the orientation schedule there will be a lot of running around. So how do you make the most of your short time there?
Here are a few College Freshman Orientation Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind:
- Familiarize yourself with your degree requirements before meeting with your advisor and picking classes. This will save you a ton of time if you know which courses you need to take first.
- Pack light if you’re staying overnight. Many freshmen orientations will require an overnight stay. Chances are you can survive without your laptop for two days. Plus you’ll probably be taking home a ton of orientation swag.
- Remember to smile when you’re introducing yourself. Sure, you might rather want to be at the beach, but this is your first chance to make new connections and friends at college. First impressions are important.
- Participate in the silly “ice breaker” games. Orientation leaders in charge of showing students around campus will often try to get everyone involved in games designed to get to know people better. Even if you’re not a fan of these, try to suck it up and participate. Remember, you can always find other people to joke about them with later.
- Leave your baggage at home. Maybe you just broke up with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe you had a bad fight with your parents. Maybe someone from high school you’re not a fan of will be at orientation. Maybe you’re one of those types who’s quick to judge people. This is not the time to sweat the small stuff. You’re starting a new chapter in life and so is everyone else at orientation – enjoy it!
- Deviate from your orientation schedule. Orientation programmers spend a lot of time coordinating your schedule to make sure you have time to learn what you need to, settle your course selection business, and have time for meeting people while having fun. Be aware of the time and be where you need to be when you need to.Don’t use your free time to start mischief either. Remember, just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you still can’t get in trouble at school. No one wants to be known as the kid who got wasted and kicked out of school during orientation.
- Feel pressured to find a roommate. Many student housing offices will give the option during orientation for students to select roommates. A lot of students feel pressured into picking a roommate at orientation rather than leaving it up to random selection, and this can no doubt lead to some serious college roommate problems later on.If you find someone you click with immediately, that’s great. If you don’t and you start headhunting for roommates you’re probably going to regret the decision.
- Forget to take notes. A lot of information is thrown at your head during orientation. You’re also in a position where you’re constantly meeting new people. Don’t feel too shy to take notes or ask people to write down their emails so you can get in touch with them later. If you’re a gadget addict you probably have no problem whipping out your smartphone or tablet to do it either.
- Hide yourself in your room or eat alone. If you’re a naturally introverted person, this is the time to start overcoming your social fears. Remember, everyone at orientation is in the same position as you – use it to your advantage! Don’t be scared of introducing yourself or asking if you can sit next to someone. You can even try going up to other wallflowers and starting a conversation.
- Beat yourself up if you don’t end up making tons of friends right away. Remember, the people who attend the same orientation as you only represent a small fraction of the freshmen class. Even within your orientation group, you’re not going to have time to meet everyone.Once school starts you’ll have plenty of better opportunities to get to know people through classes, student groups, and housing situations.