University of Maryland, College Park
I’ve been to two college orientations. One as a first year and one as a transfer student. Both times I remember the events as a haze of speeches, icebreakers, and introductions. But above all I remember being nervous. I didn’t know anyone well and wanted to make sure I made friends before it was too late. When you look back at your orientation you’ll probably realize that nearly all the things you were most concerned about—meeting new people, doing well in your classes, picking the right clubs to join, would all fall into place given time.
Depending on your institution, orientation could be a few hours of meeting with an advisor, creating your student ID, and a seminar on student conduct or it could be a massive week-long event that ranges from volunteer work to open mic nights. One of the most important pieces of advice you can receive before going to orientation is to be unafraid to wander beyond your comfort zone. I know, easier said than done.
Try and remind yourself that everyone is more or less in the same boat which opens up the opportunity for you to take control not only of your orientation experience, but also of what the next four years are going to look like for you. Odds are you won’t find your crew of best friends right off the bat however, this shouldn’t discourage you from approaching strangers at orientation. In fact, it should be viewed as an opportunity to expand your social skills and get a feel for what life looks like on your campus.
At most colleges orientation is mandatory and even if it isn’t, most students rightly view it as the first taste of college life. Your time as an undergrad is an amazing part of life. The best moments will be memories that stick with you for life and the challenging moments will make you wonder how you managed to pass that one final. These triumphs and difficulties are mitigated and sweetened by the company you keep and you guessed it, the social experience begins with your orientation.
Pro-Tips for your first days
1. When you’re moving in, leave your door open and play your favorite music. Sharing the same taste in music is a great way to kick off a conversation.
2.It is never to early to think about your future. Cross check any AP credits with your school’s requirements if you’re registering on or shortly after orientation.
3. Take care of yourself. Go to the events you want to, not the ones everyone is going to. Pursuing your interests will allow you to meet people that share similar hobbies. Take time to recharge if that’s something you need. Skipping an event to spend a few quiet moments alone won’t ruin your chances at a fulfilling social life—promise.
Onwards and upwards!