I remember the summer before my freshman year of college, and how absolutely scared I was of orientation. I’d decided to go to an out of state university that no one in my home town had ever heard of. I didn’t know anyone that went to my university – I was completely alone. And I was terrified. I had no idea what to expect at orientation, and I had no idea how to prepare. That’s why I’m writing this post! So you guys will know exactly what to do. For even more tips and tricks for rocking your college orientation, check out the ultimate guide to orientation HERE!
First Things First
First thing to expect at orientation – a LOT of people. You’re going to walk into a building packed with students and parents (who are probably crying) and stand in line to get your orientation packet. They’re going to split you up into groups, so even if you go to orientation with someone you know, you will probably be in different groups. For the next two days, expect to walk all over campus with your new group (so wear comfortable shoes).
Expect a lot of ice-breaker games. Be ready to talk about yourself and learn a lot about a group of random people you’ll probably never see again on campus. There will be games upon games, trying to break the tension and make you a cohesive group. It’s weird, it’s awkward, but everyone else feels weird and awkward too, so it is kind of a bonding experience.
Keep in Mind
You’re probably going to feel lost on campus. Unless you grew up where your college is or you have spent a lot of time there, it is unlikely that you will know where everything is. You’ll feel okay when you’re in a group, but you’re just praying that you won’t get separated and have to find something on your own. My second day of orientation, I woke up early and wandered around campus to get a feel for it – I got somewhat lost, but it really helped me get my bearings and understand where everything was.
If you bring parents with you, they will probably cry. Mine didn’t (I’m the fourth and last daughter to leave home – they were probably jumping for joy), but a lot of parents did. Especially if you are the first child, or an only child. Let them cry, don’t get mad at them. You’re going to miss them when you’re in a dorm room sick as can be and your mom isn’t there to take care of you. Most orientations split up students and parents, so you won’t be with them for the majority of orientation anyway.
You might meet your best friend at orientation… or you might not. Be prepared for either, but don’t get down if you don’t meet your new best friend right away.
How to Prepare
Take a small notepad and pencil with you. They are telling you really important stuff at orientation (that’s why it’s mandatory)! You don’t want to forget it in the next 1-2 months before you get on campus. I referenced my notes several times in the months leading up to college. Other than that, I wouldn’t recommend carrying a lot of stuff around with you. Maybe a small bag to carry papers that they give you, but you don’t need much stuff – it will only get in the way.
Write a list of questions before you go. Ask your parents to do the same. There are several moments to ask questions during the orientation, so be prepared. Here are a few ideas to ask your orientation leaders, since they are current students:
- What has been your favorite thing about (your college)?
- Are there any classes/professors I should avoid?
- What clubs do you participate in?
- What is your favorite restaurant in (your college town)?
There are so many other, specific questions that you can ask, so make sure you spend some time thinking about those beforehand.
Also, you will likely be scheduling your classes at orientation. For a full blog post all about that, check out scheduling classes at orientation.
Final Orientation Tips
The most important rule of orientation is to be open and accepting. If you’re closed off to everything that is happening, you won’t have fun, and you probably won’t fall in love with your school. Orientation leaders work really hard to make sure you have a memorable experience, so don’t waste it. Most of all, have fun, and enjoy your first few days at your new home for the next four years!