Getting to Know Your New College Roommate

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meeting your college roommate

One of the scariest parts of going off to college or living in the dorms for the first time is getting your roommate assignment. For the next school year, you’ll share a space, sleep next to, and most likely hang out with a person you barely know. That can be quite intimidating!

While there are plenty of roommate horror stories out there, the majority of roommate situations are friendly, and many turn into awesome friendships. By putting in the effort to get to know your college roommate, you can build a positive relationship without the drama.

Plan Room Decor Early

Before you move in, you’re going to want to check in with your roommate on some of the logistics of your room. For example, how would you like the room to be laid out (especially if your furniture can be moved around or stacked) or if the person plans to bring a fridge or a TV.

If all is going well with the more logistical side of dorm living, why not try planning room decor together too? Talk style ideas or coordinating themes. Show them some of the bedding you like or plan a craft night the first few days you are there. You can even make a date for a shopping trip to a local thrift store that gets great reviews or share a Pinterest board if distance makes it hard to connect in advance.

Set Aside Time

With school starting up, boxes to unpack, and nerves on an all-time high, it can be hard to find time to just sit down and talk. That’s why it is important to have a roommate-only time set aside within the first week or two of moving in. This may be a few hours to watch a movie or a trip to the cafeteria with just you two.

Your time can be totally laid back and just an informal way of talking through some questions. Or you can bring along a roommate agreement or roommate rule list to talk through. By doing it in public or with a fun activity like trying out a new restaurant, there’s less chance it will be awkward!

Play the Roommate Game

Breaking the ice can be a bit uncomfortable. After all, how do you naturally ask how many siblings your roommate has or if they like country music or rap? You can get these answers by playing a fun getting to know you roommate game! Make it just between the two of you or invite your next door neighbors to play along too. You can even suggest this to your floor’s RA as an activity night idea.

The game is pretty simple, and if you’ve seen the TV show The Newlywed Game, you already know how to play. One roommate is given a piece of paper and a marker to answer questions such as “What is your favorite food?” while the other roommate is outside. When a group of three or four questions are asked, bring in the second roommate and have them try to guess what their roommate said. For every correct answer, the “team” gets a point.

While this game works mid-year when you’ve really gotten to know them, this game is also totally fun to play in the beginning as a guessing game. You may find you have a ton in common!

6 Awesome Ways to Spend Your First Night on Campus

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First night on campus

The first night away from home and in your new dorm or apartment can be quite intimidating. Since you won’t know many people and are probably still not completely familiar with your campus, you might be tempted to spend this time holed up alone or on the phone with mom and dad. Don’t worry — this is normal! But instead of sticking to yourself, there are tons of awesome ways to spend your first night on campus. Here are our top 6!

1.   Experience Orientation Events

To ease the transition from home to dorms or apartments, most colleges offer a ton of great (and free!) orientation events geared towards freshmen and transfer students. During the day, these might include classes and meetings, but at night, they are all about meeting others and having a bit of fun. Whether it’s a dance, a trip to the city, or a pizza party, be sure to try it out. You never know who you’ll meet!

2.   Make a (College-Themed) Movie Night

If you’re more comfortable chilling in your room, that’s not a problem either! Grab your roommate and a neighbor or two and advertise for a college-themed movie night. All you need is a subscription to a streaming service or a few DVDs, a couple bags of popcorn, and some soda to make this party a hit. We recommend watching cult classics that everyone will love such as Animal House, Legally Blonde, Old School, Pitch Perfect, or Revenge of the Nerds.

3.   Take to the Streets

Your campus isn’t the only thing that’s new — you’re probably new to the town, too! Why not take this opportunity to enjoy and explore your new home? Take campus transportation (or walk) for a night of shopping local stores. Get tickets to a concert or theater performance. Check out a movie you’ve been dying to see. Or ask your RA, orientation leaders, or an upperclassman for recommendations for late night dining favorites.

4.   Unpack and Decorate

One of the most important things you can do to alleviate homesickness is to make your new place feel like your own place. And with the hustle and bustle of first days, you’ve probably not had much time to unpack all your boxes or hang that awesome new wall poster you bought. If you can, get your roommate involved. Unpacking and decorating can strengthen your bond. In the end, you’ll end up with a room that both of you will be proud to call home.

5.   Dine Around Campus

If you’d rather stay on campus for your first night, you still don’t have to be stuck in your dorm room with nothing to do! Take your fancy new meal card or ID and a hungry stomach to the places you’ll be eating for the next year! Grab a salad from one cafeteria, a sandwich from the next, dessert from a small cafe, and a milkshake from another. You’ll love spending your night going to one dining area to the next, and you’ll be sure to have new favorite food spots for the future.

6.   Take Some Time for Self-Care

There’s a lot of pressure to make new friends or to get yourself out there. But, truth be told, that’s not for everyone. For many, what’s needed before starting a first day of college classes is some time devoted to centering, relaxing, or planning. If you’re not feeling the party or orientation scene, don’t let it get to you. Take your time to unpack, call a friend, get your books and supplies ready, meditate, or work out. You’ll have two long semesters to make new friends or enjoy your new town, so don’t feel pressured to do anything you’re not comfortable doing!

Move-in Series: 2 Months Out (aka How to Get Through the Longest Summer Vacation)

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Move in 2 months out

The days, weeks, and even months leading up to the start of college can be tough. Plagued with an incurable case of senioritis, high school seniors often catch themselves doodling shopping lists and dorm room layout designs in class, daydreaming about what it would be like to pledge Greek, and longing for the days of no morning classes. We’re right there with you!

It’s hard to be patient when there is so much to look forward to. To encourage that enthusiasm, we’ll be sharing a Move-in Series specifically for students like you, that helps you to tackle all the to-do’s before moving away to college. To get you prepped and ready for move-in day, we’re going to take you through five stages. From two months away to move-in day, we’ve got you covered. Here, let’s discuss how to kick off your last summer before freshman year!

Step 1: College Registration

You may have been accepted into college, but you’re still ways away from the start of fall semester. That doesn’t mean you can’t be thinking ahead! First things first, take care of any paperwork for your school, financial aid, and/or scholarships. Get the most boring stuff out of the way first, so it’s out of sight and out of mind. While you’re at it, don’t forget to setup your college email! Check it often so you don’t miss out on any important notifications from your department or residence hall RA. Lastly, sign up for your classes early! Popular professors and time slots fill up fast, so even if you’re schedule is tentative, sign up. Dropping or adding a class is easier to do early on.

Step 2: Get your money right

Before you start shopping for all your college needs, make sure you have your finances in order. If you haven’t done so already, open up a bank account. Take care of any student loan or credit card applications. You might even apply for your first credit card to increase your credit score.

Next, build a budget that takes into account all of your income and expenses. Keep in mind a time frame for your budget. Are you budgeting for the initial dorm expenses, your first semester, or your entire freshmen year? Consider what it’ll cost for a meal plan, books, dorm supplies, clothes, etc. Plan for those big ticket items and set aside some emergency funds. Figure out what you can afford and stick to that budget!

Step 3: Gather inspiration for your dorm room

Browse around OCM and check out all of the possible color combinations for your room. If you want to add a personal touch, plan some Do It Yourself projects. Print out some pictures of family and friends to put on display. Perhaps you could even create a vision board for your room! The point is to get an idea of what you want your room to look like so you may shop smart!

Step 4: The checklist

The question “What do I need for college?” may seem like a daunting one. The easiest way to approach the checklist is by splitting everything up into two categories: things to bring and things to buy. Consider what you will bring from home: toiletries, back pack, alarm clock, photos, keepsakes, etc. Then, keeping your budget in mind, consider what you’ll have to buy: bedding, furniture, storage trunks/containers, school supplies, etc. Whatever you decide to bring with you, make sure everything will fit in your new digs. Dorms are not huge living quarters, and many come furnished. With limited space, it’s important that you pack accordingly. We have our own college packing checklist that you can print out and use to help you plan!

Step 5: Start shopping

With your moving checklist list ready to go (or at least a work in progress), begin shopping for your dorm and school supplies! You might be surprised at how long it takes to gather and pack everything you need, so it helps to get started as early as possible.

Ordering online is hassle-free, but you have to account for time and money spent on shipping. Also, if you were to forget an item or need to return one, having an extra month to do so is beneficial. As far as packing goes, it’s not a priority at this stage. However, you should go over your checklist from time to time, adding items when necessary, and reminding yourself of what you still need to buy and pack.

Step 6: Preparing for life away from home

You may not be a jack of trades, but you should know basics for living on your own. That means learning to do your laundry, cooking a dorm-friendly meal, and basic car maintenance if you plan to bring your car to campus. The best way to practice these skills is by doing it at home!

Ask your family and friends for help when you get stuck, but be sure to try each of these things on your own. After all, you may not have guidance when you go to do it yourself in school! You need to put in the effort now to learn so it will come as second nature in college. If you are forgetful, or just can’t find the time, put together a schedule. Designate days and times for doing laundry, cooking meals, and whatever else you need to practice.

Step 7: Spend time with family & friends

Planning for college can be stressful, but it’s important to make time for family and friends. After all, you are moving away in two months! Don’t know what do or where to go? Plan a trip to the beach, go on a hike, or just hang out. Whatever you do, enjoy the time spent with your family and friends, making and documenting memories you can think back to when you’re miles apart.

 

The Pros and Cons of Choosing a Meal Plan in College

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Meal Plan

Eating in college — well, it’s complicated. With so many options to choose from, you may be wondering how is the best way to pay for all of your late night snacks and morning cereal buffets. This guide will show you everything you’ll need to consider when choosing a meal plan in college.

The Pros and Cons of Choosing a Meal Plan in College

Pro: Convenience

You don’t want to have to worry about money, especially if you’re not planning on working while in college. And having mom and dad transfer money to your account for a meal is just too taxing (and sometimes risky). With a meal plan, your money designated for all of your meals is on one card, often your ID, and there when and where you need it.

Con: Expense

Meal plans  often look like a bargain, but if you’re not a huge eater, you may be coughing up more money than you actually would spend out of pocket. Before you sign on the dotted line for a meal plan, read through the cost breakdowns and consider your own lifestyle. After all, oatmeal or cereal shouldn’t cost you $8 each breakfast.

Pro: Plan in Advance

For budget-minded students, a meal plan can be the easiest way to budget. Instead of having to split your income or allowance, it’s already done for you. You don’t have to worry about starving on Ramen till the end of the week or begging friends for a few dollars for a slice of pizza. Everything is laid out for you.

Con: Lots to Lose

Remember that student who didn’t eat a ton? What happens to them when the semester or year is up? Each plan is different, but for many, it may mean losing out on a ton of actual money. Even worse, it may force you to go “shopping” so you don’t waste those points or dollars. Who wants a 24-pack of Gatorade and a bulk stock of granola bars?

Pro: Great for Full-Timers

Meal plans work for students who are on campus the most. These are the students who eat every meal in the cafeterias, including on the weekends. It’s basically a guarantee that you’ll be covered for every food need you can think of.

Con: Inflexible

However, if you switch from full time to part time, take up an internship, move off-campus, or just decide that you hate your cafeteria, you won’t have many options. Many schools do not allow students to change up their meal plan until the end of a certain period of time, leaving you with points you won’t use.

Pro: Your Financial Aid May Cover It

Whether you’re on a full ride scholarship, have a few sponsors covering your back, or living off of student loans, you may be able to fund your meal plan without using a dime of your money. Meal plans are typically covered under room and board, so if your financial aid extends to those expenses, you could be in luck.

Con: It’s Complicated

Figuring out points vs. dollars, meals vs. snacks, and your amount remaining can be hard to keep up with. While some schools have made it easy for you to track and spend, others lag behind making it your responsibility to know when you’re running low or when you need to change it up. Just another thing to consider when debating between meal plans.

 

High School to College Transition Tips

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Now that high school is over and you have your diploma in-hand, it’s time to move on to the next phase in your life: college. While you might be tempted to see your college as merely a bigger version of high school, you’ll quickly find that your old beliefs about school, learning, and even relationships are completely different in the college atmosphere. By knowing the ways that college is different from high school, you can adapt and succeed despite the changes.

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1.   Freedom

Every morning in college, you are presented with a choice: go to class, or slack off. The freedom is simply amazing: there are no parents insisting you get out of bed, no one stopping you from eating ice cream for dinner, no detention for failing to do homework. You will now have the ability to make your own decisions.

But this freedom comes with great responsibility in the form of consequences. If you don’t get out of bed, you miss class; if you eat ice cream for dinner, you’ll probably have a stomachache later; if you don’t do your homework, you may get an ‘F.’ It’s essential to exercise your freedom with a measure of restraint, or you will face consequences down the road.

2.   Scheduling

One semester, you may have 8am classes, while the next, you may be signed up for all night courses. Each college has a different set of rules regarding class scheduling, so it is important to understand what to expect and how it may change from time to time.

Another great thing about college? No hallway bell! Your classes may end early or stay late depending on your professor. It’s best when you are scheduling courses to plan ahead for both a little padded extra time and travel time to get to and from your classes.

3.   Teachers

You’re not in high school anymore, so don’t expect your instructors and professors to treat you like a high school student. Teachers in college expect you to be on time with homework completed. They will not hold your hand or allow excuses (even ones you might think acceptable) for missed assignments.

While the rules may be stricter, college teachers usually provide many opportunities to connect outside of class for additional assistance. Most professors offer office hours or host study groups. In addition, Teaching Assistants (usually upperclassmen or graduate students) often step into the teaching role by planning lessons, grading papers, or running after-hours help sessions.

4.   Classes

Unlike high school, where you likely had only a handful of class choices, college offers you an almost endless buffet of courses to meet your interests and goals. Every school is different, but most will require you to take a set of standard courses (such as math, social studies, and history) on top of your major coursework.

In addition, your school of study will then give you options of what you can take to fulfill their specialty requirements. If you decide to pursue a minor or double-major, you may be able to take a wide variety of subject area classes, such as a modern dance, human anatomy, and even classes on popular music, books, and film.

5.   Extracurricular

As in high school, extracurriculars can help when it comes to your applications. This time, the applications aren’t just to school, however—they’re often to jobs. Many college-level clubs are career-oriented and tailor-made to your major, making them valuable sources of networking.

You may also have the chance to pledge a sorority, fraternity, or educational fraternity. Whatever you pick, ensure that you have the time to devote to it.

6.   Friendships and Family

When you move away from home, staying in touch with family and friends can be a huge hurdle. You may want to exercise your freedom and communicate less while parents may try the opposite by insisting on consistent contact. Not having the safety net of seeing each other every day may strain the relationship. Remember that you moving away or living on campus is hard on all sides. In addition, don’t be afraid to pursue new relationships. College is a time to form new friendships, meet new people and discover who you are in the process.

Transitioning from high school to college can be extremely exciting. However, many high school students have no idea what to expect when they pick up their schedules and textbooks. By coming in with an idea of the differences, you can avoid the culture shock and embrace life as a university student.

How have you realized high school is different from college? If you’re a freshman, what do you anticipate as being different? Let us know!

How to Prepare for a Successful School Year in College

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Prepping for a new school year is necessary no matter if you’re in college, high school, or middle school. If you think about it, our parents have been preparing us for a new school year, year after year, even before that. There is nothing worse than starting off a new year feeling overwhelmed and stressed. So what really is the best way to get yourself ready for a new school year?

Reset your sleep schedule
Sometimes summer has a way of making our sleep patterns nonexistent. We stay up until the crack of dawn for Fourth of July fireworks, late night camp fires, movie premiers, etc. You won’t be able to just magically wake up for that 8 am class feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day in August. A week or so before classes resume, go to bed early. See how early you’ll need to go to bed to get a full night’s rest. Maybe you’ll discover you’re the type of person who needs 8 hours of sleep… maybe only 7.

Plan ahead
Immediately after I get my planner, I check online to find my university’s schedule, and I write down all of my breaks for that year. Then, when my professors post the syllabuses online before school starts, I pencil in every single assignment I have listed for that school year before I even get to class. There’s no doubt that I have a pretty full planner before I even get to class. I like writing out my schedule ahead of time so that when my assignments actually start rolling in, I’m not wasting time trying to write down my schedule as well. It can be a time consuming process!

Color code
Color coding your planner can help you declutter the pages. I do this myself. Orange is for everyday life – doctors appointments, lunches with friends, etc. Pink is for blog deadlines and my post schedule. Blue is for class assignments and school related obligations. Green is for sorority events. This helps prevent notes from running together and you reduce your risk of possibly overlooking something in the process.

Print out your syllabus
Do this before your first class. It will be helpful to jot notes down in the margins while your professor is going over it the first day. You’ll also be a lot more organized than if you were jotting down notes for all of your classes on loose leaf. The hardest part about this step is making sure you actually keep these syllabi in a safe place so your notes are of use to you! Put them in your binder or individual folder for each class.

Do it the night before
This is a great piece of advice for life in general. Whenever possible, prep your bag and clothes the night before. Go over tomorrow’s schedule and outline your responsibilities. In the morning, you can sleep in a few extra minutes, and you’ll be rejuvenated and ready to go!

Did I miss anything? How do you prepare for a successful school year? Let me know below in the comments!

How Social Media Can Prepare You for College

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Sure, you may have “liked” your college’s Facebook page or followed the student newspaper’s Twitter feed—but that is just the first step! Your favorite social media pages, such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr, are the perfect places to prepare for what lies ahead. Here are five ways that pinning, following, and posting will help you prepare for your first year.

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1.   Get Safety Alerts First

Most colleges have learned that students turn to social media pages first for the latest information. This is especially true whenever there is a safety issue or concern such as a campus emergency. To accommodate their student’s needs, universities have created social media accounts for their campus alert system. These Facebook and Twitter pages are updated regularly and can provide a quick update on what is going on in and around your dorm room and campus.

2.   Learn About a Professor

Want to know more about your future professors than just what their bios say? Take to social media! Many professors (especially younger ones) have their own social media pages where they may talk about their insights on teaching. This will give you an idea of their humor, personality, and likes/dislikes. They may also share and post articles and research they find interesting. Study the writing style and quality as these posts can give you valuable hints to composing the perfect mid-term paper or research!

3.   Hear it from Alumni

Recent graduates have a lot to say about their former school, and they may share it on places like Facebook and Instagram. Check out pictures of their former dorm rooms as inspiration, take note of off-campus hangouts that they’ve “liked,” or browse their posts for info on classes and events to watch out for. You can even use alumni connections to reach out and network for jobs and internships.

4.   Connect with New Friends

After freshman orientation, you’ll be inundated with names and faces that you’re going to want to remember. Instead of the old school method of writing down phone numbers, ask them about their social media profiles. It’s much easier than connecting over the internet than awkwardly exchanging text messages after briefly meeting. Their profiles will also help you gain insight into bits of their personality and interests. You can also find other familiar and friendly faces on their profile that you may have met during these introductory events.

5.   Design a Dorm Room

Pinterest is one of the most beloved apps used by college students, and for good reason. With so many nifty and creative ideas floating around, you can design a look for your dorm room that is both stylish, affordable, and totally personalized. Other sites to stir inspiration include All My Faves, Dribble, and SpringPad.

Social media isn’t just there for your posts and likes. Use it to prepare for both living on campus, starting your major, and meeting your peers and professors. With so much to do and explore, social media may be your key to getting to know your school and new world as a college student.

Will you be using social media to help you prepare for school? Let us know!

11 Questions to Ask Your New Roommate BEFORE Move-In Day

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An envelope has arrived, and inside it is information that may change your life forever. It’s the name of your new college roommate! It’s exciting, sure—but also a bit daunting. How can you move in with someone you have never met? Make the transition easier for both of you by reaching out and asking these 11 important questions.

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1. How are you moving in?

Get the logistics out of the way first with a couple of questions about their move-in day plans. Are they arriving on move-in day (and if so, what time) and do they have help? Are their parents or friends sticking around? These questions are more for your benefit than for theirs as you can plan around their schedule and make the move-in process less hectic for everyone.

2. What are you bringing with?

Skip the awkwardness by arranging who is bringing what in advance. This mainly applies to big, shared items such as appliances, area rugs, and window treatments. You don’t want to end up with two refrigerators and televisions! Share our College Dorm Checklist with your roomie and mark off items together to avoid duplication!

3. What’s your style like?

If your décor is going to be shared, you will want to discuss style options. This may include if they had a theme or vision in mind or if they hate a certain color scheme. While both of you will have your own designated space, you do want to be considerate of their likes and dislikes as they will be looking at your area too!

4. Do you know anyone at school?

Some students start college with a blank slate and none of their friends joining them. Others pick colleges because their friends are there. If they have friends around, you may be having to deal with a social butterfly from the start. If that makes you uncomfortable, suggest setting down ground rules about friends.

5. What’s your intended major?

Some schools pair up students by their major or department. Others randomly toss students together. Break the ice by asking one of the most commonly asked questions for a college student: “What’s your major?” Their choice of study may reveal a lot about their personalities and habits. Such as, a music student may be bringing along instruments while a business student may be working while studying.

6. Are you a night owl or morning person?

Not everyone will sleep like you. Some will appreciate a late night out. Others want to wake up fresh with the sun. It’s hard to change sleep habits, so be respectful if you are not on the same page. Talk about bed arrangements so that one can sleep while the other watches television. Purchase noise-canceling headphones if they prefer to get up early with an alarm clock.

7. Do you have any allergies?

If your roommate has any allergies, you should know about them before you move in. It will prevent you from bringing in banned food, and it may even keep you from purchasing bedding that they cannot be around. If you’re the one with allergies or other medical issues, do not be afraid to bring it up so that your roommate has a chance to adapt in advance.

8. What’s your class schedule like?

Like it or not, 8 a.m. classes are a real thing. If you or your roommate is anticipating many early morning lectures, speak about it in advance so you can plan a schedule. This is especially important if you are sharing a common bathroom.

9. Any favorite activities?

Asking about activities will show you if your roommate plans to be out or if they prefer to do their own thing in the room. If their activities are things like playing video games or designing websites, they may be more homebodies.

10. What cleaning supplies should I bring?

Cleaning questions are two-sided. If they answer that they are bringing many supplies, you may have a roommate who is a neat freak. If they haven’t thought of it or do not care what you bring, you may want to be on the lookout for messy habits.

11. How can I be a good roommate?

It’s a simple question, but it can tell you so much. Being a good roommate doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they want or change some things about you. It means that both of you are considerate of how the other person likes things to be and are open minded about how to make the living situation better. When both of you agree and make an effort, having a roommate can be the best part about college.

What questions will you be asking your future roommate? Have you been in contact yet? Let us know!

Five Steps to Getting the Most Out of Freshman Orientation

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Freshman orientation can be just another required information session for your first year, or it can be an opportunity to learn about your new school, including the campus, people, and classes you will be taking. After you’ve prepared for your freshman orientation, it’s time to get out and experience it! Those looking to get the most out of orientation can use these helpful steps to ensure that you are prepared, empowered, and tuned in to what truly matters.

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Step 1: Come Prepared

It’s the little things that matter most when it comes to your freshman orientation. Start with the most basic of questions: do you know when and where your event is to be held? If you are new to campus, plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early to find parking and locate a spot. You should also be aware of what your day will entail so that you can plan in advance. For example, if you’re meeting with current students to take a tour offcampus, bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes. Above all, you should bring some paper and pen to write with; there will likely be notes that you want to take.

Step 2: Ask Questions

It can be intimidating to ask a question in front of a group of people you don’t know. But nine times out of ten, you’re most likely going to ask a question someone else is wondering about too! The point of orientation is for you to acclimate to your surroundings and understand what life will be like as a college student. If something is not addressed or you need further explanations, don’t be afraid to raise a hand or pull aside an orientation leader to get the answers you need to be successful as a student.

Step 3: Socialize and Network

Another large part of freshman orientation is the social aspect. Not only have you come to learn about your school, you are also brought together to meet and interact. This is a great time to build some early friendships and bond over the awkwardness of being new to school. It is therefore important to embrace the power of yes. Say yes to new experiences! Say yes to hanging out after orientation has concluded! Say yes to trying that funky restaurant outside of campus! If you’re not hearing the offers to hang out, make your own plans and open up invitations to your classmates. You never know when and where you may make lifelong friendships.

Step 4: Turn off the Phone

Unfortunately, not all of orientation can be the fun stuff, such as discussing where the best coffee shop is. Some of what you may hear or be presented with can be quite dull, but that information is usually the most important. Tune in completely by putting away distractions (such as your phone) and focusing. Take out that notebook and jot down information about class registration, how to get your student ID, and deadlines to buy and return textbooks. Paying attention now will save you loads of time, frustration, and mistakes down the road.

Step 5: Take Advantage of Extra Events

Your orientation may be just a quick rundown, or it may be a weeklong series of classes designed to get you prepared for the coming year. Either way, many schools offer study and social experiences outside the regular schedule in order to help students even further acclimate to the university environment. This may include a volunteer trip off campus to a homeless shelter or a book discussion designed for freshman. These extra events are a great time to immerse yourself in what really rocks about being a college student: freedom, learning, and new experiences.

Orientation is your time to shine. Whether you are there to make new friends or to learn about your new dorm room, make sure you take advantage of all the opportunities presented to you. In doing so, you will find yourself more than ready to start life as a college freshman!

Do you plan on utilizing these steps for your freshman orientation? Let us know!

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How to Pack for Freshman Orientation

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Preparing for your freshman orientation can bring up conflicting emotions. While you are certainly excited, you may also feel anxious about the unknown. To ease these worries, prepare for your big day by packing these essential items so you’re ready for your overnight stay.

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1.   Notebook

Be prepared to hear and take in the best advice for surviving your first year as a student. By carrying around a notebook and a pen, you can write down the name of the tastiest cafeteria on campus or shortcuts to your residence hall building. You can also use the notebook to write down the contact info for all the future friends you are sure to meet.

2.   Twin XL Bedding

A common misconception about freshman orientation is that you should treat it as if you were at summer camp. Instead of a sleeping bag or throwaway blankets, give your new twin XL bedding a spin. After all, this is your best opportunity to see how your linens will look in your new room.

3.   Bathroom Towels

Orientation is not like staying in a hotel; most colleges will not provide you with bath towels for your short stay. Plan to take at least two towels — one for regular use and one as a backup from your towel set. You may also want to grab a smaller one to use as a bath mat or in case of spills.

4.   Tech Accessories

Computers are optional and often not necessary. However, by bringing your laptop or tablet and other tech accessories to your orientation, you may be able to get a jump on learning how to sign in to the WiFi or use the printers at the library while on your own machine. Don’t forget to grab a pair of headphones as well in case you need to drown out a snoring roommate.

5.   Shower Supplies

All college students must come to campus with these shower must haves: a shower caddy, shower shoes/flip flops, high quality towels or loofahs, and their favorite hair and body toiletries. Your stay in the residence halls require that you bring at least the flip-flops, towels, and caddy with you. Do not leave it behind—you risk picking up some potentially nasty germs.

6.   College Swag

Display your school pride by grabbing some college swag clothing before heading to campus. Most bookstores overcharge, especially during orientation, so look for discounts on school-branded merchandise online and at major retailers.

7.   Extra Sunscreen

Many schools capitalize on the beautiful summer weather by holding their orientations outdoors on campus lawns or fields. They may even include campus tours or excursions out of town. Protect your skin from overexposure by packing an extra bottle of sunscreen.

8.   Camera

Orientation is usually your first opportunity to make friends on campus. Don’t miss out on the chance to document these moments. While a phone or digital camera is great for sharing pictures instantly, consider going old school with a film camera for a fun, retro approach that will make you stand out from the crowd.

By packing your suitcase with the bare bones of your residence hall dorm room essentials (towels, bedding, etc.), you can use freshman orientation to get a feel of what life will be like when you’re moved in for good. But don’t forget the fun items as well! This is your time to make an impression and start your college career on the right path.

What will you be packing for freshman orientation? Let us know!

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