Everything You Need to Know to Conquer Freshman Orientation

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It can be tempting to blow off your college’s freshman orientation. After all, this is college, right?

But skipping out (or just not paying attention) could end up costing you time and peace of mind in the end. That’s why you should go into your orientation ready to learn and observe — because you’ll need the info presented and the extra time on campus to get ahead of the game.

Here’s how you can conquer freshman orientation and be prepared for your first semester.

 

Making Friends

Freshman orientation provides many opportunities to meet new friends, especially those who share your major or who will live in your residence hall. That’s why it’s important to stay true to yourself. While you should try to go to all the mixers and social events offered, if you’re not into country music, don’t go to the country music concert. Find events that interest you, and if you’re not interested, check out the dorm floor to see who stayed behind.

If you’re working on making friends with your new roommate(s), the best ice breaker is to talk about how you want your dorm room to look. Discuss themes, colors, and shared items. While you may disagree on fashion or style, you can have fun shopping online for wall or floor decor that works for both of you.

 

Selecting Classes

One of the most important parts of orientation is getting your first class schedule. You’ll want to get the best classes before they fill up, so do your homework before you start picking out what you’re going to take.

There are a ton of different resources you can use for this. Read up on professors and their class reviews online. Check out your major requirements and make a checklist of classes you know you’ll need to take. If you’re able to talk to upperclassmen from your college in advance, ask them to help you make your schedule out; they’ll give you a better inside scoop than your advisor.

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Getting to Know the Campus

With your schedule in hand, use your time on campus to map out your walk from one building to the next. Scout out your new favorite bakery or check out the hours of the Starbucks closest to you. These are all essential things you’ll need to know the first day of class.

Of course, you’ll also want to check out where the tailgaters go for football games. Having some fan gear ready to go for this trip will help you get in the spirit.

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Plan Out Your Dorm

There’s no rule that says you have to come into orientation week or freshman orientation events knowing what you want for your dorm. If possible (if you’re not staying in there already), get a tour of the dorm rooms so you can refresh your memory on the size, wall type, placement of beds and furniture, closet size, etc. This will help you make decisions on what bedding will look best with the wall color, what storage you’ll need to store away your winter clothes, and how big of a shoe hanger you’ll want to grab.

It’s Time for Final Preparations and Orientation!

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Well, there is less than a month left now until most of you leave for your first year of college. The nerves and the excitement are probably starting to set in as you realize that all of your hopes and fears are becoming a reality. While you may be overwhelmed right now, I can honestly say that your anxiety and worries won’t last too long. For many of you, orientation is coming up and will enable you to meet new people, learn about your college, and get a feel for what college is going to be like. Here are a few tips for getting through orientation:

1. Pay Attention!– Orientation serves as a solid transition to what college is going to be like without the classes. Your parents are gone, you’re living with a roommate, and you get to see what the campus is really like. You’re going to learn about registration for classes, advising for your major, and overall, what college life is really going to be like. I know I was completely overwhelmed during orientation since it was such a major change in my life, but I made sure to listen to the information that was given to me because I knew that it would be handy in the future. However, you don’t have to worry about memorizing all the mass amounts of information you’re given because you’ll have advisers and friends help you along the way, but try to take in as much as you can; it will pay off in the future.

2. Get to know your RA– Don’t be scared to get to know your resident adviser. Your RA is there to help you. If you ever need help with finding a class, getting a general question answered, or getting back into your room when you’re locked out (It happens more than you think), your RA is the person to go to. You definitely want to be on good terms with him or her because they can be one of your greatest assets in adjusting to your new environment.

3. Meet People– Orientation is about getting used to college life and what better way to do that than by making friends? I think that I met more people in that one week than I did for the rest of the year. It’s actually funny looking back on it and seeing how I became friends with some of the people that I now call my best friends. Orientation gives you a chance to meet people and then build upon those friendships throughout the rest of the year.

4. Get Involved– I know that I had the ability to go to a number of seminars and meetings on various topics including clubs, sports, Greek life, and differences between classes and I tried taking advantage of them as much as possible. Not only are these information sessions helpful, but they allow you to meet people with similar interests. You might be at a meeting for the soccer team and find somebody who is a fan of the same team as you. You may be sitting next to somebody in a lecture on the varying biology courses and find that you both have the same major. The possibilities are endless and really trying to do things that interest you are a good way to be involved and stay informed.

5. Have Fun!– Keep in mind that orientation is your first impression on your future classmates, professors, advisers, and friends. While that sounds like there is a lot of pressure on you, try to stay calm and enjoy it. These few days are the moments that you and your friends will laugh at in the future. I know most of my friends didn’t even know I existed during orientation because I was quiet and kept to myself. However, that soon changed once I became closer to them and more comfortable. Lastly, remember that orientation should be taken seriously, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun on the side!

Orientation Freak Out

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So you’ve chosen a school, and are finally feeling relaxed knowing that you have all summer to prepare for your first year; however, something that creeps up early and is called a “pre-college experience” is orientation. Most schools conduct a one to two day orientation for first year students to meet other students, schedule classes, and enjoy some awkward icebreakers. I was really excited for my orientation. I thought this would be a chance for me to make some friends before school started so I would know people in the fall and maybe even find someone to room with. This was not the case.

 

I discovered that it is very hard to find friends in 24 hours. My orientation group consisted of two boys and three girls including myself. Both the boys were very anti-social and had no interest in speaking to me. One of the girls gave me an extremely judgmental look when I asked what her major was and she replied, “PPE” and I asked what that was. And the other girl was somewhat friendly but was definitely not someone who I could see myself being very good friends with. It was safe to say that I was starting to panic. I left orientation thinking that I chose the wrong school, and that everyone at the school would be like the kids in my orientation group. Orientation, for me, made me more nervous for school to start in the fall.

 

The good news was that my perception of Denison from orientation was completely wrong. I had the best first year: I made great friends, had the best roommate that I could’ve asked for, and enjoyed all of my classes. Orientation may seem like a big deal now to the incoming freshmen; however, there is no need to freak out. Here are some tips as to how to approach your orientation!

1. Do not try to find a roommate.

While it may make you feel better, knowing that you have already met this person, you will be choosing each other based off of panic of going in blind. Most people, who I knew, who picked to live with each other after meeting at orientation did not work out as well as they planned. And while going in blind is a big risk, you may have a better chance of ending up with someone who lives really well with you. I panicked after not finding someone to room with at orientation and ended up going in blind and had the best experience. My roommate and I got along very well and ended up being really close friends as well. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate as long as you two can get along that is all that matters.

2. Do not search for your future best friend.

I spent too much time looking for someone whom I clicked with perfectly. Orientation is only a portion of your actually class and that could mean that one of your life long friends is in that bunch but it could also mean that they are not in this bunch too. Talk to people and see who has similar interests but don’t force a friendship with others in 24 hours just to make sure that you’re set for the fall. Friends come with time.

3. Do not think that orientation is anything like school will be in the fall.

Orientation is awkward. For some people, it can be great and help them feel more comfortable with the school they chose, but for others it can be uncomfortable and very unsettling. Whether you have a great experience or a not so great experience, remember that orientation is an organized event and college is not. College is what you make of it and with time, you will find your place and a good group of friends.

 

Freshmen Orientation Programs: Sign Up Now

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This summer, sometime between all your fun trips to the beach and free time hanging with your friends, make some time to attend a freshman orientation program at your future university.

Why? It’s a great opportunity to get to know some of the students you’ll soon be sharing classrooms and living space with. Plus you’ll get to explore your campus and learn some tips on surviving your freshmen year and succeeding at your college.

1) Sign up Early

Freshmen orientations often have limited spaces available, especially if your school has several orientations over the summer. So, if you’re interested in attending a specific program sign up for it right away, and make sure you schedule it into your calendar.

2) Triple Check the Orientation Topics

Some schools have special themed orientations for different majors, residence halls, and scholarship students. Make sure you don’t accidentally sign up for the wrong program; you’ll have a lot less fun if you wind up attending the transfer student orientation with a bunch of sophomores and juniors.

3) Don’t Bring your Family (Unless it’s a Family-themed Weekend)

Don’t bring Mom, Dad, and your boyfriend to your freshman orientation. This weekend is supposed to be about you and your future classmates. Spend your time talking to other people and getting to know the other students. Don’t just hang with your family.

4) Check out Early Orientation Events

The big, highly anticipated admitted student’s weekend usually doesn’t take place until the beginning of August. So, many schools have programs that begin early in the summer for students who are just interested in getting to know one another. It might be a dinner event or a camping trip, but the early orientations are usually a lot of fun.

5) Take Advantage of your time On-Campus

If you still need to register for classes, set up a meeting with your adviser to plan out your schedule during orientation, go get your photo taken for you student ID, and do anything else you need to do to prepare for the fall semester. You’re on campus, so why waste your time; get ready now.