Orientation Nerves? Here’s What to Do

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College orientation can be one of the most exciting moments of your school experience. However, just as much as it is thrilling, it can also be nerve wracking. This is your first time meeting people you’ll go to class with, seeing the buildings you live in, and interact with the professors you’ll spend four years with. Have no fear! You can nail orientation and say goodbye to the nerves by prepping with these simple steps.

 

Know What’s Ahead

Orientation, while different at every school, is pretty standard across the board. Most are divided up into two distinct portions — student development and academic advising.

The first is what you’re probably the most nervous about. Making new friends or socializing when you’re anxious is tough, but most colleges plan events that are meant to break the ice, open your mind to different viewpoints and backgrounds, and get you talking! These can be activities such as silly competitions, book discussions, trips outside campus, or overnights with your roommates.

Read over your orientation schedule carefully. If it’s not providing enough information to settle your mind, try reading up on past year’s events on student newspapers or last year’s orientation websites.

 

Come Prepared

If your orientation is more academic and about preparing you for registration, you’ll want to have a notebook full of questions. Take some time to make a list of every question you have. Of course, you won’t want to go overboard and take up time asking everyone, but as your orientation leaders or advisors go through the enrollment process or your major class schedule, you’ll be able to cross it off as you go.

While this doesn’t necessarily take away the nerves, it will help you ease up as you go through orientation. The more you understand the process and what’s to come, the better you’ll feel about orientation events.

 

Let It Go

If you’re like me, you might have what I call, “instant nerves.” You could be totally fine the entire lead up and then get there and become a wreck. It’s the worst, but there are some coping methods you can start to practice ahead of time.

The first is a simple meditation. There are tons of meditation apps on your phone, but you can simply set a timer, close your eyes, and breathe as you inhale for four and exhale for four. After only three or four minutes, you’ll feel more centered and calm. If that doesn’t work, your anxiety may better react to movement. Do a theater exercise where you place your arm in front of you and shake it as hard as you count down for ten. Then switch arms and go to legs, if need be.

 

Get Your Confidence On

There’s something about our favorite outfit, a fancy pair of shoes, or a new hairstyle that makes us stand a little bit taller. And orientation is the perfect time to break out your confidence-boosting attire!

Get a new haircut from a stylist you love and trust. Look through your pictures of times you felt you looked your best and recreate those outfits. Practice makeup looks from Youtube videos. Whatever it is that’s going to make you feel like you are at your best, go with it!

 

Know You’re Not Alone

Before you step into orientation, take a look around you. More than likely, you’ll be joined by hundreds, maybe thousands, of students just like you — completely new at this. None of them have been college freshman before. None of them know what to expect or what it will be like to make new friends or find an advisor. But together, you’ll all get through orientation and your orientation nerves.

How to Prepare for Freshman Orientation in College

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As you ramp up to start the next four years of your life, becoming acquainted with your new environment is important! Freshman orientation is a time for you to become familiar with the sights and sounds of your new home. You can look forward to tons of helpful information, tips, and tricks from faulty and older students, while meeting new friends! Be prepared for all that comes your way with these tips.

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1.   Read Up on the Schedule

Freshman orientation is usually required of incoming students, even those who transfer. Failure to show up or missing an important component could land you in trouble and even prevent you from attending classes. Program the orientation schedule, including any relevant and required event, in your personal calendar and set up reminders or alarms.

On the day of, arrive early to scope out the event and read any materials they may give you. If you have a to-do list (such as getting a student ID picture taken or signing up for a particular course), being first in line will knock out these tasks and will keep you from having to wait.

2.   Sign Up for the Extras

Orientation at most universities is not just about seeing where your classes are and how to get to the bookstore. Instead, events are set up for you to meet other incoming students, learn about the town, and even take supplemental courses that could benefit you down the road.

If you are offered these experiences, take them! They could help you socialize with likeminded friends or get you in good with staff and faculty.

3.   Get to Know Your Professors and Fellow Students

Professors and staff are more than educators and office workers. They can become mentors and advisors, and they may even be able to help you find a great scholarship or offer a job reference. You can learn more about these important individuals by reading their biographies online or looking up their published or publicized works and writings. There are also websites that have college students rate their instructor. While not totally reliable, it may be useful in weeding out personalities.

If you find a professor whose work interests you or who you feel would make a great mentor, use freshman orientation to set up a time to meet. During your get together, introduce yourself, ask questions about the program or their classes, and request further meetings during the school year if you feel the relationship is a good fit. Having an advocate even before school has begun will boost your confidence and ease your transition into classes.

4.   Write Out Questions

Just as you should ask questions to any professor you meet with, you should also come to freshman orientation prepared with a list of things you want answered. Some common questions include:

  • Where can I buy or rent my textbooks (and where can I get them cheaper)?
  • How do I sign up for XXX club/group?
  • What is and is not allowed in my dorm room?
  • When do breaks start and end?

Whatever your question, do not feel intimidated. Whatever you ask is probably on the minds of your fellow students.

5.   Pack a Notetaker

You’ll need a way to write down the answers to your list of questions. Be sure to pack a notebook and pen or a computer/tablet. A folder could also come in handy in case you are given loads of handouts. That way, you will have it all in one place without having to sort through the junk or losing a sheet over the summer break.

Walking through the doors of your freshman orientation can be intimidating. But if you are prepared for the days ahead, you can come out knowing that you are armed with the right knowledge to get you through your first year as a college student.

Have you been to your orientation yet? If so, do you have any tips for newcomers? Let us know!

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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!

Have No Fear, Even if College is Here!

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With the end of the summer approaching rapidly, the nerves are probably starting to set in for rising college freshman. I’m sure there are thousands of questions going through your head. For instance, who am I going to sit with in history? Are my classes going to be too hard for me? How am I going to find my way around this campus? While I’m sure there are many more to go along with these, it’s probably best to stop worrying because you’re just making yourself more nervous. Here are a few ways to calm the nerves and stop worrying:

1. You’re not the only one– Every person there is in the same boat as you. Nobody knows who they’re going to sit with in class, if classes are going to be too hard, or where everything is on campus. But I promise you that you’ll figure it out. Everybody else did before you and will continue to do so. You’ll figure things out quickly and before you know it, you’ll be a pro at navigating and taking classes.

2. Orientation is very helpful– As boring as some of it may be, it is extremely helpful to get a lot of your questions answered. I know I had a week of orientation, where I got to meet my adviser, learn my way around the campus, find out more about classes, and meet new people. Looking back on it now, I realize that once that week was over, I pretty much had everything I was concerned about figured out in only that week span of time.

3. Thinking about it makes it worse– We all have the tendancy to get ideas into our heads and then worry about them until they blow up into these huge ordeals that never actually happen. Something as simple as what if I can’t find my English class can develop into “I’m never going to find my class so I’m going to fail it and then it’s going to kill my GPA and I’ll never get into medical school.” When in reality all you have to do is ask somebody where the building is and they’ll be more than happy to point you in the right direction. The less you worry about leaving home, the better off you’ll be.

4. It’s just another change in your life– You’ve probably gone through a number of changes in your life already. You’ve made new friends, found your way around new schools, and took difficult courses. College is just the next step and it’s nothing you haven’t been through before. If you think about it this way, you’ll soon realize that even though it is a big step in your life, it isn’t necessarily as big of a change as you would think.

5. Be excited!– College isn’t meant to be this nerve-racking experience that you may be feeling right now. It really has been the greatest experience I’ve ever had and I went into it confused, nervous, and overwhelmed. The people that you will meet and the friends you make are what make the experience so amazing and if you focus on that, you really have nothing to be nervous about. Anytime I would talk to somebody about going to college, they would always tell me that it was the best time of their life. After going through a year of it, I can completely understand why they would say that.

Being nervous about leaving your home, family, and friends is a completely rational feeling to have right now. However, don’t let it control you. I promise you that after a couple of weeks of adjustment, you’ll realize how silly some of the things that went through your mind were. Just go in with a positive attitude and you too will have the greatest time of your life.

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.