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.
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.