Freshman orientation goes by in a flash. It’s a time for meeting tons of new people, having unfamiliar experiences, and getting used to life away from the nest. With so much going on in such a short period of time, you should take advantage of it. Putting in extra effort during your first week of college can seriously pay off — later in the year, you’ll have more friends, a club (or two) to enjoy after class, and a better sense of the campus overall. Below, we’ve outlined five tips for making the most of your orientation week.
When a new college semester begins, every student has a grace period to say hello to random strangers (a.k.a. other students), trade contact info, and slowly figure out who they’d actually like to be friends with. After a few weeks, the grace period fades away and the established social norms return. Take advantage of this valuable time and introduce yourself to everyone — peers, teachers, and resident advisors alike. You’ll feel a deeper connection to the college community as a result.
Despite what people would have you believe, colleges don’t fill schedules to the brim with lectures and late-night reading. Typically, students have more free time than they know what to do with. Instead of involving themselves in intramural sports or artistic workshops, they squander that time. Sometimes playing computer games or taking unbelievably long naps. Don’t be that drab student. Take advantage of your free time and use it for creativity, exercise, and socializing. You’ll be much happier in the long run.
As a freshman, college can feel intimidating, especially when it comes to joining a new club. Like swimming in a freezing-cold ocean, though, it’s easier to just jump in and feel a little discomfort, rather than slowly wade in and drag things out. In the first week, take a look at the clubs on offer and choose a few that really sync with your interests. There’s no pressure to stick to a club for an entire year, so audit the few that seem interesting and then pick one that you can dedicate yourself to.
Most college courses start at a breakneck pace. Loading you with homework and reading assignments in the first week. It’s best to prepare before Day One. That means reading over any online materials, learning about the professor on RateMyProfessors.com, and monitoring your schedule to never miss a lecture.
Finally, remember that college is a time for breaking out of your comfort zone. That means trying things that scare you a little bit. For example, ask to sit with random people for lunch, try out for the surf team, or take a course on a subject you know nothing about. The more you surrender to the orientation process, the more you’ll get out of it. Have fun!