As summer begins, so does the excitement of freshman orientations. When I was an incoming freshman, I had no idea what to expect out of my orientation session, so I have created a list of the top 5 survival tips to (hopefully) help you out as you accomplish one of the first steps of your college career.
Be Friendly With Your Orientation Group
At most college orientations, you are put into a group with an experienced student leader and spend almost the entire time with that group. It is important to at least make an effort to get to know the people that you’re going to spend the next few days with! Not only do you have to spend a lot of hours with them during orientation activities, but you could also end up making friends that you could reconnect with when the fall semester begins. While I don’t keep in touch with any of my orientation group members apart from watching each other’s Snapchat stories, it was still really helpful to make a few buddies that I could sit next to during boring information sessions and talk with during dinner!
Don’t Forget Your Shower Shoes!
Yes, I know, this should be a given considering that every dorm-living guide on the internet stresses the importance of having (and using) shower shoes, but when you’re only spending a few days in the dorms, they are an easy thing to forget. Trust me. I’ve been there. Luckily for me, I live in flip flops during the summer, so my blunder was not the end of the world. I don’t know about other schools, but at Montana State, the dorms that are operational for orientation are not the nice, fancy, new ones, so unless you want decades worth of germs and grime to define your first dorm shower experience, REMEMBER YOUR SHOWER SHOES! (Mine were some cheap
flip flops that you can find on Amazon or at Old Navy)
Wear Comfortable Clothes
While looking good is probably at the top of your list of priorities for orientation, it is important that you feel comfortable, too. That doesn’t mean that you have to wear sweats and slouchy t-shirts, but it does mean that the short sundress and new sandals that you bought on vacation may not be the best bet. Chances are, you are going to be walking around A LOT, so you definitely want to wear shoes that are broken in and won’t give you blisters. And a dress could be okay—as long as you are prepared to hold it down if the wind starts blowing or if an ice-breaker involves physical activity. My point is–don’t wear something unless you FEEL as good as you look. Also- it wouldn’t hurt to look up the weather forecast. You’ll want to be prepared for rain or shine—or snow (you never know up here).
Don’t Stress About the Classes You Sign Up For
At most orientations, you have the opportunity to sign up for the classes you’ll take in the fall, but don’t let that freak you out! I know that I was totally unprepared to choose which classes I wanted to take, but there are sooo many resources to help you figure it out. Between the course catalog, advising sessions, and MSU’s online degree planner, I got enough help to pick out classes that benefited my major and that I was actually interested in taking. Even though it is easy to sign up for all your classes during orientation, don’t stress if you don’t get into a class that you want to take or think that one of your classes isn’t going to be something you enjoy. There’s plenty of time to change your schedule!
I know that it sounds totally cliché, but it’s true! This may be the first time that you are put in a setting where nobody knows who you are and where you came from. It was for me! Use the anonymity to your advantage! You don’t have to be the ‘you’ that you were in high school; these people probably don’t know anything about the town you’re from, who your family is, or your reputation, so put your best foot forward, and just be whoever you want to be. I’m not saying that you have to completely leave your high school self behind or make things up about yourself to seem cooler or anything like that. I AM saying that the people that you meet won’t have any background about you, so it’s YOU and your PERSONALITY that will make an impression on them. Make it count!
- Orientation is SO info-whelming! Just take it all in, and don’t worry too much if you don’t get everything the first time you hear it. When school actually starts in the fall, there will be plenty of time to settle in and really start figuring things out. And I promise– real college is not as busy and jam-packed as your few days at orientation will be!
- Bring Snacks! You’re not allowed to leave campus during orientation, and the dining halls are only available at certain times, so make sure to bring some food for between meal times!
- Bring a fan! The dorms at MSU are not air conditioned, so if you’re heat sensitive it would definitely be worth it to bring a small fan for the night time.
With these five tips and a few bonuses, good luck and have a great time at your orientation session! And as always, don’t hesitate to drop a comment or shoot us an email if you have any questions!
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