As summer orientation leaders, we spend months making memories with the future freshmen and other new students at our schools — and we have a blast! While I remember a lot of future freshmen having similarly great times at their orientations, unfortunately, there were some who struggled to make the most of their days. After witnessing all of the sessions, I realized that having a rough orientation day is totally avoidable, if you accept these simple facts:
1. You might feel silly — and that’s okay!
As orientation leaders, we’re going to make you do crazy team-bonding activities that involve you running around and playing games, with the hopes of giving you a day to remember. Don’t try to act “cool” and resist the fun — just go with it, and throw yourself into our icebreakers to make the most friends and have a great time.
2. Everyone is in the same place.
A lot of future freshmen (and other new students) come into orientation thinking they’re “above” their peers because this was their second choice school, or their older sibling attended this college, or even just that they are in a challenging major. But, we orientation leaders try really hard to stress that everyone is starting in the same boat: you might be accustomed to the school already, but college is a new experience for everyone — so don’t try to be better than your future classmates right from the start. Instead, be open to hearing about others’ experiences — you’ll make a lot more friends that way!
3. Don’t dress to impress when you head to orientation.
Heels, flip-flops, dresses, suits, and other uncomfortable outfits that won’t work for the activities (or the weather outside), are all huge no-no’s for orientation. We know that this is the first time you’re meeting potentially hundreds of your future friends — but you won’t be able to participate in bonding activities if you aren’t dressed for the occasion! A simple tee with sneakers is the smart way to go to be comfy and ready for the long day ahead.
4. Your orientation leaders want you to ask questions.
Your orientation leaders are here to help you (without pay, a lot of the time), so that’s what we want to do! Come prepared with any and every question you could have about the school, and don’t be ashamed if you need to make a list! We’ve been where you are, and we’ve dealt with all the same problems — from dorm scares to financial aid issues — and we love helping you out. No question is too stupid!
5. On that note — we promise not to sugar coat anything.
You’ve been listening to the campus admissions folks tell you how great the school is for months — now it’s time to get real. If you ask us a question, we will definitely tell you the truth — whether it makes the school look good or not. So go ahead and ask — we’ll give you the real deal.
If you keep these things in mind when you head to campus orientation this summer, you’re sure to have an awesome time making friends and preparing for the best years of your life!