DISCLAIMER – I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT BEING SOCIALLY ANXIOUS, INTROVERTED OR MISANTHROPIC ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS AND A PERSON CAN BE ONE WITHOUT BEING THE OTHER. HOWEVER, THESE TIPS CAN APPLY TO ANYONE WHO IDENTIFIES ON THIS “SPECTRUM”
If you’re an incoming college or university student, chances are your first week will be “special”. Whether it’s called Freshers, Orientation Week, Frosh or Hell Week, your first week as a student of postsecondary education will be more like camp than school. Depending on who
I’ve been a participant in two orientation weeks (more on that later), and I think I have the thing down pat. So without fail, here’s my tips for surviving your orientation week in style.
- Throw Out Your “Shoulds” – The first thing you need to do is let go of the idea that you “should” be doing anything. You’ll hear time and time again that you need to be doing something in order to get the so called “Full College Experience”. Real talk time : You’re technically an adult now, you’ve chosen to go to college, and that’s all you need to create the full college experience.
- Find The Schedule, Then Make Your Own – Chances are your school will provide you with a schedule of events for your first week. Instead of throwing this away along with the thousand other flyers and brochures you’ll get, take your time to go through the schedule and find the events you actually want to go to.
- Know You Can Always Leave – Unlike highschool, there’s nobody who is going to “tell on you” if you choose to leave any event early. If you show up and something isn’t what you expected feel free to go back to your dorm room.
- Get Out of Your Comfort Zone (Even Temporarily)- Truth is, other than free meals I only attended two official frosh week events and attended them for a few minutes. The first was a typical “getting to know you day”, and the second was one of the nightly courtyard parties. Neither were to my taste and I ended up organizing my bookshelves and watching films, but it was better than wondering “what if”. My mum always told me to try everything on my plate, if it turned out that I didn’t like something, well then at least I would know. So try opening your dorm room door for half an hour a day, or making an appearance at a party. Chances are you won’t like it, but at least you’ll know for sure.
- Find Your People- At my academic orientation I instantly connected with a group of people, many of which whom I had never seen before. When I asked them where they had been all week they responded “In my dorm room, watching movies”. Whether it’s your first big class, clubs day or a meetup for people who share your major, trust that you’ll find the right people.
- Be Safe – This should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyways. Don’t binge drink- not only are probably underage as a college freshman , but it’s a horrible unsafe idea – legal or not. The allure of a few drinks to relieve some anxiety can be strong, but it’s a dangerous pattern to fall into.
- Remember, You’re Here For School – Having a first week off is great, and it provides fantastic opportunities to get ready for your first day. So take a day to prebuy your textbooks, find where all your classes are and get a feel for campus. It’s hard to make a better first impression than arriving early to class looking cool, calm and collected.
- Stock Up – People will be handing out so much free crap it will blow your mind. I suggest carrying a tote bag, or just waiting for someone to hand one to you. Do you really brake for pigeons enough to warrant a notebook emblazoned with it’s slogan? I don’t know but you just saved 99 cents plus tax.
- Enjoy – I know, every single list of “life tips” ends with advice to enjoy things. But really, let’s think about this. You’ve worked really hard to get into the school of your choice, you probably didn’t have the easiest time in high school. But you’re here now, facing down four years that some say will be the best of your life. I’m not sure about that yet, but celebrate, stay open to change and make the most of things.
You’re gonna be okay sport.
Now I know someone is reading this so let’s talk. What advice do you have for Freshman, and if you’re going to school this Fall what would you like to know?