College orientation is the beginning of your college experience. You see the dorm you’ll be living in, get a copy of your class schedule, tour your campus, and complete a self-assessment.
While no one will force you to make a decision about the rest of your life at orientation, it’s still a good time to figure out your strengths and weaknesses. A thorough self-assessment will prevent you from choosing the wrong major and make your academic and social experience more satisfying.
Since your main reason for going to college is to get an education, start by looking at academics:
- What high school subjects did you excel in, and which ones did you pass by the skin of your teeth?
- Is there an area of study you’ve always wanted to learn more about but never got to take a class in? Does your college have this particular subject readily available to you?
- What classes engage you and where do you find yourself falling asleep?
After that, move on to hobbies:
- What do you like to do in your free time?
- What subjects do you most enjoy having conversations about?
- Do you collect anything?
- What kind of books and magazines do you enjoy reading?
Your answers will not only help you pick a major, but come in handy when it comes time to schedule general education classes and electives. They may also help down the road if you decide to go to graduate school and have to pick a specialized area of study.
In order to succeed socially, consider:
- Are you more of an extrovert or an introvert? (Specifically: Do you enjoy large crowds, milling about and talking to all different people, or are you a wallflower or someone who stays within the same small group?)
- What activities did you enjoy in high school that you want to continue in college? Likewise, don’t be afraid to jump in if you’ve always wanted to be in the school musical or play rugby.
- Are you a private person? Will you be the one willing to keep your room door open so people can come visit, or will you keep your doors shut and sit in front of your video games or computer all day?
Finally, think about working while you’re at college:
A part time job will not only help you earn money; you’ll learn more about your skills, your areas of interest, and give you the opportunity to build relationships.
Assessing your strengths and weaknesses is a multi-step, extensive process. It is not easy, but it will only lead to satisfaction in college and beyond.