Going away to college can be a very daunting idea. Moving away from your family, friends, and hometown to somewhere that you’ve only seen a couple times and where you’ll know just a few people at the most is certainly an intimidating event. Fortunately, colleges anticipate the stress and discomfort that many freshmen feel and try to help them out by holding freshman orientations.
However, because these events are one of the first organized gatherings of students, they can cause some stress themselves. This article is an attempt to paint a picture of what your freshman orientation will be like so that it doesn’t become another thing that you stress about (because it’s definitely not worth it).
Most freshman orientations will start with an ice breaker or some other social activity so that students have a chance to get to know the others in their orientation groups and start forming social relationships. While this may be a little cheesy, it’s a good chance to talk to a few people that you don’t know and get more comfortable with the students that you may be living within the near future.
Another staple of freshman orientations is the campus tour. This one is pretty obvious; your orientation leader will take around campus and give you useful information about various places and resources. This is where you will learn things like where the backdoor to the library is, when the cafeteria is open, and how to get to the nearest coffee shop.
School’s mission statement and others
At some point, you’ll probably reconvene with a large portion of the incoming freshman class to hear a speaker. This will usually take place in a large auditorium and be hosted by a high-ranking member of the college’s administration, such as the dean of academics. You’ll probably hear about things like the school’s mission statement (which sounds terribly boring, but can actually be interesting), academic requirements, and available campus resources.
A few colleges allow freshman to register for classes on their own during the summer preceding their first term. The others, however, will conduct registration sessions during freshman orientations. This can be very helpful, as some schools use confusing electronic systems for registration; the registration sessions allow you to ask questions of more experienced students, explore the registration system, and learn useful things about classes in general, like freshman year requirements, freshman-only classes, and how to get prerequisites waved.
Freshman orientation can be slightly overwhelming, and it’s completely normal to forget many of the things that you’ll hear during your session. You will be presented with a great deal of useful information (most of which will probably be contained in handouts or some sort of student handbook), however, so it’s definitely worth showing up and paying attention. While some of the things that you do may seem pretty contrived, you will learn a great deal of practical information throughout the session, and the more you invest in the session, the more you will get out of it.