College orientation: A whirlwind of excitement, awkward icebreakers, course selection, nerves, exhaustion and acclimation to your new home. It's a crazy few days, I won't deny that. When I was going into my orientation, I had no idea what to expect besides a very overwhelming two-day experience. Here are a few tips to help you not just survive, but thrive during orientation.
1. Smile a lot.
If you're anything like me, when you're in a new and mildly anxiety producing situation, you get nervous and think so much about what you're going to say that your face might look super focused as opposed to open and welcoming. Trying to remind yourself to smile is VITAL because everyone is in the same boat as you and seeing as nobody knows anybody, it's so encouraging to see a smiling face across a giant icebreaker game or in the dining hall. More people might come up to you and try to be your friend.
2. Be open.
Bouncing off of #1, keep your mind and heart open to any possibilities that could come your way at orientation. You might meet someone in a club you could join, or on a club sports team you want to try out for or just someone who could be a lot of fun! In the wise words of Ellie Goulding, "Anything could happen."
3. Go into orientation with fun facts prepared.
I cannot stress this enough. When asked to give a fun fact about yourself, don't be that kid saying, "Oh man, I'm not fun [cue nervous laughter here]." Also, don't be like me and give a lame fun fact such as: "My friend has a bulldog named Tuna." MY FRIEND. NOT ME. That fun fact was not even about me. It was a fun fact about my friend who is actually a friend of a family friend. I've never met Tuna. Nor will I ever. In summary, think of fun facts now versus later.
4. Your peer mentors are most likely just as exhausted as you are, arguably more so.
Respect that. Appreciate it.
5. Don't expect to get sleep because chances are, you won't.
Just accept it now. It's only two days; It'll be OK.
6. Tailor situations to make you comfortable.
In groups with nobody you know and in a campus you're not acclimated to, things can be INCREDIBLY awkward if you let them. If you are uncomfortable, make friends with the person next to you, crack a joke or at least just smile. Make a small change that will make the situation much less awkward for you.
7. If anyone asks you what your favorite color is, it's the school color.
Nothing else. Be in the spirit of the school.
8. Don't just get people's Snapchats or Instagrams — get their phone numbers too.
Stay in contact with your possible friends in a more intimate way than just social media. Text them personally asking them about their summers instead of liking their pictures on Instagram or sending them a snap to "keep the streak." People appreciate personal conversations!
If you take one thing from this, don't be afraid. Try new things, meet new people and enjoy the experience. The main point of orientation is, after all, to have fun. Keep an open mind and an open heart and you'll make the most of this first of many wonderful college experiences.
Lead Image Credit: Julianne Webster