Orientation is the first big step into entering college; it’s where you start to meet your peers and professors, and get to know your campus even better. Even though it’s a big day full of so much excitement, it can be quite nerve wracking. After all, it’s a big change! I know I was a little nervous before my orientation, so I read a bunch of posts from my favorite bloggers and watched some videos from my favorite YouTubers. Now that I went through the whole experience, I thought I’d share what my orientation was like, and give some advice for those who are in the same position I was.
My college orientation was back before I even finished high school classes, and it lasted two days. On Monday (the first day), check in opened at 8am in the Freshman dorms. Everyone was welcomed by several of the Orientation Leaders, or OLs, and the health services department gifted students with a shopper bag full of little wellness-inspired gifts. Once we checked in, we were also given a wristband with our name, our student ID number, and our OL’s name. Students had the option of staying in the dorms overnight, but I decided to stay at home since I’ll be commuting in the fall. The students who were staying overnight were given their room keys and a small fan for their room, and were allowed to head up to their rooms to set up and meet their roommate for the night. This hour was also the first opportunity for us to take the picture that would be printed on our student IDs.
At 9am, we all went outside to the quad to meet with our OLs and the rest of our groups. It was pretty cloudy at this point, but not quite raining yet. We all introduced ourselves and played a few team bonding games. After the first two games, we went inside one of the main buildings on campus for a resource fair, where we could meet all of the different departments of resources at the school. At 10am, everyone at the orientation went into the room next door, where we had a presentation welcoming us to the community by the President of the school, the OLs, and several other important team members.
At 10:30, we went back outside onto the Quad, where we were introduced to one of our college’s apps. This app is where we can find all of the events and clubs on campus, and also where we can keep track of certain community service hours. At this point, we signed up for our first event- an academic breakout session.
At 11am, we went inside one of the main academic buildings, which houses almost every gen ed class. At this point, we were brought into classrooms where we would meet the professors of our freshman seminar. The three professors in my seminar gave a small presentation, but I couldn’t stay for all of it because my financial aid personal meeting was pre-scheduled during this time. Every student was given the opportunity to meet with financial aid throughout the day, and each student was given their own pre-scheduled time where they could come in without waiting. My meeting was fairly simple and took less time than expected, so I stopped by campus security to get my ID card picture without a wait on my way back to the faculty session.
At noon, we stayed in the rooms we were in but the college provided food for us, so we could eat with the faculty and ask any questions we might have. The food was pretty good, but it was standard catering food. A few more staff members came into our room, and all of them were so kind and knowledgeable.
At 1pm, we were broken out into the different academic sessions we had chosen. There were a bunch of options to pick, and I decided to go to the French session. I want to minor in French, so I thought it would be smart to meet the head of the French department and see what she was like. The class was really easy for me since it was super beginner French, but I really enjoyed it and got to talk to the head of department a little.
At 2pm, we were brought to a separate hallway and given the choice of 4 rooms to start in. The community service center, center for student involvement, student employment center, and recreation center each had a room where they would give a small presentation about their department and how it could benefit our college experience. All of the staff members were so nice and gave interesting presentations. I felt like this session was pretty interesting, but I could tell some other students were getting bored if they weren’t interested.
At 3:30pm, everyone was given an hour break. It started raining pretty hard, so everyone just went back to the dorms to hang out and relax. I didn’t have my own dorm, but I went with some friends I had made to their dorm. Some of us went to the building with the main dining hall a bit early since we were getting hungry, so we played in the game room until the dining hall opened for dinner.
At 4:30pm, they opened the dining hall for a barbecue-inspired meal. I had a cheesburger, but barbecue grilled chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs were also available. Although the dinner was pretty good, the dessert was the best part (the cupcakes were soo good). I sat at a long table with a bunch of friends I had made that day and we all talked about the school and the day so far. After everyone was done eating, our OLs brought us on a trolley tour of the school so we could see the entire campus and learn about some of its history.
A little after 7pm, we were all brought to one of the theaters on campus, where the OLs performed a skit about life at the school, with a small educational factor about various situations that might arise once we start college. It was a silly kind of funny, but still entertaining nonetheless. After the skit was over, the OLs hosted a Kahoot game about the college, and they did give away actual prizes from the spirit store (no, I didn’t win any, but one of my friends did).
When everything wrapped up in the theater, it was about 9pm, and therefore time for the “After Dark” party. It was pretty much in the café where the school Starbucks and take out market are, so it was a little awkward. It was pretty loud, and there wasn’t a ton of space, so I wasn’t really having the best time. One of my friends and I just ended up talking for a while (since she was in a similar position to me), and I went home for the night.
The next day started at 8:30am, where we all reconvened with our groups and OLs, and we got our class t-shirts. They went over everything we needed to do before we started back at school, and brought us back to the main academic building, where we either went to the Resident life or Commuter life session. Since I’ll be commuting in the fall, I went to the commuter session, and I was able to learn about the different resources available for commuters, and how the school works to get commuters as involved as residents.
At 9:30am, we all over to the main dining hall for breakfast. I had a small croissant, some scrambled eggs, and a little bit of fruit. Once we were all done eating, there was a DJ who started a community pep rally for all of us. Some of the activities were pretty fun to watch (it was like a hot potato type thing to get chosen). At the end of it all, we were given our common read for the summer and sent on our way at about 10:30.
At this point, you pretty much could do what you needed to do. Everyone staying in the dorms went back to clean up their stuff and return their keys. Everyone went back to security to check out and receive their student ID. If you needed to meet with financial aid, the registrar, or any other specific departments, they all had rooms set up specifically for meetings. There were certain placement exams that could be taken at orientation (the rest are offered online through Blackboard). I was able to take my French placement exam at this point, and talk to the head of department about my options. Once I was done with my exam, I headed out for the day.
The whole orientation took about a day and a half, and there was a parents and family orientation that ran at the same time as the students’, with seminars and workshops that pertained to family needs and questions. I was also considering vlogging orientation, but I decided against it so I could really enjoy it and soak up the full experience.
College orientation is scary, as it’s the first day in a new environment and an entirely new time in your life. However, the best thing you can do is just relax and take it all in. When you act like your true self, you’ll be starting to meet people with similar interests and similar personalities, who might end up being good friends of yours once you start your first semester.
Remember that you’re there for learning about your future school, so soak in as much information as you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions! After all, this program is for you to learn and get accustomed to the school you’ll be starting at. Plus, if you have a question, its likely that others in the room have a similar question and are also scared to ask!
Another good thing to keep in mind is that you’ll want to dress comfy. You’ll probably be doing a lot of walking around, and a few activities, so dress appropriately! Especially if your campus is bigger, sneakers might be a better option than sandals. I’d also recommend wearing something that is cute (but also good for the occasion), since you may end up taking a lot of pictures.
If you’re going to an overnight orientation, also be sure to pack appropriately. While you’ll certainly need your basic essentials (anything that’s a part of your daily routine), don’t overpack! You’ll only be there for one night, and everything you bring you’ll also have to pack up and unpack when you get home!
Finally, don’t be afraid to go for it and make some memories! Everyone is going to be a little nervous, but remember that this is the start of your college career! College is all about trying new things and reaching outside of your comfort zone, and orientation is the best place to start that!
If you’re getting ready for your college orientation, have lots of fun and get ready to have the time of your life!
See ya real soon,