Freshman orientation is one of the most vivid memories I have of college, and this is probably because it was the most awkward. And I’m a fairly awkward person, so you know I don’t take the A-word lightly. I *know* a lot of campus orientations vary from school to school, but the gist is the same: you visit your university either a couple of weeks or a few days before school starts, you meet everyone in the most inorganic way possible, and in between presentations that are trying too hard and organized lunch, your parents help you put away a year’s supply of toilet paper and shampoo and bid you farewell.
But don’t freak out. Freshman orientation is a rite of passage every incoming college freshman should experience. It’s like trying a raw kale salad out for the first time! You’ll hate it initially, but the entire “kale” thing will eventually grow on you and you will fiercely love it, or at least tolerate it. That’s college, essentially.
So what’s in store for you at orientation?
1. Your parents will probably be kind of pissed off because they won’t find parking anywhere since a million people are parking all at once.
Unless you guys flew in; then there’s the issue of getting from your hotel to campus with all your belongings in tow. It will definitely take some orchestrating, and your parents will regret they ever had a child who chose to further their education, but after a few hours have gone by, you will find yourself in your dorm room with plenty of toilet paper and stacks of boxes containing your entire life.
2. You will have your picture taken for your student ID, yay!
It’s kind of like at the DMV, where the person taking pictures gives no sh*ts and will take the photo as soon as your butt touches the chair. You’ve got one opportunity. So do as I did not: brush your hair, wipe the sweat off your forehead, and make sure your mascara isn’t running down your face.
3. Your parents will meet your roommates’ parents and it will be weird.
Meeting your new roommates is stressful, but meeting them while their parents are helping them unpack is even more stressful. Cue small talk and possible uncomfortable roomie-parent photos.
4. You will be forced to attend presentations about Greek life, financial aid, your course load, how you shouldn’t stress yourself too much (LOL), and what to “expect” from your freshman year of college.
You will be subjected to slideshow after slideshow about college 101, but you won’t even remember any of that until you actually have to deal with it.
5. Free food! But not really, because freshman orientation is part of your tuition package.
After all those boring presentations, you get to have lunch with your parents and roommate, and often times it’s a buffet in the middle of the courtyard with a platter of Costco cookies. You will be hungry and it will be delicious.
6. Get To Know You activities that involve bearing your soul to strangers.
Your entire dormitory will gather at the soccer field and you’ll be instructed to like, only talk to students born in June, or go on a treasure hunt around campus where you and your “teammates,” aka people you just met, can learn about the tutoring center. All games are designed to help foster community and team building, but really they’re awful and everyone just wants to drink jungle juice to be put out of their misery.
7. You will see a cute guy and devise a plan to get his number.
But then end up running into him while purchasing a midnight snack and wearing your Tweety pajamas and absolutely no makeup.
8. The amount of Facebook friend requests you get this week will be the most you’ll ever get in your life.
Everyone will be online stalking one another for eligible friends and bachelors.
9. You will try to seek out a frat party, but end up playing video games with your neighbors.
I remember listlessly walking around campus with my new roommates trying to sniff out a party, but we were pretty unsuccessful and ended up walking to Taco Bell.
10. You will never want to talk, let alone introduce yourself, ever again.
If you have to say, “HI MY NAME IS ________, I’M FROM __________, WHERE ARE YOU FROM” you might throw yourself out a window. Or like, rethink this whole college thing if it means you actually have to socialize this much.
11. You will probably forget everyone’s name by the time classes start anyway.
I mean, I forget a person’s name five minutes after meeting them, so I was hopeless.
12. You might meet your college advisor and they will scare you with phrases like “four-year plan.”
Four-year plan? How about today’s plan of sleeping instead of going to that 4th floor meeting with your RA?
13. You’ll have dinner at the cafeteria for the first time and it will be amazing.
But don’t get used to it, because your college doesn’t serve beef Wellington and chocolate fondue when parents and alumni aren’t around.
14. The first night with your roommates will be super surreal.
Sleeping in the same room with complete strangers will seriously feel like summer camp for a couple of weeks.
15. You will probably feel in no way prepared for this four-year odyssey.
Nope. Nothing will ACTUALLY make you feel ready to leave the comfort of your parent’s house, the familiarity of your hometown, and the privacy of your bedroom. Everything will either be hit or miss, whether it’s friends or the scrambled “eggs” the cafeteria serves in the morning. But my biggest piece of advice to you is to try new things, and give everything a shot. Except if it’s dangerous. Or illegal.
Happy college, everyone!