It’s 7:00 am in your muggy new dorm room and you didn’t sleep much last night. It feels like summer camp, not like the cool college experience everyone told you was the best days of their lives. You have zero interest in getting up and going to breakfast with your orientation group. That would be lame, right? Wrong. So wrong.
For starters, freshman orientation can help you overcome these blah feelings everyone has in the beginning of college. But there are a bunch more reasons too!
1. You’ll make friends you will have for the rest of your life…or at least for this week
Seriously, the people you meet at orientation could very likely become your best friends. And if they don’t, that’s fine, because they could introduce you to your best friends and at the very least you’ll have some experience and more confidence in meeting people. The activities you do at freshman orientation are created specifically to help you make friends, so take advantage of them. Meet as many people as you possibly can. I repeat: meet as many people as you possibly can! The more people you get to know, the more friend groups you will have access to later on in the year. The people you meet at orientation will become a big part of your social life freshman year, so go, embrace the awkward, and say hi to everyone. You never know where it might lead.
2. You’ll get a good feel for your school and for college culture
In August of 2015 I found myself, a painfully sheltered girl from a small Southern town, at an overwhelming freshman orientation in the Northeastern United States. The activities we did at orientation were meant to give us a better feel for our school’s culture. I remember sitting next to other people from the South and being in absolute culture shock. We sat through presentations on safe sex and racism that would have been beyond taboo back home. We were given condoms and told about the mental health resources on campus, and it was clear we weren’t in Kansas anymore. These events helped me understand what was acceptable to do at college that might not have been so back home and vice versa. I would have felt very out of place culturally at my college had I not gone to some of these orientation events.
3. You’ll be happy to be where you are
Honestly, a lot of orientation is about getting pumped up about your school and college in general. I went to pep rallies and speeches that just made all of us so happy that we made it. We made it to college. We did a lot of work to get to this stage in our lives. Orientation is the time to celebrate that.
4. You’ll get free stuff!
T-shirts, towels, key chains, condoms, food: you name it, they’ll throw it your way. (And as a poor college student, you’re going to need all the free stuff you can get. Believe me.)
5. You’ll start getting involved already
If you go to nothing else during orientation, go to the activities fair. Pretty much every college has one, and it is the absolute best way to find what you want to get involved in on campus, whether it be club sports, theater, religious activities, or a cheese enthusiast club.
6. You’ll get to know where things are
During orientation, events take place all over campus. Going to these events (one of which is usually a tour of some academic buildings) is one of the best ways to get your bearings on campus. Plus, you’ll be able to help other lost freshmen later on in the semester when they don’t know where they are!
So, when you’re lying in bed after your 7 am wake up call for your first or second day of freshman orientation, remember all of these reasons to get up! Everyone is in a new environment, and everyone feels just as awkward as you do about it, so don’t hesitate to get out there and introduce yourself to every person you can.