Tips for a Successful Freshman Orientation

Elaina is a May 2015 graduate of The College at Brockport. She pursued health science and communications majors as an undergrad and is now employed at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, working in marketing.

Ahh, summer orientation. It’s hard to forget the excitement and nerves I felt leading up to my session. For the first time in what felt like ages, I’d have to make friends with people I didn’t know.  Are they going to be nice? Are people going to be cliquey like high school? Wait—how do you make friends?!? Believe me, I remember the mini freakout.

Although I can’t speak to your experience, I can give you some tips of wisdom, and hope that you’ll make some unforgettable freshman orientation memories.

Don’t eat alone. Seriously! I can remember eating lunch in the Union by myself before orientation began. There was a family on the other side of the dining room, and I contemplated asking if I could sit with them, but I didn’t. Then, their daughter came over and invited me to sit with them. After we finished eating, we ended up walking around the campus together. How nice is that? It obviously made an impact on me because I can still remember it.

Disconnect from your phone. You’re going to miss out on opportunities in the present if you’re only interested in what everyone else is doing back at home. But definitely take pictures and Snapchat!! Now’s also a good time to get an idea of what your dorm room will look like, how comfy/uncomfy the beds are, how much desk and closet space you’ll have…

Smile at strangers! You never know who you will meet. The first day of orientation, I met who would become my freshman roommate, best friend, and now, international med school student. Even after my freshman year I’d still say hi to people I met at orientation.

Do the icebreakers. (“Oh god, not the icebreakers!”) They’re actually fun if you let them be, and you get to learn about common interests you have with your soon to be classmates. Hellooo, conversation starters.

Don’t worry about memorizing the campus. You’ll be walking in and out of the buildings a lot, so bring comfy shoes and sunscreen. You’ll have plenty of time to familiarize yourself with the campus come fall semester 🙂

Get to know your Orientation Student Advisor. Your OSA is not only going to lead you through your orientation experience, he/she is also a great resource when you have questions throughout your first year. Ask your OSA what classes/professors you absolutely must take class with, if there’s [insert club name here], the best dining hall, if they buy or rent books and why, if you should bring your whole closet or leave half of it at home, etc.

And finally, a picture of me from orientation (far right):

Late NightYou can do this. Have an awesome orientation!

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