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Freshman orientation can be one of the scariest or most exciting things for incoming freshmen (or perhaps even both). That being said, there is nothing to worry about. First of all, take a deep breath; you are going to have a positive experience at orientation. I’m a former freshman who survived orientation and am about to be an orientation assistant myself and I am here to guide you through the process of surviving orientation!

1. Don’t go to everything

It may sound awesome attending five different workshops about success after college, two tours of campus, and three lectures on excelling freshman year, but don’t go to all of those programs. It is without a doubt important to attend orientation events, but attending too many can become almost overwhelming. Take some time off to meet people in your dorm, hang out with your roommate, and even just to take a nap.

2. Do go to some things

It may be equally tempting to skip every program if workshops about budgeting in college and understanding the meal plan don’t sound appealing to you, but try to go to some things. It is more than likely that a few events/programs are required, which you should go to (even if they aren’t the most fun, they are required for a reason and you will most probably learn important information while there). Also try to attend at least one or two orientation programs that sound interesting to you. You will be able to meet people who have similar interests by attending these programs.

3. Interact with the people you will be living with

You might be tempted to only bond with the people you are meeting at orientation programing but resist the temptation. The reality is that you are going to be living in the same building for at least a year (if not longer), so it is best to try and get to know people. Try and meet your immediate neighbors, if not most of the floor you will be living with. Simply hanging out in a common area will help you to get to know people.

4. Explore the area

One of my biggest regrets from orientation was not exploring the area surrounding the campus earlier. You may not plan or want to leave campus with frequency (of maybe you do). Either way, you should try and leave campus and explore at least once. Not only does it give you a chance to get off campus but it will help you to realize what stores/restaurants/places to hang out are just a short walk from campus.

5. Meet upperclassman

It can be easy to fall into the trap of interacting with only with fellow freshman. But don’t fall into the trap. College isn’t just a bubble of people who are in your year. So be sure to not only talk to fellow freshman but also people of all years.

6. Relax

I mean this both physically and psychologically. You might meet your best friend during orientation, you might not. You might hear the most inspirational talk of your life, you might not. Orientation can be great or not so great but no matter what happens, it is at most a week of your college experience. So don’t worry too much and be sure to get enough sleep.

7. Have fun!

Last but certainly not least is my final advice, have fun! You may or may not love the idea of attending orientation, but at the end of the day it is required. So make the best of your time at orientation and try your best to have fun while there.

Hopefully all of this advice has helped you to fell less anxious and more prepared for your freshman orientation. Remember that everybody feels just as nervous as you and that you are capable of surviving orientation!

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the author

Samantha Linder is a sophomore at Smith College where she is double majoring in neuroscience and art history. Samantha's favorite words include hippocampus, logorrhea, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

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