Headed to new student orientation this summer?
4 things you DON’T need to stress over (that everyone else will)
1. Your room assignment. Most of you will have an overnight stay as part of your summer orientation experience. Don’t stress over this. It’s only for a few nights (or maybe even just one). If your orientation roommate is strange, it’s okay. If you didn’t get assigned a roommate, that’s okay too. If you just really don’t want to sleep on campus during summer orientation, that’s also okay. I promise you, it will not make or break your college experience. If you’d rather sleep with mom/dad in their hotel room– do that. Seriously. It’s not worth stressing over.
2. Registering for classes. Freshmen (and their parents) get crazy when it’s time to register. ALL that matters is that you register for 15-16 credits. That’s it. You will have time again this summer and once you get to school in August to continue changing and tweaking your schedule. If you are waiting for AP credit to come in, don’t register for those classes for the fall semester. If you end up not getting the score you need, you’ll just take that class in the spring. It’s not a big deal. You are going to have at least 8 semesters of college to take the classes that you need, so don’t stress like the first semester you have to take the perfect schedule. You will get it all done in due time.
Also, don’t stress out over avoiding late night classes, certain professors (thank you ratemyprofessor.com), once-a-week classes, Friday classes, etc. I see students killing themselves trying to make a schedule where they always have noon-1pm open, or where they have Friday off, or “I can’t be in class from 5-9pm once a week!”. How do you know you can’t until you try? Part of the beauty of college is that your schedule is all over the place. So, let go any preconceived notions you have about how your schedule has to be. In other words, don’t knock it until you try it. Also a word about ratemyprofessor.com– just because Jane Doe hated Professor Apple, doesn’t mean you won’t love Professor Apple. Your peers don’t know everything and you may have a different opinion. Again, don’t knock it until you try it.
3. Finding your roommate. Some of you are headed to summer orientation hoping to make a bestie that you will then ask the loaded question, “Want to be my roommate?” Don’t do it. Or at least don’t put that expectation on yourself. To think you will find a great roommate match in 48 hours is crazy. More often than not, I see students do this and then end up loathing their roommate by October. Now, if it organically happens that you hit things off with someone and agree to live together–great. But seriously, don’t go into summer orientation with the expectation to find your roommate. Your odds are just as good (if not better) for you to just be randomly assigned to someone. Having fun with someone for 48 hours does not mean they’ll be a great roommate match for you. So just take it easy.
4. Finding your best friends. Whether you are aware of it or not, deep down you are hoping to meet your best friends during these few days of summer orientation. Again, please absolve yourself of this. 95% of you will not be best friends with the people you meet during summer orientation. Yes, be friendly. Yes, get people’s names and contact info. Friend them on facebook. But don’t be discouraged if you feel lonely during these few days. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t connect with anyone on a deep level. It takes lots of time to find your college besties. Do not worry about making this happen during summer orientation.
Enjoy summer orientation. Meet lots of people. Register for classes. Shake a hand or two of your faculty–or better yet– introduce yourself to your dean. Walk around and get to know your campus. Play a bunch of goofy icebreakers. But do your best not to stress about any of it. It is not an indicator of how well you’ll do in college or what your experience will be like. Take a deep breath, try to relax, and just have fun.