5 Ways To Not Be "Too Cool" For Orientation

5 Ways To Not Be "Too Cool" For Orientation

Don't let your fixation upon how others perceive you prevent you from succeeding and having fun.

The transition to college is incredibly intimidating - new living arrangements, new school, new friends, new classes, etc. It can all be incredibly overwhelming. For this very reason, Orientation is meant to get you acclimated, or "oriented," to your new surroundings before classes start. Because this is all so new, however, Orientation can be extremely nerve-wracking.

There are two types of people you will come across at Orientation: those who embrace the experience and those who are afraid to make fools out of themselves. I fall into the former, yet I have spent a lot of time observing the latter.

Growing up, I've always known I was rather outgoing - always willing to raise my hand in class, introduce myself, or try something new. I have found these qualities to be extremely helpful in the transition to college thus far. Those who not have this natural inclination, however, tend to struggle slightly, so here is my advice to you:

1. Don't worry about what other people think.

Sure, maybe a few people will judge you, but those aren't the people you want to surround yourself with in the future. If you obsess about how others perceive you, instead of letting loose and having fun, you'll miss out on tons of great experiences in the process!

2. Be yourself.

When you are the truest version of yourself, you will naturally attract the people you are meant to be with. If you put out a false version of yourself, you will find yourself surrounded by people who are only truly compatible with a falsified "you." Essentially, "your vibe attracts your tribe," so make sure your vibe is true to you.

3. Remember that no one knows who you were in high school.

Remember that embarrassing thing you did freshman year? Well, me neither. College is a clean slate - take advantage of it! This is your opportunity to put any high school nastiness behind you and start anew. Get rid of that annoying nickname! Get away from the girl in your homeroom who gave you dirty looks! Were you awesome at something in high school? Take this time to rediscover why you were so good at it in the first place.

4. You're never too old for fun and games.

You better yell as loud as you possibly can during that group cheer or game of "Baby Shark." Participating isn't lame - sitting out is! You won't have nearly as much fun sitting on the sidelines, and you certainly won't make nearly as many memories.

5. Remember why you chose your school.

Orientation is meant to summarize why your school is so awesome, and remind you why you chose it in the first place! Let yourself get swept up in the hype of sports presentations or jam along with the band. This is your home for the next four years, so take advantage of it!

Not everyone is naturally outgoing - that's okay! Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is confidence. Just make sure you don't let Orientation pass you by just because you opted to sit on the sidelines. Come on guys, don't be too cool for Orientation!

Cover Image Credit: Disney Wiki

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An Open Letter To The Future Me

I want to say that I know you, but really, I don’t think that I do.

Dear Future Self,

I’m laughing as I write this -- I remember writing a similar letter in the 5th grade and my teacher keeping it until the end of the year. Here I am, writing a similar letter.

Who knows when I will read it again: next year, in five years, or perhaps in ten years?

Well, here I am; “past” you. The decisions that I am making today, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem to me, are helping to shape you. I’m succeeding and doing great things, but I am also messing up and and facing hardships. It’s life; it’s our life.

You spent your childhood wanting time to slow down, but also itching to reach those “milestones” in life -- the double digits of 10, sweet 16, a totally legitimate 18-year-old adult, 21 and fun, etc. etc. You’ve felt both old and wise, but also young and insignificant.

Here’s something I want you to take to heart and to listen to -- slow down.

You move way too fast. Your mind is always in the future, worrying about class tomorrow or getting accepted into veterinary school next year.

Most of the time, you are not living in the moment, which is not a way to live. Slow down and enjoy what is happening when it is happening.

You have time, so stop stressing so much.

Make more time to go out with friends, to go on dates with your boyfriend, to have movie nights with your family (heck, go call your Mom, Dad, and sister right now! Let them know how much you love them, appreciate them, and need them.).

Make more time to to wish on dandelions, talk to strangers in coffee shops, and listen to new music for hours on end.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t finish what you think you’re supposed to because, chances are, you did what you were actually meant to do.

Don’t lose your relationship with God.

No matter how busy everyday life gets, make time to talk to God.

Make time to thank Him for all that He has down for you.

Make time to tell Him about your life and to open your heart about what you want.

Go to Church when you can and read your Bible verse every night.

It will keep you sane; He will keep you sane.

I know sometimes your anxiety is going to get bad; sometimes, it will truly be unbearable. But, here is the thing -- it will pass. It will. Just keep pushing another day, just one more day. Facetime Mom or color a picture or go listen to “C’mon” on repeat on your phone. The hot moments will end and cool moments will replace them.

No matter when you may think, the best is not behind you. Life is only going to continue to grow and get better.


Your 21-year-old self

Cover Image Credit: Amanda Topolski

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Dear Knoxville,

This girl misses you.

I'll admit upfront that I wanted to leave you ASAP post-high school, and I took you for granted. It's not surprising since you were all I really knew, and I wanted to explore outside of what I knew. I wanted to leave as soon as I could, and I jumped on opportunities to stay away. Now I find myself missing you more than not.

My senior year of high school I could not wait to get out of the "Knoxville bubble." I felt like I was stuck and wanted to leave before I was chained to a city I felt was mundane. After living in one spot for all my life, I was eager for a new experience and craving independence. This influenced my decision to go to college out of state, and I didn't look back. However, I wasn't homesick much my first year of college, and I told myself I would never move back to Tennessee after I graduated.

I had always been told that East Tennessee was one of the most beautiful areas to live and that I was lucky to live there. I never believed that until recently, because as of recently I have been suffering homesickness and it, frankly, sucks. I miss going to the mountains, I miss my family, and I miss the culture. More than anything I miss familiarity, and as Dayton becomes another home to me, it will never beat Knoxville in my book.

Now, in my second semester of sophomore year, I have found myself planning when I come back home as soon as I leave. My time at college now revolves around the question of: "When will I get to come back home?" It's frustrating as life continues while I am gone, and every time I return home so much has changed.

I'm afraid of the day that I'll come back and not recognize you or the places I grew up knowing. I accept change, and know it is for the best, but I rely on you to remain my home-base which I can return to when everywhere else seems no good.

I don't know if I'll come back to Knoxville once I have finished school, but it isn't out of the question. Not anymore. However, wherever I end up, I know I will always come back because part of me will always miss you. I will always come back to you, because this city raised me and formed the woman I am today. So, Knoxville, I'll see you soon.



Cover Image Credit: Tim McCready

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