It's the night before the simultaneously most anticipated and most dreaded day in the realm of the transition to college: move-in day.
You frantically check your room at least six times over to ensure that you in fact have "everything", even though you'll realize that you left your curling iron behind as soon as you unpack everything.
Mom cries the whole way there, while Dad whips out his tool belt. Your little brother watches the football team practice from a distance and your older sister configures your room, all while you try to take everything in. This is your new home; your tomorrow begins today.
You kiss everyone goodbye, and you greet your new home with a mixed feeling of nervousness and excitement in the form of a stomachache (partially resulting from the dining hall food, but I digress).
Over the next few days, in the time between move-in and the first day of classes, you experience what is known as orientation. A time of mandatory lectures, awkward dining hall excursions and tons of free merchandise.
You may have a jam-packed schedule of events, and you may be tired by the second day. However, it is strongly encouraged you go to as many events as you possibly can. They're carefully thought out and organized for your benefit as you adjust to this new way of life.
It seems lame, and you would never want to risk your blossoming image. I know you're dying to get that boy's attention from the fourth floor. However, starting this new chapter of your life with such a closed mindset will be your greatest demise.
Give it a chance. Go to those late night events that the staff has been planning for months on end. Get out of bed early and go to breakfast with your roommate. Order your first college special and awkwardly greet the delivery driver.
Freshman orientation is a time to not only explore your newfound surroundings, but to explore your inner being. You may have a week or a few days to adjust, but the exploration and discovery of your true self extends far past this time.
It may be challenging to fight the initial awkwardness and intimidation, but the end result is so worth it. Now is the time to start fresh. Now is the time to erase everything that might have stained your past. It's your time.
Take each day as a new adventure, and keep your heart and mind open. Be prepared for both successes and failures, and answer when opportunity knocks. Don't be afraid to get a little spontaneous and go outside your comfort zone. It may be hard at first, but you will find your way.
Go out there and get your free t-shirts, kids.