My UNC Freshman Orientation Experience
Start writing a post
Student Life

My Freshman Orientation Experience at Carolina: What I Learned and What You'll Want To Know

Here's what to expect if you are anticipating orientation at UNC-Chapel Hill.

My Freshman Orientation Experience at Carolina: What I Learned and What You'll Want To Know

Welcome, future Tar Heels! As a brand-new member of UNC's class of 2023, I hope to share some insider information about my orientation experience with my future classmates. While it is certainly an exhausting two days, orientation is a great way to meet new people and learn more about the school you will call home for the next four years.

Before we dive in, I want to give you a piece of advice I wish I followed: pack absolutely everything on the recommended items list — I guarantee you will want those shower shoes before your stay is out — and bring two bags! You will need one bag to carry around your laptop and other essentials, and you do not want to lug your bedding around after you check out bright and early on the second day.

So, here we go: day one. Most of the events are succinctly summarized on the orientation schedule, so I won't waste time recapping those, but there are a few tips you'll want to know before you step on campus. For starters, definitely check in early to your residence hall. I rode with a friend (another good idea if your parents aren't attending) and we arrived around 8:20 a.m. The line to check in was short and moved quickly, and we had time to get set up before making our way to the Student Union. As we left, the line was already wrapping around the building.

The same is true with orientation check-in, taking your One Card photo (pro tip: make sure to look cute from the shoulders up because this picture will follow you for four years), and configuring your laptops (whether you are purchasing one through the school or setting up your own from home). I heard horror stories from students who waited in line for nearly an hour before running out of time and having to return the next day. If you finish with free time, I suggest returning to the dorm (we stayed in Cobb) to regroup before heading to your first event.

It is around this time that the UNC Guides app becomes an invaluable resource. If you don't know where to be, what time to get there, or — most commonly — what time the lecture you've been sitting in for seemingly (and sometimes literally) hours will finally end, this handy app provides everything you could possibly need, from a detailed daily schedule to a series of helpful maps.

If you make it to lunch (which I'm sure you will, as you will be absolutely starving by the time it rolls around), there will be an overwhelming number of options. Make a quick loop and go with your gut or you'll be wandering aimlessly for hours. Also, don't miss the soft-serve machine (a.k.a. the best part of the dining halls)!

An orientation group at lunch.Carolina Dining Services on Instagram

My next tip is more relevant the second day but also applies to the first: take notes! It may be a drag, but you have a lot of information coming at you all at once. By the end of orientation, you will be too overheated and sleep-deprived to remember anything you heard, so be sure to write it all down for later. Pay special attention to information about class registration because it's easily the most stressful thing you will have to tackle this summer.

Day two is much less structured than day one, which is both good and bad. You will have more freedom to explore campus and learn about programs specific to you, and your Orientation Leaders (or "OLs") won't be there to babysit you. As tempting as it may be to sleep in, you want to take full advantage of everything Carolina has to offer.

The Orientation Leaders for the class of 2023.UNC Class of 2023 on Instagram

When you get to the interest sessions, ask for directions if you can't find a certain room: everyone is happy to help and it saves you valuable time. If you're interested in attending the study abroad session, make sure to get there a little early because seats will fill up quickly. Finally, this is a good time to slip out for some coffee at the Stone and Leaf Cafe in the Student Store. From personal experience, no one will notice (probably) if you disappear for a few minutes, and this is a good way to circumvent waiting in a long line during free time. You'll definitely need some caffeine before you embark on the next leg of orientation: three straight hours of lectures, if you're as lucky as me (if you're in groups 11-20, you'll get a lunch break somewhere in there — hooray).

Throughout all these events, stay on the lookout for free stuff: you can really rack up stickers, pens, handouts, pennants, buttons, and even t-shirts if you make it a priority. There's nothing better than showing your Tar Heel pride without spending a penny (besides, you know, the $228 orientation fee).

Most importantly, the best thing you can do is stay open to new experiences, information, ideas, and people — especially in small group sessions. This is not the time to seem cool and aloof: you are far more likely to have a good time if you let yourself be excited about every new activity. You won't enjoy orientation if your group is quiet and distant, so be the first to make a joke and break the ice! Chances are, everyone else is just as nervous as you are. Feeling comfortable within your group will be super important during discussions and also guarantees you at least a dozen or so new friends by the end of your stay.

So, there you have it: my guide to surviving freshman orientation at UNC Chapel Hill. If you keep these tips in mind as you race between lecture halls, I'm confident you will have a great time. Just be careful not to trip on a brick!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

20 Things I Learned By The Start of My 20s

No one expects you to have your life together by the time you're 20, because honestly, they didn't either.

Allyson Foutty

We are all often faced with many life challenges throughout the time leading up to our 20s. Before this time, and throughout it, we often look back at the things we've learned and how they've influenced who we are as people today. Some of my biggest influences were some of the challenges I've faced, but they've taught me 20 important things by the start of my 20s.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Boyfriend Recipe

The ingredients to build a relationship are a little more complicated than just a bouquet of flowers and a box of candy.


Relationships. Long distance or not, significant others are much more than just that. I would be lying if I said I did not love the sweet gestures that only a boyfriend can give. The flowers, funny phone calls, hand holding, breakfast dates, and tight hugs are special but my relationship and many others out there exist on much more than just these little gestures. It is a tricky concoction that consists of one part boyfriend and two parts best friend and would not work without one part or the other. While having a relationship may not be quite as easy as baking a batch of cookies, it has its own recipe (with a few variations for flavor) to follow for a good match.

Keep Reading... Show less
google images

Fashion just keeps growing and changing and old trends are made new! Now, I'm no beauty guru, just a beauty guru wannabe, but personally I have compiled some stylish wardrobe must haves! These can be cute assets to go back to school or just to catch up on some of the latest trends...

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

There's More To A Relationship Than Netflix

Summertime is only 93 days of the year, Find something to do!

Tallie Ammar

Summertime is ideal for more than just hanging out and binging your favorite TV series with your friends. Although summer does bring rain and thunderstorms which is perfect for those binging days, take advantage of those nice and sunny days. There is so many opportunities to get out of the house and enjoy the season before the snow starts to come back. Here are 25 interesting dates that are doable almost anywhere for any age.

Keep Reading... Show less
Leilani Encarnacion

Philadelphia has its beauty, but some of you may have not been to some of the most beautiful hidden spots in the city. This summer is a chance for new adventures and exploring, so here are a few places that I highly recommend you should visit at least once.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments