Typing this, I've just arrived home from my own orientation. It was a mixed bag of fun, work, and—the most important part—enrolling in your classes. Here is what I wish I knew beforehand.
1. Don't feel pressure to make all your friends here.
The 300-ish people in your orientation group will be broken up into smaller groups of 10 or so, lead by your New Student Advisor (NSA). Your NSA will either be a rising third or fourth year.
These groups are completely random. In my case, I didn't have that much in common with the others in my group, so I didn't click immediately. I felt sad about this, until I realized that it was okay. UCLA is a huge school, and your class is made up of thousands of people. You will find your tribe.
2. Get sleep, even if you leave a night activity early.
Listen. You need to be in your right mind, with all your brain cells, to understand the information that will be thrown at you. You will have to learn a zillion foreign terms that you must know in order to pick your classes correctly.
You'll have all 4 years to explore LA; in this instance, sleep is more important.
3. Look up the teachers of your classes BEFORE YOU ENROLL.
I made this mistake when picking my Econ 1 class—there were two lectures, and I didn't look up the professors until I'd already enrolled.
Big mistake, because the teacher of the lecture I enrolled in is reportedly very difficult and confusing. How do I know this?
From using bruinwalk.com to find teacher ratings. Learn from me; it will help you dodge some bullets.
4. No matter what, list 5/6 alternates underneath each class in your Class Planner.
Basically, you enroll in classes on the third day, with your NSA group. You will randomly pick a number, and go up in groups of 2 to enroll with your NSA (i.e 1 and 2 go first, then 3 and 4).
This means you may not get your first choice classes. And maybe not even your first, second, or third alternate. For instance, one girl in my group put EIGHT alternates for English Comp 3 and didn't get a single one.
5. Download Google Maps.
Wow, UCLA is confusing to navigate—especially in literally 100-degree weather. I was dripping with sweat all three days, and in order to get between all the different workshops, you will NEED Google Maps!
(Apple Maps is a no-go. It lead me to a dining hall when I was trying to go to the athletics center).
Above all, just know you're going to be fine. Think of orientation as a work weekend—get sleep, don't stress about making lifelong friends, and try to get your classes!
You got this.