This is the moment you will first step foot on your college campus as an official college student. You have graduated from the high school that has been your second home for the past four years and are ready (even if you are terrified). The college orientation has a few key components that seem to carry over from school to school. Here’s what to expect.
1. A lot of ice breakers
We have all sat through and participated in icebreakers since the beginning of our schooling. That does not change when you are about to enter college. To attempt to ease this transition and create bonds between you and
your new peers, these traditional icebreakers are brought back. From “All My Neighbors” to passing a ball down a row with only your elbows, the OL's (orientation leaders) will do anything to break the awkwardness between the first-year students.
2. Over-energetic OL's
The OL's understand how nervous everyone is, as they were in our places a few years prior. In an attempt to break that evident discomfort, they try to get the soon-to-be freshmen pumped up. To become an OL, it seems like you need to have just the right amount of shamelessness because you can be doing some outlandish things. From crazy skits to games, the OL's always have to be on their game. Even after being kept up all night by incoming freshmen, they somehow find the energy in the morning to wake us all up by running through the halls singing.
3. Very little sleep
As mentioned, there is generally very little sleep if your orientation entails an overnight. First off, if you have never slept in a dorm before, you are in for an unpleasant surprise. The beds are terrible. They are stiff mattresses with a plastic cover, and every single spring is poking into your back. On top of that, they are incredibly loud. You rarely turn over in fear of waking your roommate up. Also, the walls are paper thin; therefore, you can hear every single movement your neighbor makes. Even with all of that, it’s an unforgettable experience. It is your first time sleeping in your new home!
4. Competition between the different groups
One common way to get everyone excited is through competition. Whether it be at sports or team building games, people are more likely to participate when they find out it is a competition. During these games, people show their true colors and it is fun. People who had spent most of the day quiet and rarely participating become engaged in the group games and begin to cheer everyone on. The sense of competition is created by the competition created between the OL's, as they most likely have more than one session, leaving the prior losing team seeking revenge.
5. Lots of food
Often times people bring snacks and food to keep in their dorm for the night, but even if that is not the case, the school always provides a ton of food. If you arrive at the school in the morning, chances are they will have a breakfast or brunch laid out. Then they will feed you lunch and dinner. The school will try to go all out for dinner, as they want to please you and show you their best food. They do not want you going home and telling your parents that they are paying all of this money for a food plan that provides bad food! The OL's also will probably have some form of snack or junk food back in their dorm.
6. New friends
When you go into orientation, one of the most common fears is related to making friends. One thought that eased my mind going into this new situation was the idea that everyone was in the same boat. Each person is coming from all over the state, country, and even world to be there. There is a slim chance that many students from your high school will be attending the same college as you. You are starting clean. Remember when you walked into kindergarten and knew absolutely nobody, but it did not matter, as you just walked right up to someone and said, “Want to be friends?” Most people don’t do that in college, but you just need to spark a conversation and chances are you will leave with more than one new friend! Even if you only make one friend, you will return in August to numerous familiar faces!
Orientation serves to acclimate incoming freshmen to college life. It gives them the opportunity to meet their new classmates, as well as learn a little bit more about their school. Also, it provides them with the chance to stay overnight in their new home. Colleges provide these orientations in hopes of easing the transition into college and making their new students feel more comfortable coming back in August. When the time comes to graduate, chances are you will still remember your freshmen orientation. Take that day or two to put yourself out there. Remember, this is a fresh start and your new peers will not hold anything against you.