As an incoming student at St. John’s, the pressure of college is on for the first time at Orientation Weekend. Whether it’s a one day drive, or a two day overnight trip, this is where you will really start to “see yourself” going to SJU. Here are a few helpful tips and tricks to ensure you make the most of your St. John’s University Orientation!
1. Pack appropriately and lightly.
Going to Orientation feels a lot like elementary school picture day: everyone wants to dress to impress. Want to wear that new top from Forever 21? Go for it! Want to show off those new Nikes walking to Monty’s? Definitely! Wear clothes that you are going to feel good in, but that you also won’t mind sitting in all day, as you go through PowerPoint presentations, ice breakers, and campus tours. Orientation is basically a crash course of everything you’ll need to know for the rest of your collegiate life, so there won’t be much time to freshen up or do an outfit change once you’ve sweat through the outfit you have so painstakingly chosen.
Packing Tip #1: SJU will email or send home a checklist of what to bring and what not to bring during Orientation. Follow it (for the most part). Hot plates, and whole meals aren’t worth it. Light snacks to share with the people in your group are great; food always makes friends!
Packing Tip #2: Even if it says “don’t pack linens”, I would still come with a light bed sheet and definitely your own pillow.
Packing Tip #3: Shower before you get there so that you don’t have to pack too many toiletries, but do bring your own towel to shower there too.
Packing Tip #4: Definitely wear comfortable shoes. I cannot stress this enough. You’ll be doing a lot of walking and standing!
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2. Remember these items when you’re on tour at orientation…
During Orientation, you’ll have a lot of information thrown at you, most of which will, by no fault of your own, go in one ear and out the other by the time each presentation or session is over. Bring a small notebook and a pen, just in case.
Also bring your phone to write notes in and take pics of important presentation slides.
Light bag, purse, or drawstring backpack
Put everything in a drawstring backpack, where you will also inevitably crush all the paperwork you get.
Take your phone charger, and maybe even a portable one.
Bring a water bottle and a snack, you never know if you will get hungry and when you will be able to get some food.
Mints, perfume, small deodorant stick
Also, bring some items to help you feel freshened up. You will be walking a lot and moving from room to room, activity to activity and you will want to feel confident. Pack a teeny tiny deodorant stick. You do not want to be that person.
3. Actually pay attention to what you learn.
Orientation is where all the dry, administrative, boring, logistical, ice-breaker type stuff happens, so that when you come to campus come the spring or fall, you can hit the ground running and start learning other important things. (Like your studies, how to register for classes online, how to maximize the meal plan system, and finding out which bathrooms on campus are the best to poop in.)
What will you learn?
Some of what you learn will be cheesy and silly, some of it will be so boring that the people sitting next to you will fall asleep. Even so, most of this stuff is really important. So listen up! You’ll get emergency contact numbers, learn what to do when you’re sick on campus, and understand how adding money into your student account works. You’ll be taught how to access your school email from your phone, how to get a parking pass, and what the policy is for bringing friends who aren’t from your school onto campus. Learn that stuff now, so that you don’t have to relearn it later while you’re trying to figure out how to pay for your coffee at school, without having to pay out of pocket.
4. Act maturely and try to participate.
You’ll get to know people when you put yourself out there, and if someone isn’t being good company during orientation, they probably won’t be good company during the school year either. If they’re rolling their eyes at everything your Orientation Leader says, or is saying they’ll skip this part or that next part, don’t follow suit. First of all, you’re literally paying money to go to SJU and are wasting it by skipping out. Secondly, that behavior is so high school. In the adult world, we are going to do things we do not really want to do. That’s life. Lastly it’s just a couple days of this, so you’ll live.
5. Don’t be a party pooper!
Roll with the punches and participate in ways that make you feel comfortable. Trade social media handles with future classmates and chat about how good or bad you think that food in Monty’s is. Tell someone you like their backpack, and answer at least one question that’s thrown at you. Remember, once you actually go to SJU, you’ll be asking and answering questions all the time.
6. Don’t be so quick to go rouge.
The policy for Orientation events is that you remain on campus, and do not consume any drugs or alcohol during your short pre-semester stay. Some people will pregame events, or are going to tell you that they’re heading out to go drink or whatever. This is kind of dumb, because once the semester starts you can leave campus whenever you want, to do pretty much whatever you want. I promise you that if you are looking to dabble in the independence college gives you, you will have plenty of time to explore (and quickly get sick of) that option within the next four years. The worst thing you could do is to open a somewhat dangerous door with a bunch of people you literally just met the morning of Orientation. There will be plenty of time in college to do all the cool, crazy, good, bad, whatever stuff you may want to do.
Lastly, might I add…
Honestly, Orientation is not necessarily the best representation of SJU. How could it be, when the next four years of your life are quickly flashing before your eyes in a matter of three days max. Some Orientation sessions last mere hours, even. It is going to be overwhelming, confusing and even a little intimidating; that’s totally normal! All the Orientation Leaders and University faculty have come across students like yourself, and Orientation will continue to induce panic (but also excitement) within everyone else that is in or will be in the same boat as you. You’re not weird for overdressing, over packing or over stressing. Just take it for what it is, one moment at a time. You never know if your new best friend, bae or classmate is browsing Instagram while bored in the seat next to you. Might as well enjoy the ride because before you know it, you’ll be the one explaining to freshmen how to use the University printers!
Good luck, Johnnies!