College orientation is an introduction to the school covering a variety of topics and can include many parts such as tours, speakers, and interactions with other freshman students. It can easily make you feel nervous and uneasy because it’s one of the first formal college experiences you might partake in. You might assume there are huge expectations placed on you in terms of how you should act or how you should prepare but funnily enough, those are almost the opposite intentions of college orientations. The idea is to give you a brief introduction to the school and show you what it offers so that you can feel more at home and that you belong as a student there. Don’t let your nerves get the best of you! Here are some suggestions to help you feel more comfortable during your college orientation.
1. Lower Your Expectations for Orientation – Be Prepared but Don’t Take it Too Seriously
The first suggestion is to overall lower your expectations for your college orientation. It’s likely the whole endeavor isn’t as big and important as it may appear to be. For many schools, it can be as simple as an extended tour of the school with some talks from current students or maybe some introductions to academic advisors or professors and the like. Remember that it’s an event that’s supposed to make you feel more comfortable and at home at this school for your four or more years. It may help your nerves to feel prepared for this event one way or another. Of course, this doesn’t mean there’s a test or anything so take a breath. Being prepared can be as simple as going over the orientation plan you might find on the college’s website. Knowing what you’re going to be doing and when can help you feel more comfortable about being part of it because nothing would necessarily surprise you. Another way to feel more prepared and overall more comfortable about your college orientation is to talk to fellow students.
2. Talk to Other Students
Whether it be with other freshman students in your orientation group, or maybe even current college students at other schools, it can really help you feel less nervous to talk to someone. Getting an idea about what to expect from college orientation from some friend who has been through it already can help throw out those crazy expectations your nervous mind may have made up. You’ll feel more prepared going into it thinking you know what’s going to happen and maybe even better because you’ll feel more prepared than others in your group. Another way to ease your nerves at college orientation is some social interaction with your fellow nervous freshman. Strike up a conversation with another student in your orientation group and who knows you might hit it off and become good friends for your next four years. Although, don’t let this be another expectation that makes you nervous about the whole thing. If you’d prefer not to chat up someone else in your orientation group then that is perfectly fine. No one is expecting you to be a social butterfly and to make all your college friends during your orientation. The point is that sometimes it can make you feel more comfortable to make a friend in your group and to have someone to share the experience with. You may find you’re both pursuing the same major or maybe you’re both in the same dorm hall. You could even find yourself in a college orientation group with someone you know from high school or something and that gives you a familiar face to talk to and be with.
3. Make A Plan
If you’re a type of person who benefits from structure to help ease your nerves then try making a plan during your college orientation. While you’re walking around looking at the variety of buildings or hearing about the different clubs/groups the school offers, try to think about what you’d like to pursue during your college career. Perhaps you’d like to join the school newspaper or the ski club or maybe play some intramural/or club sports! Making plans with these sorts of clubs or activities around your class schedule can help make you feel more part of the school and hopefully relieve some of the nervousness from the orientation. Ideally, you’ll even start getting excited and happy thinking of all the possibilities you’re able to try and pursue while attending this college!
4. Remember That Many Others Feel Exactly the Same!
One of the most important pieces of advice given to nervous freshmen before their college orientation is to remember they’re not alone. There are so many students in your orientation group who will be feeling just as nervous and anxious about the experience as you are, probably some who are even way more nervous. Change, no matter how big or small, is always hard. Transitioning to college life and expanding your independence is a huge change and it takes time to adjust and feel comfortable. There’s no need to feel out of place because basically all freshmen there in your group are going to be feeling the same nervous doubt about college orientation, and really about college in general. You’re all taking a big leap and it helps to remember that no one is doing it alone. Shake off those nerves and take pride in the fact that you’re making a huge life transition and working towards your future. For many people (myself included), college was some of the best years of their entire life. Yes, there are going to be ups and downs for everyone. You’ll make mistakes and wrong choices and also see your friends do the same, but all those mistakes are important to learn from. It’s how you’ll grow and be shaped into the person you’ll one day become. College orientation is simply a stepping stone into what’ll likely be some of the greatest and life-changing years of your life. Take a breath and head to that orientation with your head held high thinking of the future and all the many possibilities that lie in front of you.