Just when you thought your freshman orientation in high school was a lot to handle, your freshman UNH orientation in college will absolutely drain you. New faces, sleeping on a stiff and uncomfortable dorm mattress overnight, trying to pick classes and eating in the dining halls will make this experience one for the books. Here are 10 things I wish I knew before I went to orientation at UNH!
1. Pack light (especially if it’s a hot day).
Since orientation is through all of June, it tends to get pretty humid and hatter later in the month. Because you park between the Whittemore Center and Thompson School of Applied Science, you must make the hike to Stoke Hall where you check in and spend the night. If you’re lucky and it’s not crowded, take the bus over and save the trip of ruining your hair or makeup you spent hours on. Also, trying to carry your bag, pillow, and sleeping bag is a lot of work in itself.
2. Meet and actually talk to your orientation roommate(s).
Room assignments are assigned at random and the chances of you rooming with someone you know is slim to none. However, this is the perfect time to meet new people since you will be sharing the same room for the night. Room assignments are given out in doubles or triples, so if you do get there first, claim bottom bunk.
3. Bring some snacks and water.
Many of the buildings on campus are not air conditioned and if the weather is not in your favor, bring water (Stoke isn’t either, so if you’re on the eighth floor, GOOD LUCK). There are plenty of water fountain stations to fill up throughout the day and vending machines for snacks. When you’re sitting for an hour or two trying to pick classes, you’ll want that pick-me-up to keep you going.
4. Have your fun facts ready to go and be prepared for A LOT of games.
As you’re meeting people for the first time, your orientation leaders will want to have everyone get out of their comfort zone and forcefully make you talk to everyone. From asking you what you would want to fill a pool with (preferably, I said cheese pizza) to playing games out on T-Hall, you’ll be happy when they say it’s time for dinner.
5. Try and meet your REAL freshman roommate.
I was lucky to have my real freshman roommate attending the same orientation session as I was. Since we are both in different majors, the only time I got to see her was during dinner, breakfast and at Become the Roar event. However, getting the chance to meet them, since you will be living with each other for a year, is a great way to break the ice and talk to them face to face. Just try and find them first.
6. Ask questions.
Of course, no one wants to be that kid to ask a million questions, orientation leaders did allow us to write down any questions we had anonymously and put them into a bag where they read each one off. Though they won’t tell you exactly what the party scene is like or where everyone goes out on the weekends, questions about academics, clubs, organizations, and sports help you get a better understanding of the school from a students perspective.
7. Take advantage of the coupon book/deals/offers downtown.
When you first arrive at Stoke Hall for check in, they provide you with a booklet filled with coupons of offers both on campus and downtown. From a free slice of pizza to a free t-shirt at Hayden Sports, it allows you to explore off campus and see what Durham (and UNH) really has to offer students! And of course, who doesn’t like free stuff!
8. Open yourself up and meet new people at Become the Roar event.
An event that helped pass the time. Everyone is gathered at the Hamel Rec Center for the night. From watching people play bubble soccer (by far the most comical thing I saw at orientation) to swimming in the pool and getting free smoothies, it’s a great way to get yourself out there and meet new people!
9. Take pictures and videos.
Being at a new place with new people, don’t be afraid to take some pictures for your mom or some funny videos for Snapchat to show friends back home. Orientation is a new experience for everyone there and most people are there to have a good time. Don’t forget to take a picture in front of Thompson Hall on the UNH brick sign before you leave!
10. You’ll be sad to be leaving UNH on check out day.
Coming up with a few friends for orientation, we ended up having such a quiet car ride back home since we didn’t want to leave UNH and Durham. Check out day officially became the day we started counting down the days till we would be back, moving in, and seeing everyone again!