As a second semester high school senior, you have so many options and decisions to make that will ultimately determine your path to higher education. After the stress of writing college applications and the anxiety that ensues while waiting for a response, finally choosing a university that fits you perfectly is an amazing feeling. However this is the easy part; getting there is the real challenge. Before you can focus on the important things of college living (like praying for the best dorm building or sharing Pinterest boards with your roommate so you can match duvet covers), every student has to go through the dreaded New Student Orientation. An event which involves dozens of students, all of whom are basically strangers and have no clue what to expect, doesn’t really seem like the ideal place to start your college experience. Nonetheless it must be done, so here are 10 things I wish I knew before orientation at the University of Delaware, which will (hopefully) help you feel more confident and informed while you are becoming an official member of your new home.
1. You have to put in the effort to meet new people.
Most likely, people aren’t going to come up to you; they are just as nervous and uncomfortable as you are. So even if you feel awkward, just going up to someone and introducing yourself will open yourself up to meeting some cool people.
2. You aren’t bound to the people in your orientation group.
The people in your orientation group are students from similar majors or just random people. Chances are, you won’t be best friends with all 15 people in your group, or even just one person. Usually these people are just someone to talk to so you don’t have to be alone during orientation. So don’t be dismayed if you only see them later through their snapchat stories!
3. Current students and orientation leaders will be VERY happy.
Even at 8 o’clock in the morning, you will be met by very awake and peppy students. Their job is to try and make you feel as welcome as possible and to do that they scream and jump up and down and wave pom-poms in your face. So don’t be thrown off by the sea of smiling faces, just go with it and have fun!
4. Participate in the activities that may seem dumb.
Likely more than once, an Orientation Leader will come up to your group and ask for volunteers/participants. Whether it be answering a question about yourself or joining in with the flash mob, throw caution to the wind and go for it! Even if you are not an extrovert, you will seem like an outgoing and fun person to all of the other newbies who are shy and want to stay in their comfort zone. Even better you will get some free merch in the process!
5. Research your major requirements beforehand.
Figuring out the difference between college and breadth requirements can be confusing, let alone trying to choose classes that fulfill these requisites and still lead you to the right path for later courses. Having a basic grasp on what you need to do will make the course meetings you have to sit through more meaningful, and you will actually know whats going on. Also, look through the course catalog and pick out a couple classes that sound interesting to you prior to coming to NSO, as you will make your schedule with an adviser on this day.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions (or actually talk to your OL).
Even though your orientation leader seems like a big, scary upperclassman, they are actually super friendly. They are the ones that are currently living the UD life, so they have the best insight for answering your questions. If you have a burning question, ask it! NSO is the perfect place to clear up any confusion, so that in the fall you can feel as at home as possible.
7. Take notes!!
NSO is supposed to get you introduced to the life and culture at UD and needless to say, no one really knows exactly what they are doing the moment they step onto campus. So when your OL relays an important fact or clears up a question you had, write it down! Doing so will avoid any confusion later when you need to make crucial decisions (like choosing your meal plan!!).
8. Save all the coupons you receive.
Whether it be for 20% off your textbook order or a free cookie at Insomnia Cookies, save all the papers you are given because they will definitely be useful later. P.S. if you sign up for text alerts during NSO, you can score a free t-shirt!
9. There’s no need to dress up.
There will be lots of sitting around paired with walking all around campus, so leave the cute, strappy high heels at home and opt for a comfy outfit instead. No, maybe not your pajama shorts and fuzzy slippers, but a simple casual outfit with a touch of personality (like a statement necklace) will serve you well and have “good impression” written all over you before even saying a word.
10. You get out what you put in.
Honestly, this is so true not only for NSO but also your college experience in general. Yes, you could not talk to anyone and isolate yourself to only what you feel comfortable with, or you could push past any awkwardness to open yourself up to new and great experiences that will help you grow not only as a student, but also as a person.
Featured photo source: customink.com and udel.meritpages.com
Freshman at University of Delaware majoring in psychology. Interests include traveling and exploring new places, listening to/ playing music and baking anything sweet.