Freshman orientation at any college is a confusing time. You’re arriving at your campus for what is most likely your first time as an official student there, which is exciting. But you’re also unsure whether it’s lame to act excited about orientation, you’re frustrated that you’re a dorky freshman who has no idea where they’re going all over again, you’re suspicious about what the future holds and you’re already stressed about the course load for the pre-med track that you have selected (don’t worry, you will more than likely switch to communications in about a semester). How these feelings will play out for you as orientation at FSU commences can vary, but I can walk you through an outline of some things that will take place. So, here is exactly what happens at freshman orientation at Florida State University.
1. You are put into a group of freshmen and randomly assigned a roommate
Which can be terrifying, but can also work out really well. Believe it or not, my roommate and I are still friends. Meanwhile, my best friend’s roommate didn’t speak to her the entire time. Even if you and your roommate don’t hit it off, you’re only roommates for two nights so it isn’t the end of the world, it’s your actual roommate for the coming semester that you need to get along with!
2. You sleep in a dorm for the first time
And it’s Wildwood so you can’t go wrong. Do not be fooled: not all dorms at FSU are as nice and clean as Wildwood.
3. You listen to a lot of talking and do a lot of sitting
I’m not going to sugar coat it- orientation gets boring. You sit in one auditorium, listen to lectures about class schedules, safety on campus, opportunities that are available on campus, then move to another room and repeat the process. You pay little attention and zone out a lot. Your butt gets a little sore from the abundance of hard chairs you occupy throughout the time. Just remember that all of the information presented is important and will come in handy eventually!
4. Then you do a lot of walking and touring around campus
When you aren’t sitting, you’re walking. This includes a formal tour of campus as well as commuting from presentation to presentation. During all of this you will become very aware of how many hills there are on FSU’s campus: and then you realize that’s why every Orientation Leader has amazing calves.
5. Despite all of the tours of campus, you still get lost when you are not guided from place to place
FSU is a big place with lots of brick buildings that are about as easy to distinguish from each other as all of the squirrels on campus are (P.S. be wary of the campus squirrels.) Don’t act like you’re too cool to use the FSU map app or you may end up wandering around for an extra hour than is necessary.
6. You come to believe that your OL is the coolest person to exist, ever
Each group is led by an Orientation Leader (or OL) and you will realize before long that your OL is amazing. They always have your back and they know the answer to everything. Your friends in other groups will claim that their Orientation Leader is the best, but you know that they are mistaken and that your OL is number one.
7. Choose your own sessions
After lots of mandatory lectures, students are offered some options in the form of breakout interest sessions. Students pick two sessions to attend from a list of fun, interesting things you may want to get involved with on campus. Some examples of sessions include greek life, intramural sports, and the study abroad program. Choose wisely!
8. Orientation Leader skits are performed
You already know that your OLs are smart, kind, beautiful people, and then they go and present skits for you and you realize they are seriously so multitalented. Okay so maybe they aren’t actually the best actors in the world, but OLs can do no wrong so you eat it up anyway, especially since it’s a break from the typical lecture you’ve gotten so bored of. The skits are about differing social situations you may encounter at FSU.
9. You make friends with that one kid from high school
If you went to school in Florida, the chances that someone from your high school will be at orientation at the same time as you are pretty high. You’ll probably sit next to each other because it’s a familiar face, and by the end of orientation you’ll be wondering why you weren’t best friends for the last four years that you’ve sort of known each other.
10. Free time before curfew
Before sending everyone off to bed in their temporary dorm rooms, students at orientation are given the chance to explore some of campus in a different, more light-hearted way: free time! Plenty of options are laid out during this time including joining some OLs for a ghost tour around campus, watching a movie in the campus movie theater, and hanging out in Club Downunder, FSU’s on campus venue. Whichever you choose, you will get a little taste of the entertainment options you can experience year round as an FSU student! (Side note: the curfew thing is not treated lightly, don’t get in trouble with FSU before your first semester even starts!)
11. Heart to heart with your orientation group
Of the many things you do during orientation, one of my favorites was the private session we had with our orientation group where everyone had a chance to speak about how they’re feeling. If this session had a formal name, I don’t remember it. But I vividly remember taking a moment or two to forget about the stress of starting a new school and the loads of information being shoved into my face and scribbled into my planner. We sat down and we talked about our thoughts on starting college, about our personal lives, about anything we wanted to share. It was a reminder that we may be excited to live on our own and enjoy a college lifestyle, but that it’s natural to have concerns as well.
12. Make plans to hangout with people and never see them again
You spend three days straight with a group of people your age who are starting on the same adventure as you are. Realistically you’ll probably make plans with a few people and exchange phone numbers to hang out during the following semester. What is much less realistic is that you ever actually follow through, but that instead you’ll have a touching “I haven’t seen you in forever!” moment in the middle of Strozier or the Publix on Ocala Street in a year’s time. Disclaimer: It is fully possible to make friends at orientation so make it a goal to bypass the stereotype and keep in touch!
13. You take your student ID picture
After hardly getting any sleep and walking miles on end, you are forced to take your student ID picture which you will be stuck with for the next four years. Say cheese!
14. You start to adjust to what it’s like being an FSU student
If you have a lot of questions about the practical or technical side of going to FSU, orientation will most likely answer a lot of questions. If your questions aren’t answered in a presentation, this is the perfect time to ask them! Topics that are discussed during orientation include how to sign up for classes, the FSU banking system, how parking works, and the use of Blackboard and Canvas, which are the websites that you use for everything class related as well as where your syllabi are located. There is a lot to learn, but if you were smart enough to get into FSU in the first place, you’ll catch on in no time.
15. You fall in love with FSU
When you show up to orientation, you are a recent graduate of “fill in your school’s name here” high school. When you leave orientation, you are a Seminole, ready to start the semester as soon as possible and wear your garnet and gold with pride. Even though you may have chuckled the first time the OLs performed the FSU Fight Song for you on day one (with the most possible enthusiasm) now you can’t wait to join the chant at your first football game. It is easy to fall in love with FSU, its stunning campus, its spirited students and everything it has to offer. And the best part is, no matter how obsessed with FSU you may be post-orientation, it only gets better from there.