CU Boulder has a reputation for being a party school, despite how kickass we are at academics and athletics (at least this season, for once). What a lot of people don’t realize, though, is that the higher-ups at CU know exactly how to use that to their advantage and get all kinds of people excited while still presenting useful information. Freshman orientation isn’t any different. Here’s what to expect during freshman orientation at The University of Colorado at Boulder.
1. Everything you need to know is already online.
I mean, technically, you can visit campus during New Student days, but everything you really need to know is all online via Desire2Learn in the New Student Welcome Online Experience (geez, that’s a mouthful) which every incoming student has to complete anyway. And, well, let’s be honest …
2. The REAL Freshman Orientation is the entire first week of school.
The university sets up events the entire first week before classes to get freshmen pumped up for their first semester. That includes things like the Convocation at the Event Center and free food at Farrand Field. If you go to FallFest at the UMC, make sure to find Club 156 in the Connection—it’s behind the ultra-colorful door, and the music is incredible.
3. The Fall Welcome Concert
My personal favorite is the Fall Welcome Concert—they get the best EDM artists, like Seven Lions and Illenium, as well as local bands. I got stuck in a weed cloud behind a bunch of frat boys and got caught on the edge of the mosh pit, and by the end, my voice was gone. Wildest. Night. Ever.
4. You’re going to meet a ton of new people (and they’re probably all in engineering.)
I was barely at CU for a day by the time I’d made ten new friends and met over seventy different people before my first day even ended. Don’t worry about remembering every name—most people will forget yours by the end of your first conversation with them. Definitely check in on your engineer friends, though—they’ll probably be dead on their feet by mid-semester.
5. Your wallet loses the Freshman 15.
At some point during Welcome Week, either you and a huge group of people head to The Sink, or your friends drag you to the Hill or to Pearl Street. And Boulder has a reputation for being “where people protesting the 1% secretly are the 1%” for a reason. It’s fun in the moment, sure, but looking back, I spent a lot of money on pizza for one night that could’ve stretched over like two weeks.
6. Everyone busts out their best clothes.
Loads of people will be wearing clothes you wish you owned. You’ll also see a lot of Birkenstocks, luxury watches, and Ray-Bans. (It is Boulder, after all.) Don’t worry about how you look, though—everyone is exhausted, sweaty, and gross by the end of the week.
7. You realize every building looks exactly alike.
Don’t be surprised if you get lost. Set aside time that first week to walk or bike around campus and find where all your classes are and how long it takes to get to each of them, orientation won’t help you with that. And don’t forget to have Google Maps up on a FULLY CHARGED phone.
(Seriously. I got lost for like 4 hours on campus trying to find my way back to Smith. Talk about embarrassing.)
8. You actually get along with your roommate.
Since you’re probably going to spend so much time outside of your room, you probably won’t see your roommate much when you’re in your dorm room. Basically, you and your roommate are in the college equivalent of the honeymoon phase. Just make sure you make nice with them before the trash metropolis in front of your door starts forming.
9. You go hard …
Whether you’re party-hopping on the Hill during the entirety of Fall Welcome, or you’re just actually bothering to go to breakfast at Sewall with your new friends, everyone goes hard the first week before school starts.
10. … which means you forget that you have classes the week after.
Do yourself a favor. If you’re planning on partying during your first semester, do it the first few weeks when the workload is a little less heavy. (Just looking at Young’s IAFS 1000 syllabus made me want to break down in tears.)
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