Lately, I’ve been hearing the same question over and over again: “are you excited for college?”. I always answer, “yeah, but it hasn’t really hit me yet. I’ll probably get excited after orientation”. Well, orientation has come and gone and I am not any more excited for college than I was last week. Sorry to disappoint. To say the least, orientation was overwhelming. I got tons of information thrown in my face (a lot more of it was negative than I expected) and saw all kinds of interesting people. I judged others solely based on their appearance and I’m sure the same was done to me. Because I don’t have any older siblings to tell me what orientation is like, I truly didn’t know what to expect. However, for all of those who are wondering, I have compiled a list of everything that I wish someone had told me before I went to orientation.
- They tell you all the negatives about college once you actually decide to attend theirs.
I went into orientation thinking that I was going to just hear about all the great opportunities I heard about when I toured. I was SO WRONG. I attended lecture after lecture on time management and how hard adjusting to college is. They kept reiterating how much harder college is than high school. At the end of the day I was so overwhelmed by everything they told me that I almost shed a tear. (Okay, maybe I actually did.) But the thing is, if I knew I couldn’t handle it, I wouldn’t be going to college.
- You will not remember much of anything they tell you.
Going off of the first one, they just tell you so much that there’s no way you’re going to remember it all. I just took notes on the important things and took all the literature home to review when I actually cared about it.
- Don’t expect to make friends.
Alright, this one sounds mean. I went into orientation thinking I was going to make some friends. Just a few. Even one would have been cool. That didn’t happen. Everyone’s acting kind of weird and are just as overwhelmed as you are.
- Your parents will probably ask you a million questions you don’t know the answer to.
Do I know where the Student Wellness Center is? Nope. Will I stay safe when I go out and party? Yes. Will I miss you? Eventually. How often am I going to call home? How about I just start school and we’ll see.
- Be prepared to spend money.
Football season tickets? Yep, those cost money. Basketball season tickets? Might as well get them. Student/Alumni Alliance? Sure, why not. Rush? I thought sororities already had fees? I have to pay to try and get in? And I thought tuition was expensive.
- No matter how old you are, get to know you exercises are awkward for everyone involved.
They’re just as awkward as they were at freshman orientation for high school. Just smile and get through them. Nobody will actually remember what you said.
- Bring snacks.
BECAUSE YOU WILL GET HANGRY (hungry angry) AND WHEN YOU ARE HANGRY YOU DO NOT THINK STRAIGHT OR MAKE SOUND DECISIONS.
- You’ll need a pen.
It’s not like you can’t find a free one around, but I had to ask like 3 different people in my orientation group for a pen and it just wasn’t cool. Come prepared. And probably bring some gum if you’re planning on talking to anyone. And water because you will get thirsty. And a bag to carry all the pamphlets everyone gives you.
- Nobody actually cares about the Facebook group.
Facebook was super useful when looking for a roommate, but at a huge school like Iowa, nobody is going to recognize anybody based on their profile pic. Nothing you ever said in the Facebook group is noteworthy, sorry.
- College isn’t anything like orientation.
Okay, I don’t actually know this one, but I’m hoping it’s true. If it’s not, I’m in for an awkward next four years.
Orientation was a lot of stuff crammed into 48 hours. I wouldn’t say it’s fun, but I wouldn’t say it was awful either. I just wish someone would have told me these things before I went!