Stumbling around a convoluted campus in blazing July heat, anxiously registering for your first classes, enduring annoying ice breakers that never cease, and being bombarded with tons of seemingly crucial information that you’ll soon forget… exhale. There is arguably nothing more exhausting and awkward than the infamous Freshman Orientation!
But when you look on the other hand, you’ve recently finished high school, and are embarking on a new journey, leaving all your family and hometown friends behind. Freshman orientation is an opportunity for you to get acquainted with your new world and the people you’ll be sharing the next four years of your life. Here are some ways to start building relationships and making connections during freshman orientation!
Tip #1: Have a positive attitude. There will be hundreds, even thousands of students walking around campus in the exact same boat as you. They will be just as new (and just as nervous) as you. You are not alone by any stretch. Understand that this is the easiest time to meet people and make some friends. Since most people don’t know each other yet, and cliques have not been formed, people are open now more than ever to meet someone new. Being open and having positive vibes will go a long way.
Tip #2: Attend all activities. Your days will inevitably be packed with back-to-back activities and events. Some will be social, some informative, some required, and some optional. Attend everything! Don’t be that “cool” kid who skips out on the orientation events. You cannot meet people by staying in your room. Just by showing up, you are guaranteed to make some new connections. You will probably engage in a plethora of icebreakers that can seem juvenile, but will loosen the tension and get you talking to others and building friendships.
Tip #3: Meet as many people as you can. Although ice breakers, are somewhat forced, there will also be plenty of opportunities to meet people in ways that are more organic in nature. Be as social and outgoing as possible during these few days. Engage with people in the elevator, on campus tours, during events, in the residence hall, in the dining hall, and anywhere around campus. You will meet people from all over the nation, and even the world!
Tip #4: Start with the Big Three. If you ever feel like you don’t know how to start a conversation with someone new, you can always rely on these three simple questions: Where are you from? What is your major? What do you want to do with your major? These three questions, although basic, actually open the doors to extend the conversation further. When you find out where they are from or their major, make a connection to that city or that academic field. Get the conversation rolling. Also, don’t forget to get their name!
Tip #5: Utilize social media. If you are socializing well, you are bound to meet tons of new people. There is no way you’ll be able to remember everyone’s name (or even face). If you’ve made a connection with someone, don’t end it there. Before going separate ways, add each other on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or whichever social media platform you use. This way you can keep in touch, and cultivate the relationships you’ve started when school officially begins in the fall.
Freshman orientation does not have to turn into torture weekend. Follow these tips, get out there, meet people, and set yourself on the right path to acing the undergrad! For more information on networking/building relationships, visit acingtheundergrad.com and watch ATU: The Show.