Like I mentioned in my previous post The Incoming Freshmen Survival Guide, Freshmen Orientation is happening at UTD these days. When I had orientation, it was just my dad and me, stumbling along a group of people, afraid to ask any questions because well, our English was not that sharp. We followed everyone around and limited ourselves to sightseeing. Don’t do that. Freshmen orientation is the time to seek and find. After all, this is where you are going to be for the next couple years of your life, some of the people around you on that day might end up being your best buddies, somebody might even end up being your ONE<3! #NoPressure… Anyways, I have put together a couple of things that you want to do and a couple that you want to avoid. Read along!
Dress for the occasion
Something that is rarely said in the e-mails you receive when you sign up for orientation is that your ID picture will be taken that day. Not only that, but you will be meeting your advisers, sometimes even the Head of the program you are in. I am not telling you to wear a formal pencil skirt and high heels (believe me, you don’t want to) or a suit and tie, but preferably avoid pajamas and slippers. A normal pair of jeans, a nice shirt and some sneakers/flats will usually do the trick.
There will be a lot of information, information you want to keep handy. They will talk about important dates, important phone numbers, important e-mails, important people, all of which you might eventually need. You may want to write some of it down. Not only this, but the other students that have been here longer will also give you tips and tricks, which you may also want to write down. 🙂 And most importantly, you have a record of everything you did, and by association, a better memory of that day.
Talk to people
I know it can be stressful to be surrounded by a group of random strangers and that your safest bet may seem to find one person who you have at least one thing in common with, and cling on to them like a leech, but you may get separated 10 minutes into the conversation. Orientation is also designed to be some sort of mix-n-mingle. When you get there they separate you into groups, then they put everyone together again and they separate you into different groups again and again. The goal is to expose you to as many people as you can. Take advantage of that. Believe me, you have something in common with every single person: you are going to that college!
Get the free things
Every orientation gives you free things from that college. I know, it may not be the best, nor fit you perfectly, but it’s free! You will use it. I use my UTD shirts as stay-in, lazy-day, not-do-anything, blehh shirt. They also gave me a little back-pack that I used for carrying around snacks. 😉 I know the things they give you for free may not be your favorite, but who ever turns down gifts?
Forget to check the weather
I know this may sound like a no-brainer, but you would not believe the things that happen (to me). UTD stands for University of Texas at Dallas, and orientation was in the summer. It was hot. But not your regular type of hot, it was a feel-your-skin-get-cooked-as-you-go-from-one-building-to-the-next hot. And guess what very not smart me did? Forgot sunscreen. Yep, I had no sunscreen, and I was outside for the tour, and well, I kind of died. Do not forget to accommodate to your College’s weather. If it’s cold, take a sweater. If it’s hot, take sunscreen or maybe even an umbrella. If it snows, don’t take sandals! Like I said, I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but I wasn’t the only one without sunscreen………
Get separated from the group
Believe me, if this is the first time you go to this campus, you may very well get lost. Besides, there are different groups who visit each place in a different order, so if you get scattered and find yourself in a different group, you could be visiting the same places you already went to, and not visit others, like the food court! 😦 Also, at the end of orientation, you get to sign up for classes, and if you get separated from the group and do not know how to get back, the classes could get filled up by the time you try to get into your classes.
So yes, my friends. These are a couple of the things I could remember to pass on, but they are not the only things to remember. These are things that happened to me and that I will strongly advise you to do/don’t do, because I went through them. Do you think I’m missing something? What other things happened to you or someone you know? Do you have any other advice about orientation? Leave your comments below! I want to hear all about it!